Sunday, November 23, 2008

Missing Her Today

My daughter and I have come a long way and we have even further to go. One of the things that really gets to her is that I am nothing if not wound tight. To say that I don't show my emotions easily is a gross understatement. I know why. After the relinquishment my family was very supportive (yes I am lucky), they really wanted me to feel better and didn't want me to hurt. So I worked at convincing them I was just fine. I thought there was nothing to gain in talking about it. My daughter was gone and no one could make that better. So I spent 35 years keeping my mouth shut and learning to keep feelings inside. It did work but I have forgotten how to let feelings show. A strange thing happened after my daughter's birthday this year. I got through the day just fine. She was off having fun and I knew it was a good day for her and she was happy. That made me happy. A couple days later it all came back like I was hit over the head. It was not remembering more about the time I had with her in the hospital and how I felt. I started feeling everything again just like it was happening all over. As usual, I stuffed it down inside and didn't talk about it. I should have talked to her about it long before I did. She did make it better. She helped me understand and gave me the emotional supprt I needed. She reassured me that it was OK to talk to her and she didn't feel like I was laying a bunch of negative crap on her. Why did it take me so long to figure out that it is OK to lean on her when I need to. I am starting to get over my fear of asking her for anything. I may even get over my fear of being a demanding clingy mother. Being honest about my feelings is good not bad. I really do need to internalize that. I want to be there for her when the world starts kicking her she wants to be able to do the same for me. Yes we both still like the good times and just being silly but this is different. She is the one that makes it better when I need to have someone put there arms around me (even if it is virtual) and just tell me I am loved. Unlike my husband who is wonderful in so many ways, she doesn't try to fix it becuse she knows it can't be fixed. She gives me the reassurance that She loves me. I hope I do the same for her.

I miss her today. Actually, I miss her every day but today I wish I could just go for a walk with her and tell her how much she has given me. Then we could hug and cry a little bit and start teasing each other and laughing. That would be a very good day indeed.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Different Birthday

Like many adoptees out there, I have always hated my birthday.

I can think of past years that were drowned in tears, alcohol, or a combination of the two plus other unmentionables perhaps. (ahem...)

I can think of past years where I tried to ignore the date altogether - unsuccessfully.

I can think of a couple of birthdays I spent waiting by the phone that never rang, and waiting for the letter that never came. Thinking that today, of all days, maybe she would think about me and call me or write to me.

I can think of many years I spent angry, lashing out at my loved ones. They didn't understand WHY I was angry - only that I was. Responses varied from "What's wrong with you?" to just a flat-out, "Oh, get OVER it."

You know how it is.

Anyway, I decided this year would be a little different. If other people said I should be celebrating, who am I to refuse a day to let myself be pampered, taken care of, and loved? I figured it was a fruitless attempt to be "normal", but I had nothing to lose by giving it a shot.

By golly, it worked.

Somewhere in the middle of the massage that followed the facial, while this woman with amazing hands was working this awful knot out of my back, I let go of the tension that had been plaguing me for years. I mean, really let go of it. I finally decided I'd had enough. I want my life back. I want my mother to have her life back. I want my family and friends to have ME back. It became more important than hanging onto this THING that had been poisoning me for years on my birthday.

Sure, it was a typical day. My adoptive parents forgot my birthday - again. My aunt (the fuzzy rat's sister) forgot it also. Instead of agonizing, I chalked it up as typical. My aunt is as bad with a calendar as I am, and my adoptive parents - well, they have other things to think about. It's okay. Should it stop me from having a good time? Hell to the no.

I got spa treatments, let my husband treat me to an outrageously expensive dinner and the best bottle of wine I've ever had, ran around some casinos drunk off my ass and giggling the whole time, and enjoyed the time with my family. I felt special, and most importantly, I felt loved. I deserve it, dammit. THEY deserve it too, after putting up with hellacious fallout for far too many years.

I'm done. Done with it, done with it, done with it. Damn, it feels good.

Even better - my mother also seems to be done with it. She actually had a nice weekend. We managed to talk for a few minutes, and she sounded positive, upbeat, and looking forward to spending time with her husband and her friends. When I spoke to her a few days later, she still sounded great. No angst. Wow. What the hell happened???

I don't care, really. I don't care what happened, or how it happened. I wish I could articulate how I got to this point. I wish my mother could articulate how she got to feeling so happy (maybe she can...I certainly can't speak for her!)

It's almost like a second coming out of the fog. I was consumed with all this pain for so many years, and it had gotten positively hellish these last few months. I was constantly battling, letting it sap my energy. I'm not in denial. I will still have my moments. Hell, I'll still have my days, my weeks. I will continue to speak out and be there for my friends out there in adoption land. I will continue to educate myself about the atrocities that exist in the adoption industry and read blogs.

But my own birthday blues? Seeya. Done. I'm over it. That's my day, and I'm taking it back.

Friday, November 7, 2008


I have been out on the blogs after reading the comments on my last post. Yes I am one of those stealth readers who seldom comments. I have been trying to understand the hurt mothers and angry adoptees and why reconcilliation is so hard. I am sure I will get plenty of disagreements with this but I think I am begining to understand at least a part of it. Mothers and adoptees are both hurt and both want that hurt to be understood. As a mother the hardest thing for me to come to terms with is that I caused the hurt. All of the reasons/excuses/justifications are really beside the point. That is not an easy conclusion to reach nor is it particularly easy to live with but it is real and I need to understand that and come to terms with it.

Before I get jumped too badly on this, I am not advocating sackcloth and ashes for all mothers. At least most of us did not intend to cause harm, usually just the opposite. As adults (or at least teenagers) we got through a lot of the pain of relinquishment by telling ourselves that we 'did the right thing for the child". We learned to cope one way or the other with that as our mantra. Lorraine Dursky said it best, "you don't stop hurting you just stop crying every day." We reasoned through it. We tried to get on with our lives as we were told to do. Our children didn't have that luxury. They were told that their mothers gave them away because their mothers loved them. What the hell kind of a message is that? How do you reason through that one when you are 5 years old? Our children did not choose to be adopted into a nice family. We made that choice for them. There is absolutly no way that you can explain relinquishment to a child so that it makes sense. The only thing that makes sense to a child is that their mother didn't want them. It is not helpful to be told you should be grateful that you weren't wanted.

I had a hard time getting to the point where I could accept responsibility for my decision and tell my daughter that I had made a horrible decision that hurt her and I was sorry. It doesn't solve everthing but it is a start. I can understand why she pushes me away sometimes. I can understand her anger. That doesn't mean I don't get hurt by it. It just means that I can undertand. I think she is starting to understand that I always did love her and always will (except on her really bad days). Our hurts are both real. It helps to face them. No sackcloth and ashes, just a dose of reality.