Monday, October 12, 2009

Being A Hyphenated Mother

As anyone can tell from our last two posts my daughter and I are having very different reactions to our latest separation. The 30 days we had together made me feel even closer to her. I realized how very much I loved seeing her every day even if it was for just a short time after work on most days. I knew I enjoyed her company but I learned how much I enjoy being part of her daily life. I am holding the memories very close and they make me smile. She is creating distance to survive. I think I have learned another reunion lesson here. Being close to your mother does not heal adoption wounds. Probably nothing will. That is hard for me to accept but I can understand it. I trust her when she says she won't disappear. That is a huge comfort. Accepting that she needs to distance herself for now is not easy and I am trying very hard not to make her feel guilty by whinning about how this is the opposite of what I want. It is one of those things where we can't both have what we want and I really believe she deserves to have her needs respected. Its about time she gets a vote.

So, being a hyphenated mother (first/birth/whatever) does mean that you can't heal the pain of adoption. It also means that you get a chance to build a unique relationship with your daughter/son that can be very close and very meaningful. It is just hard sometimes to get there. Love is the easy part. Building trust is the hard part. Maybe the hard part will get easier with time.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Being Adopted

Being adopted is hard work. It takes more effort to trust, love, accept and believe. Not to give those things, mind you, but to allow others to give them to me. I trust, love, accept and believe too intensely, too soon and without thinking it through. But to receive them from others is heart wrenching. I can list off a thousand reasons why I am simply, not good enough. If I sit down and actually think about it I AM good enough, often TOO good, but in the moment my inner strength backs down like a puppy shit kicked one too many times. This can not be the way to live, this can not be how I spend my life, angry and alone because of fear. Fear that yet another person will walk away, die, be taken or otherwise removed from my life. It cripples every personal relationship in my life, friends, family, lovers and even my children.

One of my adoptee friends, Andraya, wrote this on her facebook page. She claims she spent 5 minutes writing it. For stream-of-consciousness writing, this gets an A+ in my book. And something to chew on.

The baby in me resurfaced last week. Before my mother left, I was crying and panicked. I talked to my shrink about how to ward off the PTSD. He told me to go with my instincts and do what felt right to me. I tried to warn my mother what might happen...and it did.

Like the baby of 40 years ago, I have learned to pacify myself on my own. After spending a week crying, I became very quiet. I haven't shed a tear since before my mother left. I already knew she was gone.

I can list off a thousand reasons why I am simply, not good enough.

My mother and I are not speaking. I have asked her not to call me, and our email communication has been sporadic and chatty. She seems to have settled comfortably back into her life and with the people she loves. I don't want to take any of that away from her. I already know she is gone.

If I sit down and actually think about it I AM good enough, often TOO good, but in the moment my inner strength backs down like a puppy shit kicked one too many times.
Meanwhile, I have been spending the past week or so reconnecting with people. Reconnecting with my husband. I woke up in the middle of the night two nights ago and petted my husband's hair for an hour or so while he was sleeping. Then I had to go check on my son, like he was still a baby, to make sure he hadn't evaporated or something.

Fear that yet another person will walk away, die, be taken or otherwise removed from my life.

I'm in a weird place. Not angry, not sad, not numb. I'm not sure what to do, other than what feels right to me at the moment...which is remaining quiet, surrounding myself with people and things that comfort me, and riding this weirdness out. I am the adult pacifying my own inner baby.

Oddly, I'm better at it than I thought I would be.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Almost a year

It has been almost a year since I last posted. Ilooked back at what I had written and realized where we were when I last wrote. It was very very hard to get through the months that followed that post and too many times I felt like it was hopeless. We made it through and are closer than ever. There were a lot of fears and just a lot of baggage to get through. We did it. I'm not sure how except we just kiept talking. I have been there, she came here. On one trip I stayed a few extra days to help her through a bad time. For once, I was there when she needed me. It was a turning point I think. She and my grandson came here for a week and there was yet another positive turning point. That was a wonderful/crazy/happy/sad trip. It involved the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an iguana, dead relatives and a bridge. How much better can it get than that. She was there for me when I needed her badly. Since we were stopping by the cemetary where most of my dead relatives (I have a lot of those and very few live ones) are buried my mother asked me to get her some information about being buried there. My mother is doing well but she is 90 and has a very practicle streak. My daughter and I got into the graveyard office (they called it something dignified but I can't remember what). I choked and just looked at her. She was able to get eerything mother wanted. I couldn't have done it without her. She was there when I needed her.

I just got back from spending 32 days in the city where she lives. I travel a lot for my job and managed to get a temporary assignment near her. It was a wondeful/crazy/happy/sad trip. It involved sushi,an old friend,meeting new friends from the adoption world that I knew but had never seen, pirate radio, prunes stuffed with goat cheese wrapped in bacon, and watching a free show from a hotel window. How much better can it get. Now we know we can see each other every day for a month and still want more of each others company. Now I know I need to live close to her. We have missed too much in each others lives and I am tired of missing. Now I know what I want I just have to figure out how. Leaving was awful. Trying to figure out how to be apart is impossible. Getting on the plane was like signing those damn relinquishment papers. I am really tired of doing what other people expect of me. She thinks I will get over it or cope by drowning myself in trivia. I am tired of that. It didn't work for 35 years and I am not going to pretend it will work now. I am afraid I will go back into my bad habit of withdrawal but I know that doesn't work. The phone conversations with her help. The e-mails help. I need to be able to just have lunch with her on the spur of the moment.

One thing we have learned over the last year is talking openly and honestly about how we feel gets us through the bad times. We have learned that we love each other more than either of us ever thought possible. We have learned we can easily hurt each other because we care so much. We have learned that building trust takes time. We have learned that what we have with each other is worth the hurt feelings. It is wonderful that I miss her so badly I could scream.