Spring cleaning my shed, I realized that it was a time capsule of moments in my life. Some moments I wasn’t ready to relinquish, and others I finally discarded. Two items, in particular, stood out to me this time. The first was the hospital bag I left the hospital with after I gave birth to my son at 17. I unfolded the bag, smoothed it out, and remembered walking out of the hospital with just my soiled clothes in the bag and the beanie from his head tucked at the bottom, afraid someone was not going to let me keep it. I had written his name on the side of the bag as if I wanted the world to know that he existed, whether I was his mother or not.
No matter how much you heal, sometimes it only takes one item to remind you of the residue that still remains.
I took a picture of the bag and sent it to my son, M, and he responded with a heart emoji. That was enough for me. I folded it back up and placed it back in the high school memory book. The hat I took from his head was safely stowed in the house in another time capsule of my life. I wonder why I separated the two, the bag and the beanie. Knowing me it’s because the beanie was something that was his. The bag just represented the emptiness of what I left without.
The other item was the sand holder from my wedding ceremony 8 years ago. I honestly thought I had got rid of it when my ex moved out, or that he took it like he did the broom we jumped. Inside the case was the sand we poured symbolizing our lives merging. I remember rationing my sand as my future husband was too liberal with his pour which was going to throw off the balance. On either side of the sand was the wedding program and encased behind that were our original wedding vows we read before family and friends. I thought about rereading them but stopped myself. I didn’t want to disturb what was. I could not disturb the one memory that was one of the fondest of my entire marriage, even with the errant sand pour. My feelings were encased in that sand holder and I wasn’t ready to just dump it in the trash so I put it back in a storage box and pushed it to the back of the shed.
I say all this to also point out that these past few months have been a cornucopia of things. My youngest son will be transferring to UCLA in the fall. My daughter has been accepted into a Ph.D. program in Virginia. Blessings upon blessings and yet my heart still finds trouble keeping cadence at times when I notice the residue of who I was and what I went through. I'm working on that.
Umm, what did you say?!
I'm also processing how to feel when my adoptive mother made a statement questioning a decision my sibling, who is also adopted, made. My mother felt it shaded the family name and said, "Maybe she should use whatever her name was going to be." My brain paused and I blinked as if doing so would clear my ears. I let her know that was a horrible statement to say and she heard that I was calling her horrible. She isn't horrible but that was a horrible statement. That is one of those statements an adoptive parent should not share with anyone, let alone their other adopted child no matter their age. It made me wonder if there was a part of her that has always seen us as separate from her. Did she feel the same way I have felt all these years and although we loved each other, there was still the fact that there was a separation of who we were? Now let me clarify to anyone who just reads this post, I love my mother. I know my mother loves me in her way, she wants all of her kids to have a good life, but I also understand that the way she conveys that hasn't always been the best.
I have also been trying to understand why I feel so disconnected from my birth mother. Is it that I just never envisioned a relationship with her? I always wanted to know my birth mother but my fantasy never extended beyond that. Was it that she was prepared to keep me a secret until I sought her out causing her to choose again? Does the disconnect come from the lies she told me about my father to cover up her embarrassment? Or maybe simply, the disconnection is a product of my inability to attach easily to people. I hate that I feel like I am judging her when I know what it feels like to be a birth mother. Some people you meet have an energy in their spirit that if attached to mine I instantly feel the drag on my energy. Unfortunately, that is how I feel about her. It makes me uncomfortable and I wonder if I am uncomfortable with the woman who carried me for nine months and birthed me, who can I feel comfortable with.
I will end this blog with the highlight of my month so far. Mother's Day weekend! I had the opportunity to spend time with my youngest son in California. We spent the weekend touring the UCLA campus and having good mother/son conversations. He took me to dinner and broke out his wallet and advised me I could order whatever I wanted. With him living with his father in San Diego, this was the first Mother's Day weekend we shared in a while.
On Mother's Day as soon as my plane landed, my daughter informed me that I would have 20 minutes once she picked me up and we arrived home to change and be ready for dinner. I was tired and would have been happy with getting some food to go but she was committed to taking me out. As we waited in line at the restaurant debating if we wanted to wait an hour for a table, M, walked in surprising me. I did not know my oldest son was in town.
Needless to say standing there in that moment with my oldest son, and my daughter, after spending the previous days with my youngest son was the absolute best gift I could ask for.
Late May Update- The time has come for the sand holder to be dumped, the residue, the vows, the memories released, from a relationship that could not flourish under the weight of me uncovering pieces of who I am.