Thursday, July 24, 2014

OT- Smooth Floors and Moving

"Well I guess I didn't expect this. You were going to move into the house and the moving day came and went. Then the other day I came home and your beds were gone and you had moved. I need to adjust."

That is what DD said to me today. I came home to MY house and everyone and all the dogs were there. Which is strange because a few days ago I went to HER house and everyone and all the dogs were there. Life changes on on the dime and sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same. We are together, it is after work, dinner time and once again we are all together, but this time it is at my house. Why is this so strange? Why do we need to adjust to living a few hundred feet from another?

I don't know. I know DD and I both feel it and it is so hard to explain. It is hard to be two people who are really close to being one person and the confusion of where one ends and the other begins. But it is healthy to create some space and some privacy. In all honesty I could live with my daughter forever and absolutely love it. But there was a time when she was in college and we lived apart and that seemed okay and normal. I don't know how being not together seemed abnormal. But I want my daughter to have a "normal" life and I want a "normal" life too.I used to be okay with being a separate person. I don't know how things changed so much but I am sure my needing to come to terms with relinquishing a child to adoption played a huge part in all of this. I am just not sure how all the pieces fit or broke to change what was my life after adoption reunion.

So I want to focus on the positive. So let's talk about something as simple and yet so important as floors. I remember as a kid I lived in a Cape Cod house. In this house there were two out of four bedrooms that had hardwood floors that my father refinished. They were amazing. They never got old like the carpeting or linoleum did. I loved them and loved sliding on them with by stockinged feet.

Which brings me to my house. The whole ground floor is hardwood floors and a porcelain tile kitchen floor. The simplicity and timeless beauty does not escape me. DH did an amazing job of restoring the floors after we removed 40 year old carpet and linoleum. Smooth floors that are so clean and simple.I love the way they look and I love the way they feel under my feet.

And a memory. I was eight years old and was dancing to the metallic wind up music of my jewelry box. I was sliding on the hardwood floor in my room and tears were streaming down my face. It was the first time I had come to realize that my mother did not love me. It was a simple yet devastating truth that as a child I felt and accepted. My mother did not love me...........

As painful as that truth was, my music box and the rich smooth floors gave me comfort.At that moment, in that room, I had learned the biggest secret of my life and I was coming to terms with it as best as any child can come to terms with that reality.

And now I am soon to be a grandmother and my reality seems once again to be all about accepting the reality of my life on the terms of others. I made mistakes based on wanting to give and receive love. Now my floors are mine and I can slide on them and admire their beauty while once again accepting that love between people is a formidable bond that causes pain with separation, or the pain that love did not endure even though you thought it would. The more things change the more they stay the same. The floor once again is smooth and clean under my feet. But I am no longer a child.........

I think today I understand why my mother spends most of her time in her Cape Cod house  of my youth even though she owns three houses. I understand why she lives in the least of her houses while spending time in the other two. You really can't leave all the past behind if you have a choice.  At the very least the floors beneath your feet remind you of how you became who you are and why you made the choices you did, even if your choices were really not chosen by you. And if your are lucky the past is bittersweet instead of just bitter. After all- some of the choices you made that were all good and all heart and soul came from learning how how to slide your feet and dance through the pain.

So I just moved.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

"Can You Guess Who This Is?"

DH received a text and it started with that question.  I thought I had seen her a couple weeks back but told myself it wasn't her. Still I had a feeling that we were back in what I like to call "phantom contact" mode. I think some of this has to do with my relinquished daughter's age and upbringing. She appears to get bored, or unhappy with her adoptive parents and starts making contact. The type of contact in which no meaningful communication occurs, but lets us know that when she wants to contact us she will. Even though we have asked her not to.

Some people would call that stalking. I don't because although it is not kind it is not stalking. I am not going to give a histrionic reaction to this or start screaming that the sky is fallen. The sky is not falling, my life is still the same, my grape vines are still growing.

But I don't like it and I hope it does not continue. I gave up on a relationship with her. I did not like being treated like a second class citizen by the adoptive parents or her. I did not like that when I asked for common courtesy and respect I was told I did not deserve it because "You gave her away."  I did not like that I would always be treated in such a way and worse because that is what served them and their needs.

I get that adopted people have been the most damaged by adoption. I get that my relinquished daughter has more needs to try to heal from the trauma. What I do not accept is that I am not allowed to have any needs or that my family is not allowed to have needs. I see a pattern of behavior here that is disturbing. I am hoping that her adoptive parents will be frightened enough at the thought of her having her own mind at 18 that they will send her to an out of state college. Isn't that sad? Sad that I am pinning my hopes on the fears of the adoptive parents, and that is has come to this point for myself and my family?  What started out as a relationship filled with hope has become one of dread for me. Never in a million years would I have predicted this. first reaction to the texts was a flash of anger but I recovered pretty quickly. My DD was upset and put her arms around me and said "Mom, I am so sorry."  I told her not to be, it didn't hurt anymore. I just wanted her to be aware in case she was contacted. I thought about the text and the words "We used to be really close" and it just seems like a lie to me. We were not close, I just thought we were. I had to be taught by my relinquished daughter that I was not close to her, and that she did not want to love me. But I learned. And I do not care what anyone says about love. You either want to try to love someone or you don't. It may be that all the demons of adoption had kept her from trying to love me, but in the end she made that choice and banished me and my husband. By default that decision banished her from her siblings. That was not my decision, that was theirs.

My husband told me that the one thing he likes about my voice and point of view on my blog is that I am unrepentent. I won't pretend that I don't have these feelings or try to be likeable to my blog readers. This is my blog, this is my life. I don't want to put on a nice face or hide behind smoke and mirrors to be more palatable to those who feel threatened by my words. Because there is not only my truth, but the truth that other "birthmothers" may feel as I do. But who wants to write that and get slammed by those who want us to be forever seeking what we lost or forever suffering because of that loss? Nobody wants to read about a birthmother who puts her feelings and her family's feelings into account and perspective. That does not serve adoption and it does not serve the fantasy of reunion that is posted all over Youtube or the pay to find your family and be reunited sites. People need to get paid and reading my blog may keep money in pockets.

In my life I won't spend another two years or even two minutes believing in a relationship that has been severed. Like I said I was taught and......I learned.

Friday, June 6, 2014

I Thought I Saw Her The Day Before

In a car, while I was waiting to get my coffee. My relinquished daughter is distinctive looking and the young lady at the wheel looked like her.  I was behind this young lady in the drive-thru and she seemed to be a new driver as she took the turn wide and cautious. "Could she be driving now" I thought and -yes she is old enough to drive now. As she turned again I could see her profile clearly, and her face in her side mirror.

I felt nothing. My heart did not pound, my hands did not get sweaty. I did not want to run to her or run away. I just waited it out, pulled my visor down and was glad I had big sunglasses on. I wondered if it was truly her and thought it would not be wrong for her to be curious and take a drive by where I live because she knows where we live. There is no crime in that. Curiosity is a thing that I will never confuse with love, caring, or a desire to have a relationship with me.

I did not slip back into that disassociate state of numbness that lived with me before reunion. I was fully aware and engaged with all my emotions at that moment and since then. This is the new normal for me. I live in a world in which my relinquished daughter is just another person in the world to me. A person who is allowed to have the right to be curious, to travel the same roads, to live her life whilst I want the right to do as well without any contact between us. I don't fear her anymore, or more accurately I do not fear my response to seeing her.

When she drove away I went on with my day, just like I am doing today. I didn't think about it again until this morning. I think this is sad, but I am not disappointed in myself. I did not set out on this journey with the intent to become disinterested. My intentions were that I would have a loving relationship with my relinquished daughter and she with us. It just didn't work out that way and I can't manufacture emotions that no longer exist for me. Perhaps this is truly the acceptance stage of grief that people talk about.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

OT- Flora and Fauna

Finally in my yard there are some trees whose leaves are big enough for me to identify.  I have Pines, Black Cherry, Yellow Birch, Black Gum, Sassafras, and a few others I have yet to identify. I like that I do not have too many trees close to the house, and that I still have a relatively open yard. It makes it easier to view the wildlife that shows up.

I have seen more different species of birds in the last month than I have seen in my entire life. For example a pileated woodpecker just happened to show up a few days ago. I really need a bird identification field guide - will put that on my must have list.

My neighborhood got devastated by bad weather a few weeks ago. There was record rainfall that caused flash flooding in an area that had never seen a flash flood. There were some houses that had their basements cave in- even though they had never had foundation, or water problems before. It was heartbreaking to see people basically lose their houses as nobody here has flood insurance.

We did not suffer any severe damage because the previous owner built the house we live in. He and his family lived in the basement during the build for years so he built it strong. It is huge and basically unfinished -except for the extra shower and toilet down there. My neighbors did not fare as well and I feel very bad for them.

I finally moved some furniture into the house now that it is livable to my standards. Honestly I do not mean to be spoiled but I could not live with 40 year old carpet and linoleum. I am more of a hardwood and tile floor type of girl. We are getting closer to moving in. I just need to finish the upstairs and get one more bathroom finished. We will repaint the house and get the driveway repaired. Sometimes I feel like Tom Hanks in that old movie "The Money Pit". I am pretty handy so it pains me to pay people to fix things that are above my scope. If only I had just a bit more skill......

One of my favorite things that I obsess over is my grape arbor and the grape plants. Ok- that and getting rid of non-native invasive shrubs and plants. I actually get excited to look and see how many grape leaves are here today that were not here yesterday. Yes- I am boring like that. And I only kind of like grapes. I know- right?

I have lost the fight with the ground hogs, deers and rabbits. My Hostas are mere shreds of their former selves and at any given time I can walk in my yard and break an ankle. I wonder one day if the groundhogs will get together and undermine my yard so badly that when riding the mower I will fall into an endless sink hole. I see them watching me, I have my concerns.........

I wish I could freeze time and stay in this place of time forever. If there is a heaven I think when I die this is where I will be.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mother's Day

I love Mother's Day and always have as long as I can remember. My family will make it special. That is not a point to brag about because in many ways I have been lucky. My kids are sweet and loving, and my DH is as well. Yes -I did all the things for my raised children that was "all the work" that some mothers need to point out. It was never work for me. It was a gift.

It is truly a gift because life is fleeting and bad things happen to both good and bad people. And I want to recognize all the mothers who are not mothering in the ways that they want to. For some the only child they had was lost to adoption. For some it was a separation due to death, drugs, estrangement or other tragedies. I cannot imagine their pain and I fear even thinking about it too much. I am not that strong. But in my heart I know that many of these mothers are still mothering. It may be their other family members, their spouses or significant others, their staff, their friends,their pets, their charities or their plants. I know these mothers worry about the lives they care for. That is the heart of a mother.

I enjoy my life again. I still have regrets. And one of the things I needed to address was a cruel comment thrown at me by the adoptive mother of my relinquished child. "What kind of mother are you, you gave your child away?"

That accusation hurt and it was meant to hurt. Being human I had to think about that and reconcile that with who I am. But I have an answer to that now that the shock has worn off and I see clearly.

What kind of mother am I?  I think she tried to take away my motherhood with that statement, at least as it pertained to "her" daughter.  I was a mother before, during, and after relinquishment. My children still needed a mother and even through the pain I needed to be their mother.  I was a mother who was separated from her child and believe now that the separation is permanent.  That did not stop me from loving my children and attending to their every need as best as I knew how.  I was never removed from motherhood, even though I was accused of this. Perhaps that was her fantasy, but it was never my or my family's reality. No- she could not take my motherhood away from me, even though she tried.What type of mother was I? I was and I am a mother. That is her problem to bear. I am comfortable with my identity.

Did they take your motherhood away from you? If they did I am sorry. I am not going to give you Pollyanna words to irritate the hell out of you,  because that pain is real, and it is not right.

And stupidly I got distracted when writing this. My daughter just called me on the phone. She is upstairs. She wanted to inform me that our suburb gives free mulch and we talk about this. So I guess today if asked "What type of mother are you?" I would answer the type who entertains her daughter's dreams of free mulch at almost midnight. The mother who lost a child to adoption and but still takes that call. Some of the world may not get "your" motherhood. But that does not mean for a minute that it does not exist.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

At What Point Do You Relax After The Turmoil?

"Let's make a fire and sit outside" my daughter says.  The fire from this afternoon is embers and DD puts some cherry wood on top. We pull up some chairs and just talk. "It's good to relax, get out of the house."  It has been a very long winter. There was just so much to do, so much tension, much of it fueled in my life by that unsettling feeling of unfinished business.

You can't always finish what you start. And if you have a "never say die" personality it is very hard to get closure. However, that aspect of my personality did not come into bloom until well after adoption. It took achievement and confidence to grow. I never knew that "never say die" person lived inside of me, was me until I reached my potential as an adult. "Failure is not an option"..........sometimes it is.

I bought some flowers last week because they made me happy. I planted some in the front yard and was pleased that DH made a border for them and mulched them. They looked pretty. As the fire grows DD and I look in the distance and view the fog that is coming up from the ground and making it's way up the trees in the dusk.  It's pretty as well.

We are just two ladies relaxing by the fire. I will never know another person as intimately as I know my daughter, and no person could ever know me so completely. I think I won the lottery of life in that regard. When she asked me "Can you?" and I said "yes" there was no need for more words. I knew exactly what she wanted and she sat back with the little dog and closed her eyes....

I failed. That's just a fact, and it is interwoven now into the person I am. Failure did not crash the world I lived in, my refusal to accept it did. That refusal was fuel to the fire of my anxiety. I am loved in this world and it is relaxing by the fire. But DH is probaly getting lonely inside the house.  I ask DD "Do you want to go in now?' and she says yes. I tell her go on ahead, I will put out the fire.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

I Want To Fight- Kind Of

My biggest problem is that I stopped caring about many things and embarked on the road of least resistance.  Professionally, socially, and in many other areas I just don't give a shit. You have read my angry blog posts and as my inner feelings go I am unrepentant. But for my real life I just go with the flow for the most part and write angry blog posts. The only joy I feel is when I am with my family.

I woke up today like every other day and decided I needed to act about  some of my problems that I have been ignoring. I spent a great deal of time thinking about acting on them as I would prefer to ignore them. I have ignored them because dealing with them means dealing with  people to accomplish my goals.  People have a long history of letting me down. Except for my family. The ones I call family. They have never let me down.

And today feels like a bad dream. Because as expected people are letting me down. They are not hearing what I am saying. I found the old me, the scrapper emerge and already I regret it. I had to talk over somebody who repeated something I already told them was not factual. Why do people think repeating something wrong makes it right? I spent a long time cultivating this relationship and I feel I have damaged it by not being a "good girl." I am reminded that "You are a beautiful girl...." No, I am not. I am a woman. I am soon to be a grandmother. I am not a beautiful girl because to be a beautiful girl I have to be a girl. I don't want to be a girl anymore. Agreements were made and then broken. A woman holds the person breaking the agreement accountable. And she suffers when she is led to believe that her asking for what she agreed to is being a difficult person.

I am waiting for a phone call. I don't want to fight. Already I know that. But the person I used to be keeps telling me to fight. So I kind of want to fight. I want to make things right and it seems the only way to do that is to not accept bullshit.

However the people in charge are the ones giving me the bullshit. I am stealing myself to remain calm and to try to convince rather than dictate. And the part of me that wants to fight wants to happily give in to the other part of me that just wants to give in. I don't want to be difficult and I don't want to piss people off. That type of mind set is what makes me settle for less than I deserve and the scrapper in me is screaming "No, No, No!"

It just seems impossible sometimes.

Update: I just got the call I have been waiting for. Seems my torture will be prolonged for another few days BUT I was reassured that what I knew was factual is actually believed to be fact by the other party I was concerned about. Will the other party let me down in a few days? Most likely. But at least if they do it will be less surreal than to believe that somehow I dreamed all of this and woke up today to an alternate reality.

And if either of these two tell me again "You are a beautiful girl" I may just respond with "Fuck off!" and ask "How do you like me now?" I will of course regret that, suffer from that and cry in my pillow. Or maybe, just maybe find another way through this.......