Thursday, April 23, 2015

Default Setting

The busy season is upon me, with spring and change in the air.  I seem to be spending almost as much time trying to pull my thoughts together as I am getting any work done, but at the end of the day I can see progress – thanks to well thought out to-do lists.
I’ve been incorporating meditation into my daily life, with over a solid month of 10 minutes or more per day.  I like it, and I like that I’m doing it.  Is it making a difference?  I don’t know, but I feel a bit less anxious, or more precisely, more at ease.   

But tonight, my mind and emotions are in a bit of a flux, and I’m feeling discontented.

There is such an ebb and flow to how I feel and think about my son, waves of intensity.  Some days I find myself walking by his picture and lightly touching the image, so grateful for the connections we had.  Other days I sit and doubt… everything.  The moments of gratefulness I embrace as much as I can, and the others, well, sometimes I give them airtime.  I’m trying to learn to hear the chorus of critics in my head without necessarily listening to them; learning to acknowledge the fears without letting them take control. 

When it comes to my son I never knew how to tell people that I wanted to talk about him.  That even though it usually made me cry I still wanted to and to find ways to acknowledge his existence.  Now, as I continue to learn how to share him, and I tell people I want to be open about him, I find myself resorting back to my old default when they do bring him up: clamming up and shutting down – it’s so frustrating!  I don’t want to do that anymore.

My oldest sister spoke of my son fairly often, more so after we were reunited.  She wanted to know if I’d heard from him or talked to him.  It’s one of the many things I’ve always loved about her – that she never seemed afraid to bring him up in conversation.  She always made me feel as though he was a normal part of my life, our lives, and she never once doubted he would find me one day.   
For that I am so very grateful.  

My oldest brother and his wife have their own very personal relationship with adoption: they adopted two beautiful boys.  When they began their adoption journey, we talked about my experience and what I looked for in perspective parents; I think they were hoping to get the inside story – I’m not sure I was ever really helpful, but I hope so.  Our conversations, no matter how seemingly insignificant, were precious to me.

The youngest siblings, my baby sister and baby brother, were only 9 and 11 when I had my son.  I can’t even tell you what they thought about all of it, what their feelings were.  We never talked about it then, and haven’t really since, but I hope to learn someday how they felt and what their experiences were, if they are willing.

My son expressed an interest in meeting them all; especially my brothers, since his adopted family was heavily populated with girls.  One of the few times all of us siblings were together we talked with anticipation and excitement about when and where and who would be there (we didn’t think it would be wise for all of us to be present - we were a bit afraid to overwhelm him with the full force of our combined craziness).   
We talked and laughed and dreamt about what it will be like… would be like...

We just never had the chance.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cherish Everything

Lately, I’ve been able to think about him without crying, even talk about him without crying.
Well, sometimes…

It amazes me: the tears seem to be self-replicating.  They just never seem to run out.  However, they are less insistent.  Less like a waterfall, more like a softly rolling river.  At times I find myself floating along, carried by the current, at other times I rest in an eddy, seemingly content to be idle.  I have come to the point, finally, where I’m less likely to judge my feelings and instead just acknowledge, accept and sit with them. 
It’s a good place to be.

I’ve been thinking more about what I’m missing and less of what I missed.
Neither holds any joy, however.   
So, I try to turn my attention to what I did have: to the memory of seeing his face for the first time, and his perfect little features; his ruddy cheeks, tiny fingers and downy hair.  And to the memory of his face again, after 19 years, and having it feel like it was the first time.  How it felt to have his grown-up, man-like frame engulf me in a hug.  His eyes, his beautiful eyes that looked so like my own.  I look lovingly at the pictures from our one precious face-to-face meeting.  Him and I, arm in arm, with smiling faces and glowing eyes.  I’m so grateful to have them, so grateful.

Here’s an odd confession: I’ve actually come to value the flush of my face and the heaviness in my chest that happens immediately before the tears start to flow, because, in reality, I want to cherish everything I can that has anything to do him whatsoever.