The Nose

"Serendipity: to make discoveries, by accident and sagacity, of things not in quest of." –

Its been two days and I am still shaking. I still cannot catch my breath. I still feel dizzy and disoriented. I feel drained. Depleted of all my energy.

Ever been in a car accident and end up okay but also end up shaking and traumatized for a few days? I feel like that.

My breathing becomes more rapid and shallow and my eyes well with tears just recollecting the events that transpired this past Sunday.

Yes. I visited the amazing powerful Claud.  Claud and I met at a diner in the same town that my daughter goes to school in. Of course I knew this. Of course I let her know. Since we have not met F2F and only correspond via email, I felt it terribly important to let her know this. Why? Well, I was very concerned that if, by any force of any god, we ran into each other she might think I had become some crazy stalker. I am a bit crazy but I am not a stalker.

My daughter made it clear when we first reunited that she did not want to meet YET.  I have not pushed. I have developed the relationship slowly, followed her lead and let things flow as they may.  That being said, I won’t deny that I am anxious to meet her. Anxious to sit with her and share coffee, talk books, look at her beautiful face, hear the sound of her voice, listen to her laugh. To touch her again.  To be back in the same room with a piece of my soul that left me 20 years ago.

I told her of my visit via email. She did not respond. That was okay. I felt I had done my duty of “warning” her.

Saturday morning I happen to check her away message on AIM. It says “parents”. This confuses me. Was she home for the weekend? Was she sick? Did something happen? On a whim, I check her school academic calendar. I learn that the weekend I will be in town is parents weekend. Her aparents will be there the same time I will. We will all be breathing the same air.

I get nervous. I rethink my plans with Claud. I decide against canceling. I realize I am being foolish. I cannot plan my life around where she is at any given time. I cannot avoid that part of the State simply because she is there.

So, I go. I drive 70 miles to visit Claud. As I enter the town we are meeting in, I cross over a street named Michael Avenue (name changed for privacy). I gasp for air. Its like a tidal wave hits me. I shake. For the past year I have been mailing letters and packages to my daughters school on Michael Avenue.  I felt like crossing that street was like going over a threshold, opening a gate, passing into some sacred space. Her space.

This is where she goes to school. For the past two years, my daughter has walked these streets. Something touches me deep inside. I feel short of breath and start to cry.  I keep driving.

I meet Claud. We laugh. We talk. We drink too much coffee. We joke about the possibility of me seeing my daughter in town somewhere. Claud shows me her TWO pairs of dark movie star sunglasses she brought with her. I laugh.

Claud leaves and I begin the second part of my journey.

My daughter and her friends hang out at a certain café/diner in town. She talks about it frequently, posts pictures of it, etc. I had the idea to get her a gift certificate to the place. I am currently preparing her birthday package and I was so pleased with myself with my ingenuity

I had no idea where the place was. Only the name. I ask at the diner. This nice lady gives me directions. Tells me to go three blocks and when I get to Named College to take a right. I gasp.

“I am that close to Named College?”, I say.
“Yeah, its right there”, she says.

I thank her and run to my car. Again the shaking, the problems breathing. She, they, are like right here, somewhere. I ponder not doing it. Again, second guessing myself. I go for it.

It was her nose that I saw first.

I walked into the small café/bakery, crowded with college students (mostly girls) and for some reason my head is pulled to the left. I see her nose. Right side of her face, nose piercing. Her back is to me. I see the hair. Poker straight, like mine. I pass by and glance over and ITS HER.  My daughter is next to me. No longer is she just breathing the same air in the same town. She is in the same god danged room with me.

But I cannot say anything. She does know I am there. She has not given me permission to be there. She does not want to meet YET.

I honestly don’t know how I managed this. I pushed through the crowed and stuttered my request for a gift certificate. She was two people behind me.

I got the certificate and turned and glanced her way again. Yup. Its my baby. My only girl. My daughter. Have not seen her in twenty years and here she is in front of me.

Something about her is so oddly familiar. The slant of her back, the way she is slouching in the chair, the look on her face. Her hair. I know what it would feel like without even touching it. I just know. Her jewelry. Her cool style.  MY BABY MY BABY MY BABY!

I leave rapidly. The tremors are back. The breathing is labored. I am honestly afraid I will shriek and keel over on the floor.

I get back in my car and I drive 70 miles home. On the way, I call my younger sister. I am crying. I cannot breath. I am shaking. She is worried about me driving. I assure her I am fine. I am hysterical that I did the wrong thing – again.

I just left my baby AGAIN!

This time it was my choice. Did she see me? Sense me? Did I do the right thing? What else could I have done? Pulled up a chair and said “Hey, can I join you?”. I don’t even know if she tells her friends she is adopted. I know she has kept me a secret from her aparents. What could I do?

I had to respect her. Regardless of what my needs were or are, hers are more important.

Do I tell her? Do I not tell her? OMG, what do I do?

I told her. I wrote her and she wrote me back. And I wrote her and she wrote me.

And she is cool with it. She was glad I did what I did. OMG. She was cool with it.

Well, yeah. Of course she was. She is cool.

And oh yeah, she was sitting at the café with her AMOM!!!

How, why does this cosmic shit happen to me? What does this mean?

I am still digesting. Still processing and trying to find some positive reason for this happening.

My baby girl is a beautiful woman now.

24 Thoughts.

  1. Oh, my gosh.
    I feel for you. I’d be reeling too.
    But your daughter was cool with it (she sounds fabulous), so it has to have been auspicious cosmic shit 🙂

  2. yes, kippa, she was fine. she did not see me. had no idea i was in the place. said she was glad i did not say anything or stop. she has had alot of family stuff and school stuff to deal with AND her amom was sitting right there! it would have just been the wrong thing, place, time, etc. I could not do that to her.

  3. Oh man, I can hear and feel the adrenaline, panic, thrill and fear in your words on the screen. I respect you so much for the control. It is so hard that the pace of all this means she and/or her amom aren’t ready. But wow what a message you gave to your daughter. You respect her. That comes through as loud as the love. You honored her by telling her what was going on ahead of time. You loved her by not demanding a response, you respected her needs and her judgement in not saying anything she would have to explain to others, you respected her wishes to be able to be prepared when you do meet. Boy won’t she get a giggle when you send her the package with the gift certificate and a special moment when she uses it. I will bet the way you treated her with love and respect, even though it took great restraint not to just hug on her twenty years worth – she will feel so much more comfortable and less anxious when she is ready to spend time with you face to face.
    I am sorry though for all the subtext of not being able to see her because of parents weekend. That is hurtful. But in a ‘cosmic’ way to use your words, it was so right that you were there, in town, in the restaurant, at the school. Your intentions were pure and you were meant to be there.

  4. Thanks Marlene. Your comment made me cry. But then again, I am still pretty raw from the experience so its not hard to make me cry.
    Thanks for your support. Its amazing how much my friends have been there for me the past few days. Phone calls, emails, enormous shows of support. I am lucky to have all of you. Even the ones I have not (yet) met IRL.

  5. And, you were there, on parents day.
    It sounds like a frightening, exhilerating experience. And, one that is on the positive road of healing for the both of you.
    Serendipity is great sometimes.

  6. Let me just start by saying that my comment may not be popular with adoptive parents and please delete it if it causes trouble. That said…I just cannot related to M. Please don’t mistake this as critcism of her. I think I know now why she and I are so different. My amom spent my whole life getting me ready to meet Mom C. I feel like M was cheated. Not by you, but cheated by her aparents out of a chance to be excited about you, to share you, to broadcast “THIS IS MY FIRST MOM.” I admit it, I took my ability to do that for granted. I am so lucky that my amom was NOT insecure, afraid, possesive or ignorant to the inherent needs of adoptees. You got cheated too. Out of the chance to see her, grab her and hold her. That makes me so sad. I really admire you for not being bitter but for recognizing her needs and putting them before your own. You are a phenomenal woman. Thank you for blogging this. R

  7. R – No worries and thanks for your thoughts and your continued wonderful support.
    I doubt you will offend any a-rents that visit me. Most of them that I know that do are pretty progressive and they get it. I know some truly wonderful amoms and more and more are “getting” it every day.
    As an adoptee in reunion, your opinion is like gold to me. What you said makes total sense. I completely agree with you. I think (okay, I am guessing) that my daughters parents are from the “old school” of aparents. I also know for a fact that any parent who adopted from the agency I surrendered my daughter to got little to NO preadoption counseling, info, etc. The agency was know for its quick speedy adoptions. If you had the money, they had the baby.
    So, yeah, I believe M may indeed be challenged in that regard.

  8. Wow. Riveting.
    I don’t think I could have done it had I been in your shoes though. That is just incredible. Fate, destiny – my stomach was twisting up reading your account.
    You are strong and fearless.

  9. I was on the edge of my seat and my heart is still in my throat.
    Your daughter sounds like a remarkably cool woman. Which isn’t surprising, being your daughter.
    I don’t know if I would have had your restraint. You’re stronger than me.

  10. Ugg..I still feel bad that we did not go together. I should have gone with you..damn the Jeep.
    But..the only thing I can think make myself feel that WE would have been more of a scene together..and maybe made her look ..the two crazy redheads, in dark sunglasses..
    me :WHAT!!”
    “Don;t look over there?
    me: WHERE??? WHo OMG!!
    yeah..maybe it worked out best..
    I still cannot beleive you called it..we joked about it!!!
    I am really glad she is OK..and I bet the “close” no cigar//will be a good temptation for her. You will not wait another 20 years..
    and Marlene said it ditto to that.

  11. How surreal your experience had to have been! I can barely fathom how hard that had to have been for you.
    I think you showed incredible strength and courage to have kept quiet! Don’t know that I could have.

  12. thank you all for your wonderful kind comments. they mean a great deal to me. to say this was difficult for me would be an understatement.
    i know all too well what it feels like to be coerced, intimidated, forced to do something i dont want to do. i will never do that to my daughter. when, if, we meet, i want her to genuninely be interested and open and for it to be as comfortable as possible for her. i dont want a “hostile witness” or someone who feels she has to do this because she feels obligated or burdened. that is no way to start a relationship, imo.
    i hope time will prove that my approach is a sound one.
    many thanks.

  13. WHAT an experience!
    There is a part of me that just shakes my head because I don’t understand. I so desperately want to know my mother so It’s hard for me to really get my thoughts around where your daughter is with all of this. Please don’t take this as ANY sort of insult to your daughter. Everyone has their own journey and each is unique. I respect that. It’s just hard to understand.
    Then there is another part of me that sees with such clarity the genuine beauty and courage you displayed.
    Wow is all I can come up with.

  14. Mia – I agree and understand. While I think I am doing the right thing, the thing that my daughter and I need me to do, I admit its hard. I have so many friends that are in reunion that have close relationships now with their natural families, who are thrilled to find each other etc. Its hard to not to want that. Its hard not to wonder what is wrong with me? What did I do wrong? Is she angry at me? Am I too goofy for her? On an on goes the second guessing and uncertainty.
    BUT, as you said, while we walk the same path, we each have different situations, perspectives, expectations. Its the beauty of being human.

  15. Hmmmmmm…..”cosmic shit” – maybe – but I would say this was a HUGE gift from God. What are the chances that she would be in the exact place where you are at the exact time? This was a huge gift -a chance to place your eyes on your precious child…like your whole trip was honored, your approach, your efforts were honored by this chance meeting. I admire your patience – your honesty – your putting her first – and I have a secret (and selfish)hope that my first mom will be as eager to see her/my daughter…..hope with me, huh? Heidi

  16. Sweet Jeeeesus, my grandmother would say.
    How did you stand it? How the heck did you drive away, not sit in the car and stare at the door, waiting?
    What a gift from the Universe – so see her from afar. Wow. And she “was cool” – good sign.
    I cannot even imagine that day. Once again, you have blown me away… Damn it, I want you two to meet! lol …but only when it’s the right time for you both.

  17. Wow Suz,
    Reading this had me at the edge of my seat. I can imagine how tough it was for you. I can see why it wasn’t the right time considering that she hasn’t told her aparents, but it is frustrating that she hasn’t in all of this time. You are an extraordinary woman and mother. When that time comes to meet her f2f, she will be so amazed at your beautiful spirit.
    I haven’t been reading your blog for very long so I don’t know all that you’ve been through during the surrender/adoption and reunion but in reading this one, I’m wondering if she’s testing you. Trying to see if she can push you away – if there is anything at all that she can do that will make you give up and walk away.
    You’re so amazing and wonderful. You’ve changed the way I feel about so many things in such a short amount of time. If you only knew!

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  20. Wow…Claudia pointed me in this direction.. this is what happened to me today. Being boring and cutting and pasting from Birth Mothers Support Group n Facebook…I don’t thin I could write the whole thing again without wripping open a fresh wound

    I’m currently on holiday in my son’s home town…it is a bit of a pilgrimage for me…just so I can be somewhere he have been. Any reunion should be on his terms and when he is ready…not when I want it to happen. So here I am, off to this big shopping centre to have lunch. OK, I did have an ulterior motive, I knew where my son would most likely be in the evening and wanted to go there…hoping to catch a glimpse of him…just to see him in the flesh would have been great.

    Then there I am in the shopping centre and who should suddenly before me on the escalator, but my own flesh and blood. So bad me…I followed him to a coffee shop, where he looked straight at me. I didn’t speak to him at all, just started to shake like a leaf ordered my coffee and went to the outside terrace where low and behold he is sitting about 10 meters from me. I sat down and had my drink stealing a few glances at him…just hope I was not staring at him, but I did see that he was looking my direction too…most likely feeling stared at. When I calmed down, I went about my business and just thought how lucky I was to have seen he in person. Then about 30 minutes later I go up an escalator as he goes down, he just looks at me and carries on with his friend…I dare not look back at him and just get out shopping centre as fast as I can.

    Maybe I should have said something, but what can you say? “Hello I’m your mother”, when he was there with his friend? Hopefully, it was a spark of recognition on his part rather than him wondering why is this woman staring at me.

    If anything, I can take with me from this trip is that my son is a beautiful creature with the most amazing eyes I will ever see…and one day I dare to hope they will look at me and know how I am, rather than some crazy woman who stared at him in a shopping centre

    • Wow Beatrice! Just reading that made me lose my breath, I can’t begin to imagine how that was for you. I hope you are soon able to look into those beautiful eyes while having a conversation with your son!

  21. Howdy Beatrice! Hope you have recovered. I know it took me a few days. I can tell you that it does change with time. I cannot tell from your story if your son has agreed to meet or if you are communicating with him. As I approach almost ten years since I found my daughter (and have not met her, talked to her, etc. at her request) it does change. The intensity, the emotion, at least for me lessened, changed. Feel free to keep reading and if you need to talk privately you are welcome to email me.

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  23. I am so happy you found your daughter and that the intense feelings have changed somewhat as time goes on. (Not the painful feelings due to relinquishment, but the intense feelings from reunion seem to have shifted and evolved.) Your love for your daughter is clear as you have have followed her guidelines.

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