"A sad tale’s best for winter. I have one of sprites and goblins.” – William Shakespeare
"Do you think I am intimdating? I mean, like, would she be uncomfortable or afraid to talk to me? Do I come on too strong?" I asked.
"YES! I would find you intimidating and I would guess that your daughter would as well. I mean, Suz, you are like a CELEBRITY. You are smart. You are a strong personality. You know about this stuff. You are well spoken. Celebrity…", my adoptee friend joked.
"Celebrity? Oh come on. Be real." I laughed.
"Well, really, wherever I go on blogs, in adoption stuff, there you are. If you arent there, people I talk to usually know of you. That has to make it hard for her. That is intimidating. Having a mom like you. Where can she safely go to avoid you? Where can she go to process her own stuff without you being there?" she continued.
Inside I cringed. While my friend had the best intent and really was trying to be helpful, even complimentary, her words made me feel worse.
My inital question was if my daughter might find me intimidating – as a person. Do I come on too strong? Is my "voice" upsetting? Is my anger and pain so obvious that it makes people – her specifically – want to run for the hills? Is that why she avoids me? Is it about me?
I explained this to my friend and she chastised me a bit.
"Suz, how many times have we discussed this? Her treatment of you is about HER not you. It is about her maturity, how she was supported or not by her adoptive parents, her mental health. It is not about you. It is not a reflection of you. You know this. You say this all the the time. You need to believe it. I do. I believe your daughter is missing out on tremendous love, support and emotional well being by avoiding you. I kinda wish you were my mom instead of hers…" friend continues.
She looks away as if she is caught up in the honesty of her last statement.
I begin but don’t finish my sentence. I would be repeating myself.
I continually look for concrete, tangible, reasons for my daughters approach to our reunion. I am grasping for straws, for ANYTHING, that I can latch on to that will help me understand it and ultimately, make it feel "okay" to me.
For some reason, the primnal wound, "she is immature" and "give her time..she is so young" statements don’t comfort me. They are so nebulous even if true.
I want a REASON. I don’t care what it is. I want to KNOW. For a reason, no matter how painful, will give me some sort of closure. Some sort of understanding.
Lacking such reason, I make up all sorts of stuff in my head.
- She was horribly abused.
- She is mentally unwell.
- She is being emotionally blackmailed by her adoptive parents. They have threatened her college funds if she has contact with me.
- She has four legs.
- She farts uncontrollably.
On and on and on my mind goes with all sorts of unhealthy, often disturbing, sometimes humorous, explanations.
I have no proof of any of this you see? It is all in my head. Dancing around like little goblins. Taunting me, pointing at me, making fun of me. "Nah, nah, nonny nonny poo poo, she doesn’t want to know you!"
I want to know the truth. I want the words from her. Not some thrice edited email made to look all proper and safe. I want her to TELL me. To look me in the eye and tell me what she feels. I write about this all the time. This post is nothing new. It is just the goblin, ever present on my back.
"But that is the point, Suz" my friend goes on.
"She does not know what she feels. She won’t allow herself to feel. I KNOW you understand this."
I guess I do. For if I had no voice at the age I gave birth to her, no voice when the entire world pressured me, no voice when I felt one thing but did another, why should I expect my daughter to be any different?
Because I want a reason?
I want to put this anxiety and constant weepiness over my reunion to bed. I want to be told "Look,right now my hair is short. When it grows to my butt crack, I will meet you". Or maybe "Look, I cannot talk to you until I am out of my parents home. That was the deal I made with them" or something!!
I really dont care what it is. I just want there to be a reason. For if there is no reason (that I can understand) I have only one terrifying explanation to fall back on.
She really doesn’t want to know me at all. She doesn’t think about me and doesn’t care about me or her brothers.
That is an agonizing thought for me but I have to accept it is entirely possible. I have to accept that my daughter may indeed be one of those adoptees that considers me the uterous through which she came and nothing more.
"Do you want a reason or do want you to BE the reason? Are you waiting for her to tell you it is indeed your fault, just like everyone else told you? Is that your problem? She hasn’t said you are the reason and you dont know how to work with that?" asks my friend.
I am momentarily stunned. That is the kind of question I would typically pose. I have taught my friend well. I smile and then laugh as a way to escape answering the question. There might indeed be something to that question. I dont want to answer it.
"It would be less painful for me to know some horrible things about her life and her status than for me to be told that she really just doesnt want to know me – like EVER! Lacking words from her, fearing the possible truth that she doesnt want to know me, what am I to do but blame myself and make it all about me? Me, I can latch on to. Me, I can understand. Me, I know." I respond, clearly avoiding the question.
"It is not you, Suz. It is really not. I wish you were my mom. I wish you would stop blaming yourself."
With that, my friend hugs me and I start to cry.
"Yeah, but am I intimidating…" I stutter and begin the entire conversation again and continue the taunting the goblins have taught me so well.