Life is my college. – Unknown
91 North spread out in front of us. Clouds overhead, just a few, cast a shadow over the roads in front of us.
I was gloomy. I was angry at myself.
It was my fiances day. I was here for support. He had just left his eldest son at his college campus for the first time ever. He was emotional, conflicted, feeling lost and unsure.
And so was I.
But for different reasons.
I squashed my personal emotions. I was here for him. He needed me. We had spent countless hours debating whether or not it was appropriate for me to be in attendance today. We debated too frequently if it was better for me not to be present at the move in of his son to his college dorm since his ex wife would be there. Would my presence be welcomed or a bother? Would I be intruding? How do you blend families if you don’t start with events like this? We vacillated back and forth for days.
In the end, we decided I would go and after so much thought and planning (and consulting with the ex and son in question), I was comitted to being here for him in every way.
Yet my heart was pummelled with days gone by, with days never lived. I thought about how much I craved the college living on campus experience. I envied his son and everyone else that got to do what we did for him today.
My mother never sent me off to college.
She put me on a plane to a maternity home.
As I swallowed the lump in my throat, I looked over to him and saw his pained expression staring at the windshield.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
He mumbled something in response. Something about mixed feelings, joy, sadness, emotion, protection, and how hard it is to let your children go out into the world.
I smiled a weak smile and continued to talk to my inner self and tell her to shut the fuck up. This day is not about you!
“You know, of all the things they tell you about parenting in general, about parenting after divorce, they never tell you how to stop missing your kids, you know?” he says as a tear falls down his cheek.
“Yeah, I know” I respond weakly as talking any louder would reveal the shake in my voice and likely divert his attention from his own feelings to mine. That could not happen.
It was a ridiculous statement in a way “how to stop missing your kids” but I understood his intent. It was more a reflection of his pain rather than a statement of a reality he wants to achieve. He wants to hurt less not necessarily miss his son less. While he was referring to divorce, and more recently to seeing his eldest son off to college, my mind was drawn to adoption.
I have missed my child for 23 years and they never told me I would. Quite the contrary they told me I would get over it, go on, be just fine. Peachy in fact.
I have missed her every day since May 19th, 1986 and I never ever got over it.
My mind was drawn to the person I lost before I lost my daughter. Me and the person I was intended to me. Me, the young student council president, honor roll student, destined for college in New Hampshire. Inside I cried for her. She never saw that dorm. Instead she saw the cold sterile walls of the convent turned home for unwed and unwanted mothers.
And then I cried for the mother I became instead of the college student I should have been. I saw myself sitting on the bed in St. Joseph Hospital cradling a beautiful baby girl in my arms.
And I cried for the motherhood I lost. I cried for myself missing my daughters college move in days.
I silent cried and next to me, driving north on Interstate 91, my fiance visibly cried. He is the light to my dark. The yin to my yang. The good cry to my bad cry. The audible to the inaudible.
His tears mixed with speckles of joy.
Mine dark with pain.
I took his hand and squeezed it tight.