I No Yike You

"I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your
        own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it. " – Oriah Mountain Dreamer

The boys ran frantically around the playground.

Around the sandbox, back through the kiddy gym and then through the picnic area. An observer unfamiliar with the boys might think it was typical play or perhaps a game of tag.

Being the mother of the boy running away (and not the one doing the chasing) I knew otherwise. My son was trying to shake the tail. He did not want to play with the little blonde boy that had befriended him at the sandbox. He wanted to be left alone. 

He had attempted to tell the boy that. He then resorted to ignoring and when that did not work he took flight. But alas, the Arian child was in hot pursuit.

My son stopped dead in his tracks, not far from where I was sitting, and whipped around to stare at the 4 year old surfer dude.

“I no yike you!”, he bellowed at the boy.

And with that, he approached me and sat on my lap. This was now my cue to protect him and get the annoying creature to leave him alone.

I chuckled. As I ran my fingers through his straight dark brown locks, I was reminded of a conversation I had recently with a natural mom friend.

“I don’t think I like my child”, she said to me.

Her eyes darted around as if she was worried someone other than me would have heard.

“Isn’t that a horrible thing to say? I spend thirty years looking for her and now that I found her I don’t like her. What mother says they don’t like their child?”.

She started to cry.

I know the discomfort she feels. I don’t really care much for my daughter at times. But for me, it’s her behavior, it’s her words. It’s not her. I don’t really know her. I cannot honestly say I don’t like her.

I can say I don’t like the way she treats me or the way she has chosen to handle our reunion but that is not her as a person I dislike. It’s the situation.

I explained my personal position to my friend. She seemed to agree and understand but pointed out that her situation was different. She had been in reunion longer. Her child found her. It’s not exactly like my situation.

True.

I suggested she think about what she would do had she raised her child? Do you think we would like our children all the time? Every second of the day? I doubt it. I can tell you that I am quite confident there were periods in my life when my own mother disliked me. I also know for a fact that she has gone through lengthy periods of disliking several of my siblings.

I also reminded my friend that her daughter is only part her daughter. She is also part someone else’s. She will have morals and values and likes and dislikes that will outright clash with hers.  (Thank you, Adoption.).

At this point, she started to sob.  I hit a nerve. She then shared that she disapproves of her daughter’s lifestyle. She doesn’t like how she parents her children, my friend’s only grand children. She drinks too much. She uses foul language. She is, ahem, low class.

“She was supposed to grow up better off than me. Not worse. How could this happen? She would have been better off with me after all.”

She was too upset to continue talking.

I grabbed her hand and held it. I felt as if there was no point in my talking. She was right of course. It is entirely possible her child would have been far better off with her. In fact, many family preservation advocates would say her daughter definitely would have been – regardless of the socioeconomic class my friend may have ended up in. Nothing can replace a single identity, your medical history, your roots, your genetic mirroring, your mother. Adoption doesn’t guarantee a child a better life. It guarantees them a second, different one.

I pondered asking my friend if she knew if her daughter liked her. Perhaps the feeling was mutual? I considered discussing phases of reunion and primal wound and more. I had an enormous amount of insight and words and suggestions and thoughts for my friend but I held back. Like my son would show me a few days later, all she needed was for me to be there for her and protect her, if even for a moment, from the things that sadden her.  We weren’t in a place or a time to get into a heavy discussion.

It was the time to hold her hand and let her cry silently.

And so I did.

6 Thoughts.

  1. I sure can relate to that. After 22 year in reunion, I can say I love my daughter, but don’t like what she is doing, and many things about her. I know she was brought up with good values and morals but she has none. I would never have a friend like her in my life, but she is my daughter and I would rather have her in my life then not. She is family, and nothing is going to change that. Also I don’t think my daughter likes me very much either. My daughter has me in the picture for my Granddaughters sake, I am sure.

  2. I drink too much. I swear like a sailor. I barely make enough to keep a roof over my child’s and my head. We have enough to eat, but I am in debt up to my eyeballs because of it. I’m sure I would be considered “lower class” by most.
    BUT, my mother still loves me more than anything on this earth. She still supports me and would do ANYTHING to help me. She DOES do anything to help us. She may dislike my ACTIONS, but she likes ME. After all, SHE is half of the reason I AM me.
    I would really be shocked if my mother told me she didn’t like me. Maybe she doesn’t like my choices, but even then, she tries to help coax me out of the poor choices I DO make. She tries to give me other options. She attempts to ground me.
    How sad that adoption could turn issues like swearing and drinking too much into reasons not to “like” your child.
    I’m a true believer that there is a huge difference between ACTIONS and PERSON.

  3. There have been moments in which my mother has not liked me. Had I been my own mother during those times of turmoil, I don’t think I would have liked me either. That said, my mother has always loved me.
    I’m wondering if the volatile responses here are because people haven’t ever experienced the discord between like and love. If not, you’re lucky. Because, honestly, there have been times that I could have cussed my Husband out (or a best friend, or my own mother, etc) but I’ve always, always loved him (them, her, etc).
    When it comes down to it, I’d rather be loved. Sometimes my mother had to offer up some “tough love” to help me get through some of my issues, ones I don’t talk about very frequently. She didn’t like what I was doing, she didn’t like who I had become during those times. But she loved me enough to do what she had to do. And I’m eternally grateful for those moments of “dislike.”

  4. jenna – completely agree with you and that is the case for my friend as well. clearly, if she did not love her daughter she would not be upset and caring and conflicted about her negative feelings towards her daughter. and truthfully, it goes far beyond the daughters drinking, swearing, poor parenting and bad social skills. but yes, I agree with you completely. some people dont know the difference between like and love at all.

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