"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.
â€œI no yike you!â€, 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.
â€œI donâ€™t think I like my childâ€, she said to me.
Her eyes darted around as if she was worried someone other than me would have heard.
â€œIsnâ€™t that a horrible thing to say? I spend thirty years looking for her and now that I found her I donâ€™t like her. What mother says they donâ€™t like their child?â€.
She started to cry.
I know the discomfort she feels. I donâ€™t really care much for my daughter at times. But for me, itâ€™s her behavior, itâ€™s her words. Itâ€™s not her. I donâ€™t really know her. I cannot honestly say I donâ€™t like her.
I can say I donâ€™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. Itâ€™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. Itâ€™s not exactly like my situation.
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 elseâ€™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 daughterâ€™s lifestyle. She doesnâ€™t like how she parents her children, my friendâ€™s only grand children. She drinks too much. She uses foul language. She is, ahem, low class.
â€œShe 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.â€
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 â€“ 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 doesnâ€™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 werenâ€™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.