"What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: Our life is the creation of our mind.â€ – Buddha
I am struggling lately to form cohesive, fluent sentences. There continues to be a great deal of adoption related work, emotions and localized agony in my life yet I am unable to pull all the threads together. As such, I am going to jot a few random paragraphs down.
Well, You Are Not
A few days ago I had the opportunity to meet with an old/new friend who was recently in reunion. I hadn't seen this person in many years and frankly was not even aware, at the time I knew her, that she was adopted. Since she had recently shared her adoptee status with me, and subsequently learned of my own status in the not so lovely adoption triad, we wanted to get together. I knew going into the meeting I did not have it in me to get too deep. I was hoping my friend felt the same.
The conversation was relatively light. She filled me in on how she was found, how her reunion is going, what her adoptive mother thinks about it all, how she is feeling, etc. She smiled with pride as she handed over pictures of her mother to me and asked me if I thought she looked like her, etc. It was very nice to see her so happy and comfortable talking about her mother.
Then she asked me about my daughter. I stammered. I really did not want to go there. I shared a bit, a little bit. Friend asked me what I called myself and what I called adoptive mother when I talked to my daughter. I told friend that I refer to myself as her mother when speaking with others (that fact is irrefutable). I refer to her adoptive mother by her first name (in conversations with my daughter) yet I realize my daughter calls her mother. She is the only mother she knows and acknowledges. I explained that I use adoptive mothers name in conversation as it puts us on equal ground. If I were to say "your mother" to my daughter (even though she is the only mother she knows and recognizes) I feel I would be giving into the social construct that demands I am not her mother (which is plain old stupid and wrong). Saying to her "your mother" is also saying "I am not your mother". Calling adoptive mother by first name puts us on equal ground, or footings. I am not elevating her above me nor putting me above her. We are two women who love our shared daughter. I told friend I have no idea what daughter refers to me as, if she does at all, in conversations. I told friend that years ago I told daughter to call me "Suz" as I knew she would not be comfortable saying I was her mother. Moreover, daughter has chastised me several times for calling myself her mother to anyone at all.
At this point, friend said "Well of course, because you are not her mother."
I inhaled deeply at this point and within a matter of moments decided I did not want to fight that battle with an adoptee recently in reunion. I did not have the emotional fortitude. I let it slide.
I am my daughters mother. To suggest anything else is assinine. Her "mother" became a mother because of me. One can argue she has a mother and a parent. One can argue first mother, mother, adoptive mother, birth mother, whatever.
I am my daughters mother.
End of story.
It Still Reigns
Last night I watched the movie Reign Over Me for a second time. My boyfriend hadn't seen it. Interestingly, my reaction this time was not nearly are bad as it was when I wrote this post. However, I still maintain that the emotions felt, expressed, experienced by Adam Sandler's character in that movie are the most accurate portrayal of first mother loss, grief and PTSD I have seen to date. I can relate to nearly every painful emotion and coping strategy employed by Sandler in that movie. The denial, the avoidance, the dissociation, the seeing of your child on the street in the face of every child, the anger, the rage, the inability to look at pictures, the triggering of emotions by merely mentioning their names or the word "family", the need to put on headphones to escape reality. Its painful but very real. Again, I urge those that have not watched that movie and when you see all the sadness expressed by Sandlers character, know that it what I, and many other mothers, live with every day of our lives. Furthermore, keep in mind that social workers KNEW this would happen to us when they took our children yet they took them anyway and gave us NO counseling.
When the movie ended, my boyfriend started to ask questions of me, my PTSD, how things went with my daughter. I shrugged him off. Again, I really did not want to get into it. He has read this post. He knows most of the story and is incredibly understanding and thoughtful. Again, I just did not want to go there. I wanted to be able to sleep well last night (and I did). Rehashing painful episodes would have surely kept me up all night.
Loving and Hating the Internet
It is very odd to know where your daughter is working, living and what she looks like yet to not be able to speak with her or congratulate her or send her a house warming gift for a new apartment. I find myself in a love/hate relationship with the Internet. It seems silly that I can have all this information, see pictures of her, but not be allowed to talk to her or meet with her. To follow her on twitter (thankfully she did not block me or protect her updates), to see her flickr, to know how she is doing yet to find that out via the Internet seems bizarre and frighteningly sterile and cold. I suppose I should be thankful. I have much more than many mothers and their lost children have but I find it difficult being a voyeuer to my daughters life.
It all seems so insane.
I have been preoccupied lately with trying to figure out how I live my life without my daughter but remain prepared that someday she might be in it. No doubt my life goes on yet, to date, it goes on with an incredible amount of daily anxiety and angst over lack of or possible future presence of her in my life. I work hard daily, sometimes hourly, not to think of her, of us, of the situation. If I do, I fall into a river of tears. (As I write this my eyes well up).
My current thought process is that to move forward without her I have to put her someplace in my heart. That place is high on a shelf, dark, rarely seen. I feel as if to have a happier life, I need to have less expectations – or none at all – of her being in it.
What if I do that? Do I become numb to her existence? What if she pops up 5 years from now and the wounds are ripped open all over again? What if my children and I get in a pattern of her not being here and not being interested in us and then suddenly she is?
How do you stay lightly bleeding? I don't want my wounds to scab over so well that when (if) she contacts me that I fall right back into the abyss. I don't want my family disrupted or angry at her for suddenly appearing on the scene after she ignored us for years. I think alot about an adoptee blog I read. She did just that and boldly writes about it. Found her mother, ignored her mother, then years later thought she should/could/would just pop up and be welcomed with no thought given to how her actions had affected others and how those effects would impact her desire to be part of her mothers life after many years. (Is that making sense? That feels like a huge run on sentence?)
I want to find some way to say "its okay, its good, I am fine" and I want to really mean it. I want to remain open to meeting her in the future but I don't want my life blown apart again if/when that happens?
Is that realistic or should I put down the emotional crack pipe I am smoking?