Monday, September 05, 2011

Distilling Knowledge

Kerry and Sam...1990

When I first reunited with my surrendered daughter and then my son, I knew that I was entering a strange land. All the maternal feelings were there, but there were kinks in the chain. Little did I understand at the time, or for years, how that gap in years, and missing out on sharing their childhoods would dash any expectations of a normal relationship and cause a lot of hurt and frustration.

I can see jealousy in my surrendered children, towards their siblings...not hostile but wistful that my raised children have something with me that they don't. It speaks to the importance of shared experience.

You see, my raised children, Kerry and Sam, were my babies, then my toddlers, then my little girl and little boy, then my rebellious teens before they became my adult children. I can recall, with them, special moments, traumas and happy times. My surrendered children were my babies and then they were gone. All the in-between was lost and I admit to searching, hungrily, in their faces for the children they were rather than the adults they now are. That was MY bad.

In 1993, I was hit by a storm of emotion and confusion, with two reunions in one year, just as I was going though a very tough time in my marriage. It took me a long time to accept and mourn the fact that what I had lost would never be returned. Those precious formative years belonged to someone else. And to say I was displeased with what took place with my babies during those years would be an understatement.

I tend to over-analyze a lot. And often, I have to stand back and quit going around my arse to get to my elbow. Accepting what I can't change has always been a challenge for me, but I find myself in a much better state of mind when I do that very thing.

Yes, I am the Mother of the two children lost to adoption...their true Mother. But they are not, nor will they ever be my little girl and little boy. Those years will always belong to someone else.

My daughter's adopters are deceased, but they are still a living presence in her. She often posts tributes to them on her FB page. Now that is not the norm for children raised by their natural parents, but what the hey...whatever floats her boat. I just cannot read those paeans without feeling a bit of a knife in my gut. I have to wonder if that is why she does it.

I feel the family connection more keenly through my granddaughter and her children. I wasn't there when she was a baby, but then lots of grandparents weren't. Our relationship is easier, laughter comes to us more readily and we don't try to burden each other with our troubles. And she gave me a gift when we visited while I was in San Antonio....the gift of her truth and the verification of a lot of my suppositions. The weight of the world was lifted from my shoulders.

Now I know that in any dysfunctional family, the truth is usually somewhere in the middle. But this is the first time I have really listened to my granddaughter and heard her pain and frustration. Once I had boiled down all this information to the inner essence, I knew that I had to distance myself from a toxic relationship. I would do no one any good by enabling them.

So here I sit, on Labor Day, having been greeted by my raised children and my granddaughter, and getting on with the bigger fish I have to fry. We have to figure out how to make our move to WV, on hold for four years, now, due to a badly damaged economy and corrupt, political shenanigans. We also have to re-work our budget, deal with the expenses we have without incurring any more and make sure we are covered, health-wise. One of my raised children is going through a terrible time and needs a strong shoulder on which to cry. Oh Bla Di, Oh Bla Da and all that.

And even that pales when I remember riding through the countryside of Texas, to the west of San Antonio, and seeing the devastation of drought and heat that is ruining the livelihood of millions. I watch the news when I feel especially brave and I have to do what little I can to aid in preventing our Nation from going completely down the tubes greased by greed and arrogance. I can write, I can vote and I can talk. Like I said..bigger fish to fry.

And as the song says, "You got your troubles, I got mine." My little girl and little boy were taken from me and I have accepted that. And maybe that tragedy will be a learning tool for someone else and a preventative from falling into the same trap. Instead, I am concentrating on what I do have, and I am one fortunate woman. I need to remind myself of that on a continuing basis.

Sometimes, you just have to boil it all down to the basics, distill your knowledge and go with the essence. Simple, but not easy...but then the simplest truths are never easy to take.


birthmothertalks said...

It's so true that we can't get back those years. They are gone forever.

Anonymous said...

A time to mourn and a time to celebrate what is, as well as looking to the future while not forgetting the past. Good post. Positive thoughts to you and all those who are important to you.

Unknown said...

Lovely post, Robin. I am sort of feeling similarly right now. Take care, my friend.

Anonymous said...

This is beautiful Robin. We can't get those years back. And sadly, most adoptees can't forgive enough to more forward with a good relationship. I don't blame them. I don't blame her. My daughter. It's just so sad that I have all this love to give and it just floats away. We only have so much time in this life. But as you said - Love the ones that want to be with you. Well maybe you didn't say it but I'm running with it. Anonymous Gem