It’s strange how creating new memories can sometimes cause a sadness and a yearning for the memories that never had a chance to exist.
Does that even make any sense?
Maybe it’s only in my mind, or more likely, my heart, where the meaning is clear.
In our house, six o’clock is dinner time, Sunday through Thursday. Unless my children are working or committed to something school related, they are to be home for dinner. This is our family time. A tradition my mom always followed and I continue with my own family and hope my children will carry on as well.
And, in what can still feel like a dream that isn’t quite real yet, I now have all four of my children around the dinner table.
My three boys, joking casually with one another, showing no signs they spent so much of their life separated. My little girl who has had to become louder and more stubborn to get a word in around their constant chatter while always knowing she is easy prey to be picked on by any one of them at any time.
And for the most part, I know and savor the fact that our times around the dinner table are moments I will treasure forever.
But there are moments within the talking and laughing and joking when a strange sadness slips through me. It comes when old memories are brought into the conversation. Funny moments, vacations and holidays, old friends.
Family memories. The kind we should ALL share as one. But we don’t and the knowledge leaves a yearning inside me and brings up the one word that has haunted me for years . . .
Why did I ever allow anyone to try and tell me it would be better for my oldest son to form memories with another family? Why did I ever believe them when they told me being a good mom meant never giving him a chance to be a part of what his siblings shared in the years after he was born?
That isn’t a good mom. That’s hell. A terrible hell that took away from my son what was rightfully his. What should have never been denied him.
So why did it happen?
Why, when I was in the hospital, holding my son to my heart, knowing I never wanted to give him up, did I let his adoptive parent’s feelings decide for me. Why didn’t I stand up and shout at the top of my lungs that I wanted my baby. That I didn’t want to lose him. That he belonged with me and my family, not someone else’s.
Logically, I know the answers. In some part of my mind, I understand and can see what happened all those years ago. I can see the games they played, the tricks they used to be sure my son fed the need of the couple willing to write the check.
I know this, on a sensible, unemotional level.
But it doesn’t stop the question. Doesn’t keep me from asking why.
Because now the answers I search are the ones inside me I have yet to understand.
And every time I miss the old memories in the midst of creating new ones, the question comes flying with a force that hasn’t yet weakened. A force full of confusion and anger and grief.
I want to know, more than anything, who the hell I was when I was sixteen and pregnant with my oldest child. I desperately want to understand how I ever allowed anyone to have such a control over me to the point where I became not the girl I had been up until my pregnancy, but instead, somebody I still to this day don’t even know and have never been able to figure out.
Why did I go from being secure and trusting in my family - immediate and extended - in their support and love, to doubting them? Why did I believe that I would shame them, be terribly unfair to them if I asked for their help?
They never gave me reason to believe they wouldn’t be there for me no matter what the situation. I was a daughter, a granddaughter, a niece, with so many people who cared about me. Who had never deserted me or left me alone in my own problems.
I had my family there for me. I HAD THEM!!!!
My son and I needed only them and would have had them if I had not listened to the outside forces telling me otherwise. If I had not lost the confidence I’d carried with me through my childhood. The security of so many around me who are still there today with the same love and support.
Why in the hell didn’t I yell at the stupid adoption counselor and tell her she was so very wrong when she told me I had shamed my family? Why didn’t I get up and tell her what she could do with her suggestions that it was unfair and wrong to ask them for their help?
And why, of all things, on that last day in the hospital, when I wanted to walk out with my son and take him home, did I not think of my family and instead put a stranger’s feelings in front of theirs, in front of mine, in front of my son’s.
I don’t know if I will ever find the answers buried inside me. Or if I will ever understand who I was during that time in my life.
I may have to forever live with the “why” tumbling through my head, my heart, reminding me there will always be family memories he will not be a part of. Memories that, no matter how happy, will carry the dark shadow of his absence and the reminder of just how wrong his adoption was.
Wordless Wednesday — Walk This Way
1 day ago