I had one last drawer of files to go through to complete the project of sorting through every box, drawer, and folder in my entire home. One. Last. Drawer.
What I didn’t know was this last drawer of files was booby trapped. Today, I opened the files and stepped on the first land mine, a journal I kept during the time period after I relinquished my daughter for adoption in 1993.
Land mine number 2: the petition for divorce I filed exactly five years after my first daughter was born. Somehow, across the years, I have repressed *that* particular memory but when I saw the yellowed papers, neatly stamped with the date of filing on every page. . . .the shame of my failed marriage and being left a single mother (again!) so soon after relinquishing Ms. Feverfew came rushing back to me.
Land mine number 3: the restraining order issued against my bio dad when he got out of prison. Always such a joy to be reminded my first dad was a complete yokel. *le sigh*
Land mine number 4: a file of artwork and photos sent to me by my relinquished daughter’s adoptive mother. Dear God in heaven, Luke looks just like her. Along with the drawings and photos was a short, half-page letter from her mother, the last I would receive until I attempted to reestablish contact with them many years later.
I am feeling a bit shattered at the moment.
I have no idea why all of these things were in the same drawer of my filing cabinet, other than they are roughly from the same time period in my life. My divorce and subsequent wrangling over custody of Matthew, the last time I heard from Ms. Feverfew’s adoptive parents for over a decade, my first dad going to prison.
I shredded all the divorce and custody paperwork (THREE bags full!!!), kept the restraining order, and put the artwork, photos, and letter from Ms. Feverfew’s mother in the scrapbook I have for those kinds of items.
I haven’t looked at the journal since I wrote it 21 years ago. I read some of it tonight and then spent a good portion of my evening crying for the 20-year old childless mother who wrote the heartbreaking secrets of her soul in such an elegant cursive script. I might put it away and not look at it again for another 21 years. Maybe 42 years. Maybe never.