Like a Bird in the Sky: Happy 43rd, Big Sis

Whenever I hear Nina’s earthy, electrifying voice, I think of my older sister, Carolyn June.  They shared the same fiery passion for justice and equality; both of them made people feel on a deep level, whether they wanted to or not.

Today is Carolyn’s birthday. Well, it would have been her birthday if she hadn’t passed away in 1989. I’ve written a bit about it on my other, much neglected, blog: http://www.sostinkinhappy.com/2011/08/old-endings-and-new-beginnings.html and  http://www.sostinkinhappy.com/2011/08/old-endings-and-new-beginnings-part-ii.html

Her passing split my world wide open with grief and marked the beginning of the end for many things in my life. The shock and grief of her passing is forever bound with the disintegration of my family of origin and the loss of my own daughter to adoption three and a half years later.

Those were difficult years.

So today, in honor of my big sister’s would-have-been birthday, I will cue up my Nina Simone playlist, crank it up as loud as possible, and dance and sway with abandon as I celebrate my sister’s short sojourn here on earth.

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I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free ~ Nina Simone

I wish I knew how
It would feel to be free
I wish I could break
All the chains holding me
I wish I could say
All the things that I should say
Say ’em loud say ’em clear
For the whole round world to hear
I wish I could share
All the love that’s in my heart
Remove all the bars
That keep us apart
I wish you could know
What it means to be me
Then you’d see and agree
That every man should be free

I wish I could give
All I’m longin’ to give
I wish I could live
Like I’m longin’ to live
I wish I could do
All the things that I can do
And though I’m way over due
I’d be starting a new

Well I wish I could be
Like a bird in the sky
How sweet it would be
If I found I could fly
Oh I’d soar to the sun
And look down at the sea
Than I’d sing cos I know – yea
Then I’d sing cos I know – yea
Then I’d sing cos I know
I’d know how it feels
Oh I’d know how it feels to be free
Yea Yea! Oh, I know how it feels
Yes I know
Oh, I know
How it feels
How it feels
To be free

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Two and a Half Minutes

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

The Professor was supposed to go to summer camp this morning. I didn’t take him and he was happy to stay home (he is quite the homebody, kind of like his dad). I just can’t have him away from me today. This is atypical behavior for me, but today…today I will honor the need to keep him close to me.

Right now he is in the entertainment room watching “Phineas and Ferb.” Poppy is happily placing Mickey Mouse stickers around my office. I imagine Captain Knuckle is still in bed, but I don’t know for certain, as he is in Utah with his dad.

Me? I am sitting here, trying to hold it together, fighting against the urge to pull the shades tight, crawl back into bed and bury my head under the pillows for the rest of the day. If I can just make it through today, I can wake up tomorrow and somehow manage for another year.

I had the chance to chat for a few minutes with my husband this morning, too. (He’s away right now, as always). Here’s a snippet of our conversation:

[6/18/12 9:00:41 AM] JR: Hello gorgeous!
[6/18/12 9:00:45 AM] Me: Today is Ms. Feverfew’s birthday.
[6/18/12 9:01:25 AM] JR: sad day for you?
[6/18/12 9:01:27 AM] Me: Trying really hard not to spend it all in bed. Good thing I have these other kids to take care of, otherwise, I would.
[6/18/12 9:01:43 AM] Me: I don’t know if sad is the right word.
[6/18/12 9:01:45 AM] Me: Or the only word.
[6/18/12 9:01:51 AM] Me: I mean, I am glad she was born.
[6/18/12 9:01:57 AM] JR: of course.
[6/18/12 9:01:59 AM] Me: It’s just hard to be spending another birthday without her.
[6/18/12 9:02:06 AM] JR: yeah, I know what you mean.
[6/18/12 9:02:13 AM] Me: And realizing I will most likely never get to spend one with her.
[6/18/12 9:02:24 AM] Me: And accepting the fact I can never get back the ones I have missed.
[6/18/12 9:02:31 AM] Me: Adoption, the gift that keeps giving.
[6/18/12 9:02:45 AM] JR: Adoption, the gift that keeps on taking
[6/18/12 9:02:54 AM] JR: or,
[6/18/12 9:03:03 AM] JR: Adoption, the gift that you keep on giving.

In just two and a half minutes, we summed up what has ailed me for nearly the last two decades.

Added on top of all of the birthday sadness is the realization that the TRUTH about how adoption would affect you and me was purposefully withheld from me when I was trying to make a decision about this…it’s hard to admit I was taken advantage of (not by your parents, THANKFULLY, but by church leaders and the adoption industry). It’s hard to admit I was duped. That I was coerced. That I could not have given informed consent because…well, because I wasn’t informed.

It would be so easy to spend the day crying. So very, very, VERY easy, but I am going to choose faith today, as much as possible. So today, I chose to believe God is bigger than all of this. Today, I choose to believe God’s power to heal is more powerful and permanent than the lies I was told. Today, I chose that perfect brightness of hope, a hope which shines through even the deepest darkness.

Because things are pretty dark right now.

Much love,

M.

And What is So Rare as a Day in June?

And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days. ~ James Russell Lowell

I woke this morning before 5:00 a.m. and in the stillness of the morning while listening to my husband’s deep and easy breathing, I let my thoughts wander back to the day you were born.  I don’t indulge in this kind of activity very often because it quickly becomes overwhelming but this morning, I tried to focus on the goodness of the day I labored you into being. And oh, there was so much goodness the day that you came into this world. It was full of sunshine and roses and warm summer breezes, literally.

I have recently been reading other first moms’ blogs where they proudly declare their status as a “birthmother,” where they publicly state they really never wanted their child in the first place and never wanted to be a mother (ahem, Ask a Birthmother over on Facebook – yes, I am talking about you). They are fawned over by adoption professionals and adoptive parents as being heroic and choosing the better part for not being “selfish” in wanting to parent their own child.

These blogs leave me feeling stale and worn out and I am left wondering…what about their child? Do they ever stop and think for one moment how those words will affect their child? Eventually, that tiny baby will grow up into an intelligent and sentient adult with the ability to read, in their mother’s own words, how they were casually discarded because she didn’t want the burden of being a parent. How will they face them then?

My heart breaks for the children of those “heroic” women. Perhaps it is better for them to be raised by strangers than by a woman who cares so little for them. I hate saying that, but having been raised by one parent who detested the mere sight of me, who treated me like vermin and excrement, I have to admit – it might have been better if I had been raised by someone else.

But not my mother. For all her faults and weaknesses, I know she loved me beyond all reason.

Just as I love you.

I do not understand that breed of first mothers. I can’t wrap my head around their casual attitudes that allows them to discard their children so easily, as much as I try. Perhaps it is because I have read so many adoptee’s first-hand accounts of what it is like to be adopted and the monumental struggles they face as they try to carve out their identities. Even if they had fabulous adoptive parents and practically perfect childhoods. Perhaps it is because I have wept so many tears for courageous women who have fought valiantly to build bridges with their first mothers, only to be told, “I never wanted you in the first place.” What a dagger to the soul.

So today, on your 19th birthday, I want to make it perfectly clear: You, my darling daughter, were and still are a very much cherished and wanted individual.

And for you, a birthday poem of sorts. It’s really a love sonnet, but perhaps when you are a new mother yourself, you will come to understand  nuanced meanings of what it means to “love straightforwardly, without complexities or pride.”

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms,
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers.
Thanks to your love a certain fragrance,
risen darkly from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride,
so I love you because I know no other way than this:
where “I” does not exist, nor “you,”
So close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
So close that your eyes close and I fall asleep.

-Pablo Neruda

I hope that today is full of sunshine and roses and warm summer breezes, just like it was on that rare day in June when you were born.

 

Does He Do This on Purpose?

For the past couple of years, my ex-husband has scheduled Captain Knuckle’s summertime visitation to begin on…(drumroll please)…your birthday. So for the past three or four years, I get to “celebrate” your birthday by putting my oldest son on a plane. He then jets across the country to spend several months with people that hate me and honestly wish I would just die so they could have him without any interference from me.

This year is no different.

Your birthday is hard on me. Having to send Captain Knuckle off on that very day makes it even more difficult. And sometimes I wonder, does he schedule the flights on that day on purpose? I don’t think he is clever or cruel enough on his own to come up with such a plan but I know his wife is capable of this kind of injury to another woman. She knows about my natural mother status and I think she hates me even all the more for it.  And let’s face it – in her reality, she is an adoptive mother of two girls and she feels she deserves to adopt Captain Knuckle, too. They passed a home study, DAMMIT, and I haven’t!!! They are state approved  parents and I am not!!! Those certificates prove she is a better person than I am, DAMMIT!!! She deserves Captain Knuckle, she deserves, she deserves

*sigh*

Whether scheduling his flight to coincide with your birthday (again) was intentional or not, it still feels like twisting the knife even more and shoving it in a bit deeper.

Much love,

M.

P.S. So I am wondering if you want me to send you a birthday message on Facebook or not? And when do I send it? Before your birthday, on your birthday, after your birthday? Not at all? Ugh. Where is the stupid manual on how to manage a non-reunion with the child you gave away because you didn’t think you were a good enough person even though in reality you were (still are) an amazing mother?