What I read over the holiday weekend. (Don’t let the lame title fool you.)

Warning: Punctuation intentionally lacking so I can get my words out faster. Thanks for understanding.

My favorite part of the long weekend, besides extra hours with my family, was being able to read long, sometimes hard, hours. Heading into the weekend I was started by reading Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, which to be honest, was weird. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into since I’d not read the jacket cover. After that, I downloaded my first ever Kindle book, (I’m die a hard Barnes and Noble Nook or Nook app reading gal.” However, the book Providence for a First Mom by Caroline Kippenbrock Dixon is digitally available on Kindle right now. This is the book I found parts of  really difficult to read. I’ll get back to that. Hang in with me. Lastly, I read a novel by Nevada Barr that was graphic at times but I love her character Anna Pigeon. I’m not emotionally attached to anyone in Neil or Nevada’s books.

I am attached to Caroline’s characters, and can identify with them…did I mention I am one? Caroline Kippenbrock Dixon is MY first mom. The baby she reliquinshed? Me. The teenager she reunited with? Me. (I struggle to want to be transparent and forthcoming about how I feel in response to her book, but I don’t want to spoil the story or look like I’m trying to steal any of her spotlight.} 

My feelings are many and strong in response to her book and her story. It is HER story, her perspective and memories and sacrifice. Anyone can see that some of our memories overlap. Let me point out that the moment where she relinquished me, defined me and the course of my entire life. Yes, the entire one. I mourned her as a wee infant. Just because I was adopted and found a new family didn’t mean I started completely over. I know I missed her. Her smell. Her voice. Her heartbeat. (If this concept is new to you, please research the primal wound.) Despite the years of loss and longing, I understand and appreciate why I was relinquished and that she chose life for me. I have known as long as I can remember that I was adopted. My juvenile misunderstanding that I was given away has itself given way to an adult’s empathy and logic. Now at 35 I have healed most of the hurt and brokenness that I experienced as an adopted child without my first mom in my life. 

This may seem odd or ungrateful but the part of our relationship that I value is when she chose to be reunited with me when I was 18. I have learned amazing things and found peace and healing that I believe I would still be looking for if she remained a stranger. She asked me one time, “Have you learned anything from what I went through?” Yes. Yes, I have. I have learned to take a chance on a virtual stranger because they are your child and that is what a mother’s love does. It’s breadth and depth shows no boundaries. When your child returns to you with a different accent, with a different culture with habits and values that at times contradict your own, when they are rude and disrespectful and yet you say c’mon, you are mine and I claim you…that is what I have learned.  I have learned that a mother doesn’t pick favorites among her children, whoever is being the butt and is walking on her sister’s shoes, even if she is the long lost and just returned daughter, you correct bad behavior and hold people accountable. Love is sharing the people around you with each other. In our case that meant nurturing a relationship between her husband and myself so that we both knew he had room to be my Dad, even thought we are not biologically related. She shared with me her beliefs and faith and spiritual practices and how to show people love. Love can be a letter or card in the mail with a recipe hastily written out, or the perfect matching t-shirt, or a plane ticket. Hugs are always love.

This last one was hard for me to learn. I was a touch-me-not for most of my life. I can’t imagine the heartbreak at having to watch me learn to let her squish me, or hold my hand or stroke my hair. To pile up in her four poster bed in pjs for the first time is a huge, emotional memory for me like a wedding day or a birth is. At times, now that I’ve learned to crave this close physical connection from her, I feel like my heart is breaking for each day that we spend apart. However, we are each made to bloom where we are planted and while we wait to be in the same dirt, I can be grateful that I am blessed to know her to miss her.

I could go on and on and on, alas I downloaded a book today and better given my heart a break from writing and do a little light reading. Love your people while you have them. Life is always shorter than we want it to be.

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