Friday, May 8, 2009

another mother


In quiet moments when I am holding Alice, comforting her as only a mother can, I think about my own mother. I think about the gifts she has given me--- the wisdom and strength she has passed on to me by her very existence. I think about the sacrifices she has made for me, the things she gave up and the things she embraced for my sake. I think about her face and how it lights up when she sees Alice. I think about my love for her and how it's changed and grown over the years. I think about our friendship and the things she's teaching me even now. Looking at Alice, I think about my mother. And then I think about another mother.

This other mother is a little bit taller than me. She has dark brown hair and dark brown eyes. A big smile. She likes to crochet and spend time with her little boy. She laughs and calls her husband buddy. She's athletic: doing aerobics and whatever else she can to stay in shape. She likes to decorate and paints furniture. She loves her family.

I don't know this woman, but I share her eyes and hair - I share her face and smile. I've never met this woman. I've never heard her voice. I've never felt her hand in mine. I've never spoken to her. And I won't ever do any of these things. This woman is my mother, my birth mother. She died in 1985, when her little boy was barely eight-years-old. I was eleven. A carefree eleven, without knowledge of this lady who gave me her eyes and hair and artistic sense.

I didn't grow up with this woman. She was my mother, but not my mom. I was raised by another mother, a mother who wasn't able to have children of her own. People ask me how it is, to be adopted - to have a family that isn't related to me by blood. I never know what to say. I never know how to tell them that you know what you know. That my family is born in my heart and in my hands. That I am bonded to my family through experience and time. That these people - my mom, my dad, my brothers, my sister---- we ate dinner together every night, we went on long car trips, we ate pizza and went to church and cut down Christmas trees and watched movies and swung on swing sets and took family pictures together. We fought and we cried and we loved each other in the best way we knew how. And we still do those things today. These people I bled with and cried for and danced with in the kitchen. These people are my family in the only way I've ever known.

But my heart is beating because of another mother. Another mother who made the best choice for me that she could. Another mother who cried for me and bled for me and wanted me to be happy. Another mother who was so very brave, so very selfless, I can't fathom it. I share her eyes and hair and hands. I see the world because of her. I can love Alice because of her.

I am blessed to have these two mothers: the mother of my heart, and the mother of my hands. Two women who have given themselves to me in a way that only a mother can. I hope I can have the same strength, the same wisdom, the same sense of sacrifice for my daughter. I think I can. I have wonderful teachers.

14 comments:

artemisia said...

Oh, Whimsy. You take my breath away.

Amy said...

You made me cry. Thank you for sharing.

Alice said...

that was beautiful. i wish some of the adopted girls i knew growing up had been able to read this 15 years ago..

Heidi W. said...

That was beautiful Whimsy. Thanks for sharing that. Alice is a lucky to have a mother like you.

wandering nana said...

I had not idea.... Such beautiful words. You made me cry as I think of a child who would love to be a mom but can't... so she is an "Auntie". What a special mother she was and what a wonderful mom you have now. No wonder you're the great person you are. I wish more young girls would think of their child and its future and do as your mother did. Happy Mothers day you sweet mom.

Eleanor Q. said...

Oh Whimsy. Sometimes you know how to say things just right. Touching post.

M said...

I love you, Friend.

And I love your moms because they gave us you...the world needs you. More than you can know.

Smooch that beautiful girl for me. And have a wonderful Mother's day.

serenity now said...

Beautifully stated. I wish you could have told your story to some of my adopted girl clients who were struggling to make peace with what it meant to them to be adopted. You are a wise woman, just like your mothers. Happy Mothers' Day, Whimsy.

stacie d said...

I was lucky enough to grow up with your mom as my 2nd mom...I know how very blessed you are to have her! (How blessed WE are!) And I will be forever grateful to the other mother for giving us YOU!

I love you! Happy Mother's Day!

Kathy said...

Thanks Amy! Very well said.

The Importance of being Allen said...

Hey Sister!
I love it. It made me cry. I love you and am glad to have you as my sister. Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day!

Kristen said...

Love this...

Little Ms Blogger said...

What a great post.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

This made me cry. My niece is adopted and her entrance into our family has taught me so much about what family is and the many ways we enter into it.

What a lovely piece. What a testament to mothers, of all kinds, everywhere.