I don’t always write about my daughter’s adoption because I don’t always think about it. And then there are times where I hit someone with the truth of everything that happened and one of only one thing happens: they are shocked. I don’t think it’s a pity shock, it’s more like a: you are the strongest person I will ever meet shock.
And then I say how my daughter contacted me a year ago and how I still haven’t met her and how it’s all my fault. Mainly because I’m not perfect and how I want to be. How could I meet her, I say, when the accomplishments do not equal having given her up? That was the point, right? Place her with an adoptive family so I could accomplish. Succeed. Be everything that incredibly teen single mothers are not.
I guess, in this instance, perfection looks a lot like Beaver Cleaver: a picket fence, a cushy career, a reputable bank account and credit score.
Things, that even if I had, wouldn’t matter to me because they do not make you accountable, a good person, or even a person worth knowing. They certainly do not make you a mother that you would like to meet. Or love. They are things and I abhor things used as armor. You see me, you get me. I am exactly, as I was reminded today, who I say I am: unapologetic and strong, authentic and real, genuine and good.
But in the scheme of meeting a soon-to-be 16-year-old that I gave birth to, I don’t give a damn. Who I am isn’t enough. Even if I think me is wonderful, me having given over a child was not wonderful. In my mind, there has to be tangible rewards; a package wrapped in a white box – maybe with a lavender bow – that I can deliver and say: this is what I did while you didn’t know me.
Even though you always knew me.
It’s absurd. Teen girls do not think about fences and credit scores. They think about why they wear glasses or have green eyes and why the nose goes this way and why this may be as tall as it gets. She doesn’t think about these things every day, but maybe it’s there below the surface. I have the ability to look at pictures from almost a 100 years ago and see that everyone from my father’s side of the family wore glasses. I can see tangible proof of my tree.
I look in the mirror and I like me. I even like the 15-year-old me. She made a mistake and then made all the right choices after that. But, in my mind, it gets complicated when that mirror is my daughter.
I want to be exactly what she wants and expects while knowing I can never be any of it except a few traits and mannerisms. But how privileged of me to write. I know exactly where mine come from and which ones I hope, like the chin waddle the size of a thigh, never develop.
As a friend said, and it made all the difference, own me. Own me to her. Answer the questions and stop making it complicated. It’s not. Stop overthinking this.