I remember there was a time when blogging demanded more hours from a week, and for many of us- hours from a day. Though there are still those faithful webjournal crafters out there, clickety-clacking about their daily ins and outs, blogging simply isn’t what it used to be…
We’re a product of the drive-thru generation, so I guess it makes sense that something like blogging would evolve in such a similar fashion. These days most would rather scroll endlessly on Facebook (no thanks!) or double tap the hours away on Instagram rather than tediously following blogs that have to be read. Both FB & insta offer a variety of microblogging, but for every fifteen “likes” a post gets, it is doubtful that more than one person actually read the words. It’s kind of weird, isn’t it? Especially those of us first generation bloggers. But then again, as a first gen, I seem to have a pretty difficult time posting on my blog with any regularity at all. (my micro-blogging game on instagram is strong though, so at least there is that. To the three of you who actually read those daily jottings, I thank you.)
In what has been the strangest year I have lived thus far, (strangest, longest, deepest cutting, most surreal, etc…) I have felt the need to process it all in a written way, less. Is it maturity? Possibly. Truthfully it could be a little bit of detachment as well. We tell children that they can be anything they want to be, when they grow up, but as an adult reflecting on such a kernel of wisdom can convey different things all together. Motherhood, for example… Physically, I could not actually succeed in conceiving, carrying and birthing a living and healthy baby. Did that actually make me less worthy as a woman? Honestly, it may have. We tell ourselves it didn’t, but I guess it really comes down to which lens we look through. Did it make me less worthy as a wife? Absolutely it did. Beyond the technical terms of motherhood, I have loved children who were not my own. I bought in to the lines we are fed about children just needing love. I loved, I lost, and as pieces of me drifted off in hot winds of heartache, time and again, I chose to love knowing that it would continue to lead to loss… Did that make me a mother? No. No it did not.
I had one hell of a time pretending though, and even believing for a time.
This year has been a lot like that, the fine tuning of perceptions and cross referencing them against forty years of beliefs, then challenging what is real, what was fed/programmed and what has changed. The things that I am: a woman, a survivor, an empath, a believer, a loyal friend, an artist, a writer, a creative, a compassionate individual who loves deeply, forgettable, easy to leave.. The things that I am not: a daughter, a mother, a successful (by the world’s standards) writer…
I have begun to see that I spent my entire life pursuing the first two, and dreaming of the third, to such a point that I missed so much within the things that truly make me. I agonized over biological parents who did not want me, fragmenting more and more as people came in and out of my life, those who found it so easy to walk away. Somehow, with the bleeding hospital moments of my first miscarriage, I transferred every ounce of that life-ache into achieving motherhood. If the will I had harnessed could have actually kept me pregnant, I would have had ten litters of babies, but it didn’t. It did nothing but accelerate my need to become a mother. In case any of this sounds familiar, let me just say one thing: No matter how much you love a child, and no matter how much you fight to love them in the ways that you were not loved, you cannot will such things to be their truth. It doesn’t matter how much we love someone, if they neither believe nor are able to accept that love, it is pretty powerless. I loved with the force of a million mighty horses, I advocated, I remained faithful to that decision, even when it cost me more deeply than anything I had known before. My son once told me that I was like a mom to him, and it stung. Though I’ve heard him say “my mom” about me, he’s never called me anything but my given name. For so long both things reflected failure, and screamed to echo that life lie that I could never really be enough. Finally I am seeing, I was like a mom to him. He actually hadn’t known the experience of a “real” mom in any healthy capacity, and maybe in ways I was the closest he’d gotten. It is a sad truth, and in my heart he will forever be my son because I choose it- because I will it, but in truth his perception is more reality based than mine. Maybe I am like a mom, to him. And that’s ok… Our society loves to quip affirming quotes and then deem them fact. Things like “there is nothing more powerful than a mother’s love”, and though the sentiment is pretty lovely, it feels super shitty to those of us whose mothers simply didn’t love them. Sweet words, and if you’re own motherhood elements find such things relatable than I am genuinely happy for you. I am. But those things are not one-size-fits-all and when we are expecting adoptive moms, foster moms and children of those situations to identify within them too, we just end up with a lot of people feeling like they just can’t fit in.
I guess my point is- for so long I wanted to be a mom. Just like I had longed to be a daughter, longed to be chosen, valued, and loved. They are all very different desires stemming from the same wound within. Sometimes, in moments, I have been bits and pieces of each of those things, but they were never full journeys I would travel. I chose to love children, without condition, and I succeeded. I chose to see value in these amazingly resilient and worthy individuals even when they were neither willing to truly see it in themselves, or believe I did. There are many who will attest to the fact that no one ever loved, fought harder for them them or believed in them more than I did, but the end result is still the same.
This year I have buried an uncle was like a dad to me, when I was small. I have stood among strangers with whom I share blood, to lay to rest my father. I have been drowning in a nightmare situation with my birth mother, that it feels like will never end. This year two of the three reasons I ever even wore the hat of motherhood decided I wasn’t worthy of that role. The wearing down, which led to that point, had thinned my heart to such a threadbare state that it almost didn’t even matter anymore. In the end I saw that it had never mattered what I had or hadn’t done for them, behind the scenes or with them in my embrace, their journeys were theirs and they are not my own.
There is this dangerous lie the adoptive world feeds achingly searching people, this lore of that non-biological child actually being meant for you. We eat it up, because we ache for “meant to be”. We ache for belonging, and we identify within that sweet little soul, that they do too. With every swig of that deceit we swallow, however well-meaning that it is, we only hurt everyone involved a little more. While I felt that I was meant to be a mother for so painfully long, obviously I wasn’t. We have to reconcile ourselves to being honest.
“Meant to be” is only ever really that we are meant to love. To love in heart, to love in action, to be love. There are no guarantees that this will work, that it will pay off, or that we will “win” and the reason for this is that all of those results are outcomes for games, manipulations and strategies we play, they are not the end results of a love.
I love my kids. I will always love them, and in my heart they will always be my kids, because for a such a time as that, it truly felt like they were. Those were some of the most beautiful moments, held within ten years that I would never trade for anything. They weren’t perfect, because nothing real is. Of the four decades I have walked this planet, that one was the best I will ever know. The biggest part of loving them, or anyone really, is giving the other person the option to stay or to let go and walk away. Thats the part of love that we fight so hard not to have happen, but this year I’m learning that I have always been okay in a loved one’s rear view mirror.
We can’t regret the loving. Love requires us to be open and raw, and with such vulnerabilities comes hurt. We can’t really regret the losing either, because loving someone enough to respect their good bye is the most selfless thing we can give them. I am told that motherhood is the most selfless role there is, so maybe in some ways I truly was a mom, just not in any of the ways I had hoped for.
It all sounds so sad, in print, doesn’t it? Growth and realizations can be sad sometimes. Rest assured, I am not sad. A bit pensive at times, and there are moments when I can be easily distracted by the place I had always hoped the motherhood/grandmother journey would take me. Even so, many things have come into focus this year, so many things that I felt (or I believed) were so different than they truly were. On the other side of these once unfathomably feared truths, there is goodness. In my end, whenever that is, if I am asked if I used this life to actively love, I can say honestly that I did. I still do. I will until I breathe no more. This is who I am, and I am grateful for that. I am proud of that.
That being said, if the rest of 2019 wanted to chill the F*** out, I wouldn’t complain.