My family and I were estranged for many years. There is a long story behind the “why’s”, but it doesn’t seem to matter now. But for 13 long years, there was very little communication between us. No love lost, just a big mess of emotion and misunderstood events. We will leave it at that.
My mother and I started to talk again around 1999. My (now ex) husband and I had just bought a house and we were settling into our new home. It was difficult at first, I’m not going to sugar coat it. Those feelings ran deep on both sides. But we loved each other more than we could say. The bond between a mother and daughter is of steel. We are very much alike, my mother and I. I sometimes think that was the real issue between us during my teenage years. Well, that and I went totally crazy.
Stubborn to the core and mouthy to boot, we struggled. But there is that commonality between us that makes us close on a different level than some can understand. She loved me throughout all of my early insane teenage years and I loved to hate her. Once we passed that stage, we moved right into the “I’m-independent-and-I-don’t-need-you-stop-coddling-me” stage. That went over well, as you can imagine.
It took time to overcome some of those issues. I wanted to know why. I didn’t understand. She wanted to move past it. I couldn’t do that—I wanted answers. Little did I know how those answers would come…
Fast forward a couple of years. Cancer. I will never forget the day she came to my house and told me that she had breast cancer. My heart dropped. My stomach hurt. Regret set in something terrible.
“All of those years lost”, I kept thinking. I kept replaying the previous events over and over in my head and in my heart. Did I not try hard enough? Why couldn’t I just move forward? Why did I need answers so badly? Why did I let this happen?
I knew that I had tried. I tried in every way I knew how. In this moment, I couldn’t help but think of how I just got her back and now I may lose her. For weeks I struggled. She didn’t know of my struggle, I’m sure. I didn’t let on how much it affected me. I was the “strong” child that can handle what is thrown at her, right? No. I just internalize and figure out how to help the situation. This is sometimes good. I am the one that can jump in and do what needs to be done in the moment. I can be there. I can cut off the emotion and be the support team.
But at night I cried myself to sleep. I couldn’t lose her now. I just got her back.
“Dear God, if you are with me…please do not take her just yet,” I prayed. I had a lot of making up for lost time that I still needed to do.
I worried about my brother. My brother is probably the sweetest guy on the planet with the biggest heart. I love him like I love no other. We’ve also had our ups and downs, but he was my best friend since the day he was born. How was he coping? He doesn’t handle these things well and he handles them so differently than I. I couldn’t even bring myself to call him. I didn’t reach out to him. I am sorry for that to this day. I couldn’t bear to see him in that kind of pain—I was trying to process this myself and remain strong for my mom. If I were to be there for her, I couldn’t be there for him. I didn’t have the strength in me.
Yet I still thought of him each and every day. I still prayed that God would hold him up through this.
My mother and I really got close during this period. Sometimes (as awful as it is) it takes something like this for everyone’s priorities to get straight. We went to doctor’s appointments, we shopped for comfy clothes (during radiation), we reminisced. We laughed and we cried. My aunt called me one day when I was helping at my mom’s house. She thanked me for being there when she couldn’t be. I was happy in some sense, but angry in another. This was my mother. This is what I was supposed to do. I love my mother and I always will.
I was going through all sorts of craziness behind the scenes. I had a very emotionally, mentally, and physically abusive husband. No one knew. I hid it from everyone as did he. I couldn’t tell my mom in a time like this, no matter how much my heart ached to let her know that I was hurting in so many ways. I couldn’t put that on her. I just handled everything day by day. I ran my daycare in the mornings and I went to her house in the evenings. I did this for as long as he would allow.
After her radiation was complete and the cancer seemed to be gone, we continued to get closer. We still had our moments of sadness and frustration, yes. However, we WERE moving forward.
The day came when I knew that I was leaving my (ex) husband. I started to plan. I sorted the paperwork. I sorted the photographs and mementos. I was getting ready for my escape. I called my mom and told her about him. I told her what I was going through. I hated to admit that I’d failed. I didn’t want her to know my pain.
I moved in with them shortly after that while I divorced. My parents were very good to me. Through the depression and the heartache they were there. There were days when I didn’t get out of bed. There were weeks when I didn’t want to go anywhere. They were there. My mom pushed me forward. She didn’t understand completely, yet I knew that if I needed her, she was there to listen.
I ended up moving to South Carolina. I had a good friend there who was like family to me that offered to take me in for a while. I needed to find a job and wasn’t getting anywhere in Ohio. It was also good for me to get away from the memories that haunted me. It was hard for me to leave. I didn’t want to, but I knew I must. I’m sure it broke my parents’ hearts to see me go, but I knew it was something that I just had to do.
I was there for a year. I grew. I started to find myself again. I also met my Corey and fell in love. I moved to Georgia.
Oh, this is getting long. Let’s fast forward past our marriage and infertility…
We decided to adopt. Well, you know that story. Let’s move on.
The day Logan was born I’ve never heard so much happiness in my mother’s voice. It was as if nothing else mattered anymore. We had officially moved on and none of that even mattered anymore. She was so happy to have this baby in her life and to have me back—the whole me. Me without Larry and me without the baggage. The “me” that she knew deep down that I always was.
My parents came to stay with us two weeks after Logan’s birth. They stayed for two weeks to help care for him as I had to go back to work. With adoption, you don’t get paid maternity leave, and I could only afford one week off of work in addition to the one week they gave to me. We couldn’t send him to daycare until he was six weeks old. Bless them for helping us!
My mom and dad arrived around 9pm the night they came. The first words from their mouths were, “let me see that baby”.
“Meet Grandma and Grandpa, Logan” I said that day. Those words never sounded as sweet.
From the moment they laid eyes on him, he was theirs. He wasn’t “that adopted child”. He wasn’t any different to them. He was their grandson that they loved and adored. I’ve known these two my entire life and I’ve never seen them so happy. There was never a single moment of them feeling differently about him because he was adopted. Not one moment. They took him in and loved him as two grandparents should.
To this day, he is the absolute light of their lives. Not a day goes by that they don’t discuss Logan. We are ten hours away, yet I know this is true. When they talk to him on the phone, their eyes light up. I can hear it in their voices.
We see them often. We make trips there and they make trips here. We do what we can considering the space between us. Thank goodness for technology—it’s allowed us to really keep them up to date on his day-to-day musings and antics. And they LOVE it. Try as I may, I cannot get them to move here. Maybe someday? Haha! Oh, how I’d love for them to be able to see him more often.
My grandparents lived so far away from us as kids and I always wished that I could see them more. I know that eventually they will probably move here. I just hope it’s sooner than later—Logan absolutely adores them. Kids know love and they know who gives it to them. He knows their love even from miles away.
He is very close to them and talks about them often. Adoption has never been an issue with my parents and it never will be. As we move forward with our next adoption, they continue to be supportive. They are excited when we get good news, and saddened by the bad. And when that little one arrives to us and she becomes part of our family…she is also part of theirs. There is nothing like the love of a grandparent. I’m so, so blessed to have that for my son.
Better yet, he is blessed beyond measure to have them.
I now understand they “why’s” of what happened with my parents. They knew that I needed to find myself. They knew it was something that I had to do on my own. They didn’t do the things I expected because they do view me as strong. They don’t expect me to always be, but they know that I’ll be okay.
It makes me feel good that they don’t have to worry about me so much. It took so many years for me to get to this point. It hit me the day that I looked at my son and knew…
I’d love him unconditionally throughout it all. I’d let him fly when he needed to fly with the wings that I gave him, and I’d always have an open door when he wanted to come home.
And it all made sense.