Saturday, May 14, 2011

Guest Blogger: My Four Mothers

This is by one of our contributors Megan. 
She sent me this before Mother's Day, but due to my being sick and my computer 
getting a nasty virus i have been unable to post it until now. 
I really think its a great post. I love hearing things from an adoptee's perspective!! 
Thank you Megan!  ~Jessa

My Four Mothers

This Sunday I am lucky to celebrate and honor four mothers.  Three of the mothers will receive flowers from me.  I will plant flowers in remembrance of one very special mother.

1.         My Mom  - aka, my adoptive mom.  Mom departed my world in 2004, and my Dad joined her just a few weeks ago on April 6, 2011.  I have a special memory of walking through the yard with her when I was 10 years old.  She was commenting on the various flowers and shrubs, worrying about whether they were getting enough water (Northern CA is very dry in the summer).  Hydrangeas, Shasta Daisies, Marigolds, Azaleas…How did she know all of those big words? I wondered.  She must be a genius.  We walked over to her roses and I chose a pretty pink one.   We brought it into the kitchen and Mom taught me how to cut off the thorns.  Then we drove to a nursing home and gave it to an old lady.  My mother visited her monthly, but this sweet old lady had dementia and never remembered the visits or my Mom.  “I always bring something for her to hold,” Mom told me later.  “That way she can remember the visit just a little bit longer.”  My mother gave me a valuable pearl that day, one I didn’t appreciate  until after she was gone.  She taught me that Charity Never Faileth.  No one is too insignificant to deserve our love.  I am crying as I am writing this.  This year I will plant Azaleas in my front yard on Mother’s Day in honor of my Mom and her lesson on charity.  Dear Mother all flowers remind me of you.  I still miss you a lot.
My mom and I meet for the first time in 1967
2.         My Mother-in-Law The Christmas break before I was to be married, I drove with my future husband Jim all the way from San Francisco to Detroit.  I was to meet his family for the first time.  On the trip he told me that his mother could look at baby’s photo and then cross-stitch the likeness onto a pillow case.  Wow! I thought.  She must be a genius.  When we met for the first time I tried to call her Peggy, but she shooed me.  “Just call me Mom,” she commanded, and I’ve called her Mom ever since. 

Soon after we were married I went with Jim’s siblings, spouses, niece, nephew and parents to Olan Mills for a family portrait.  After several group poses the photographer asked Mom, “Do you want a photo of just you and your kids?”

“They’re all my kids,” she replied, and declined the offer to segment the group into bio kids and in-laws. 

From Day One Mom has loved me like her own daughter, and I love her for it.  Many adoptees have moments when they feel like they don’t belong, like they have to be something they’re not in order to fit in.  But my mother-in-law’s immediate acceptance told me that I belonged in her family.  This year for Mother’s Day I sent her Canterbury Bells.  They are as delicate as a cross-stitched baby on a pillowcase.

3.         My Step-mother - 2004 was the longest year in my Dad’s life (adoptive Dad).  My mother died in January.  He spent most of 2004 crying, looking at Mom’s pictures, sitting around, and eating too often at McDonald’s.  In early 2005 he asked a wonderful woman on a date.  Her name is also Peggy, but no relation to my mother-in-law.  Soon Dad and Peggy were married, and we have adopted Peggy into our family.  My children and my siblings’ children called her “Grandma” right away.  She is the best Grandma in the world.  She’s taken my boys to Lagoon Amusement Park and my girls to the Mall.  She even took me to Nordstrom’s once!  I am grateful for all the love she has given – to my children, to me, and especially to my Dad.  During his 6-month illness she stayed by his side, attending to his personal needs.  At my Dad’s burial ceremony the American Legion presented the Veteran’s flag to Peggy and she cherishes it.

Loving the two Peggys – mother-in-law and step-mother – taught me that we can love more than one mother in more than one way.  This Mother’s Day I sent my stepmother a plant in a frog pot because she likes to decorate in frog knickknacks, and I couldn’t think of anything better to send.  I am hoping it will bring her cheer  as we grieve together for my father.

4.         My birthmother – This was the hardest mother for me to learn to love.  Growing up, I was taught that my natural mother wasn’t my mother at all.  To even question this implied I was ungrateful to my adoptive parents.  That’s how it was back then.  People thought that way.  From my childhood I had a longing to find my birthmother, but this urge felt like a betrayal.  Current research has shown that adoptees who search for birthparents do not wish to replace adoptive parents, and they do not distance themselves from adoptive parents after the reunion.  But my adoptive parents didn’t know that, and their knee-jerk reaction to searching was that it was a bad idea.  “She’s probably moved on with her life and doesn’t want to be reminded of you.”  I searched anyways, and finally connected with my birthmother Jane just after my 31st birthday in 1997. 

The honeymoon period of our reunion lasted several years, during which time we communicated often and visited each others’ homes (hers in Oregon and mine in Illinois).  I even went on vacations with her family.  But I never told her I loved her and I never hugged her.   I did not think of her as a mother.  She was like maybe an older friend, or a distant cousin.  Jane included me in her family gatherings, but while I participated in the fun, I denied I was family.  Of course I knew that she had given birth to me, that I looked like her, that I had many of her mannerisms, and that I had a similar personality.  But in the absence of love, things got stressful, and in 2008 we had some disagreements stopped communicating.  Three years of silence…silence…silence…

I consider myself a disciple of Christ.  The silence bothered me; I didn’t like leaving things angry between us.  That’s not what Jesus would do.  Still, I felt no obligation to give her anything; she was not my mother!  Well, earlier this year I reconnected with Jane.  I’d like to say it was for Christian reasons, but it wasn’t.  I learned she’d been blogging about me, and I wanted her to stop.  Communications have been tense, but I must admit that I prefer tense communication to silence.  And I’ve also started to re-think this family thing.  There’s the narrow definition of family, which includes parents and children.  My Mom and Dad acquired some of their children by adoption.  Then there’s a more expanded version of family, which includes in-laws, steps, and frequently close friends.  Then why not biological kin?  Why on earth not? 

A miraculous thing about Love is that you don’t have to take it away from one person to give it to someone else.  My adoptive Mom taught me that everyone is worthy of love and kindness.  I am going to show my birthmother some love this Mother’s Day.  I want to emphasize that showing sincere appreciation to my birthmom doesn’t mean that I love my adoptive parents any less.  They might be reading this blog from Heaven, so I hope they understand.  For the first time ever this year I sent Jane a Mother’s Day bouquet – ProPlants.com calls it the “Sunshine and Joy Garden.”  I chose it because it looks so bright and optimistic.  Will I call Jane this Sunday to wish her Happy Mother’s Day?  I’ve never done that before.  I don’t know yet.  I hope so.

1 comment:

birthMOM said...

fabulous! thanks megan! happy belated mothers day to YOU!

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