When I started writing for this blog and was trying to find my voice, my anxiety about my (minimal) relationship Laura bubbled up to the surface and spread into my first post. I was scared, and I felt guilty, and I was stuck between what I thought I could tolerate and what I knew was right for my daughter. I read that post and I feel an overwhelming sadness; there is so much fear and projection in those words, and not a insignificant amount of arrogance, covering up the terror.
In the three years after I wrote that, Sam and I worked hard to get to where Eve needed us to be, to answer her questions honestly and sit with her while she struggled with her loss and her emerging sense of identity as a girl with two moms. In order to support her as she reached out for Laura, I had to grab hard onto my own sense of authenticity. Eve needs to know that Laura is her real mother, and in order to cope with that I had to develop and cultivate my own deep internal sense that I was real, too. It's not Eve's job to make me feel OK about my role. That's my job. I'm the grownup.
Bit by bit I faced the things I thought I couldn't face, the words I didn't want to hear from Eve, and the calls and Emails from Laura. I tolerated the anxiety and the discomfort every time Laura pinged me to chat on Facebook, and then it got to be too much and I blocked her. I made Sam answer the phone when her number showed up. But I was committed to arranging for Eve to meet Laura , and so I kept putting one foot in front of the other, convinced that it would be an agonizing afternoon and equally convinced that I had to do it.
And then there was no agony. There was no anxiety. There was no discomfort. There was just Eve, and Laura, and the rest of the family, and their joy in being together. Since that day, Laura has called more often and started to text me. I've unblocked her on FB and we chat almost every day. Tonight we used Skype for the first time and Eve insisted I be part of the conversation (she also insisted on trying to get the dogs to sit in front of the webcam. I was more cooperative). No anxiety. No fear. Just certainty that this is the path we were meant to walk.
I've recently started following links to blogs about open adoptions (starting with Dawn, who I've been reading for over a year), and I found Mama C and her boys. Today Mama C explained myself to me. She was talking about her shifting relationship with her son's first mom
I have made up so many stories about her judgments of me. And that stems really from my judging her.As I said, in my comment, yes yes yes. So much judgment. So much fear of that judgment being turned around on me by Laura. I was feeling pretty good about where we are in this journey, and the way all our work has paid off...
and then I read Heather's piece. Beth, Heather's daughter's first mom, was planning a visit last weekend, and she ran into a lot of difficulty - some logistical and some emotional. I don't know if Beth ever got off the bus, and I am standing there with Heather holding those two little hands, worrying - and I am also myself, feeling incredibly, deeply grateful for Laura. Not just for the gift of Eve, but for her steadiness and willingness to wait for us and then to welcome us into her life, which must have seemed like a sudden change to her.
Yes, we worked hard, and yes, we are committed to giving Eve what she needs, but in the end we are mostly just astonishingly, amazingly lucky that Eve's first mother has the grace and emotional stamina to enter into this journey with us.
Last week Eve sent me an Email, the complete text of which read "I HAVE TWO AWESOME MOMS". Yes, Evie, you surely do.