Most days like today, I clear up the kitchen, run a round of laundry, attend to chores and with one satisfying sweep through the house, I purposefully walk towards the study knowing I have earned my space and time.
I start with email, quickly scan my FB feed and settle down on Twitter. I get caught up, mark threads to read, scan for news and then head to Netflix. Some days, there are things that catch my eye. Things I store at the back of my head because it begs additional thought. Sometimes it takes a day or more for the words to form. Sometimes there is no resolution or a finite ending, just an open-ended monologue on what something means to me at that moment, for that day, for the now.
This tweet caught my eye.
1. Adoptive parents (AP’s) don’t want their child to be defined by being adopted.
2. AP’s (some/many) want to celebrate each year the day the child joined the family calling it “Gotcha Day” or other term.
3. Isn’t the 2nd a direct contradiction of the 1st? #adoption
— SB (@BCBlais) January 17, 2018
I replied, went about my day and came back to it. See, end of this month marks eight years since my daughters came to me. Eight years of mothering, eight years of absolutely satisfying that need to mother. Under most circumstances, celebrations would have been in order, I might even have celebrated the first anniversary of that date. As the years passed and my understanding of what this means to my children and their family grew, I marked it mostly in mind. I would bring it up in conversation with my children. Sometimes we would talk about that day. Sometimes we would let silence say what words can’t.
In the initial years, the fact that the date coincided with that of my niece’s birthday was of special import to me. In the years preceding my choosing to adopt, I would often mull over fate. I would wonder why becoming a mother was difficult. I wondered if there was an omniscient reason for everything that was happening. I kept looking for meaning in the mundane things. In probing what went wrong with my body, I kept attributing that perhaps all this was a way for the inevitable to happen. The search for meaning in why things happened defined my life for a long time.
The idea of fate bringing people together is romantic. That there is an ulterior meaning to why things happen gives people the momentum to keep on keeping on. Yet, I could find no meaning as to why my becoming a mother had to stem from such sadness. There was no possible way to divorce the sadness from tainting my happiness. Then, I think I grew up.
These days, I relive as much as I can of the day. I find some details blurring. I find the sadness and the joy is muted. I occasionally scan through pictures taken on the day noting the wide smiles and the exhaustion that is apparent on our faces. I notice the side players, the social worker, her children, her parents. All of the people whose lives intersected with mine for a brief period to leave behind monumental impacts.
Most of all I think of the woman who alongside me remembers the end of the month with pain, with grief, with helplessness. I think of the ways her life could have gone but did not. I then know that there is no karma, no destiny that wrought about these changes. Unromantic as it sounds, it just so happened that she was hurting and I was hurting and we happened to meet. Our children will have to live with it, the profoundness of what happened and grapple with it for the rest of their lives.