My hands circles her tiny body, my face pressed against her back as she sits and turns the pages of the Llama Llama book I got from the library. Her voice falls up and down, the cadence of it lulling me into a sense of bliss. I am almost asleep when she abruptly flings my hand off her and rushes to get another book. This time she returns with Summer is Summer and pokes me in my face until I get up and read it to her. I crawl back under the cover while she then proceeds to read it by herself. I am not sure when I sleep but I wake up to the sounds of her sucking her thumb and singing quietly to herself. The connection I feel with her is wordless, visceral and truly soul binding.
“Mommy! Mommy!” the twins are in the back of the van as I drive them to school early for their string orchestra rehearsal. They chatter nonstop while I drive, pointing out friends homes and talking about Mother’s Day. I ask them if they can write an email to their birth mother and they reply enthusiastically. Ammu veers away, her voice filled with wonder as she reminiscences about the time her mom held her upside down and tickled her. Pattu fingers her hair absently as she remembers how she braided their hair. As if on cue, both of them say simultaneously “we have the best birth mom ever”. I agree and start to talk about our visit when they have already moved on to talking about violas and violins. I fall silent and watch the scenic wayside as we near their school.
I drop in unannounced with Laddu in the afternoon to see my Amma. She fusses over us despite being woken rudely by the sound of the calling bell. She sticks a biscotti in my hand and offers Laddu juice and everything she can lay her eyes on. We stay awhile. I am mostly browsing twitter but I am aware of the easy love that surrounds us. We are connected. My mom, I and my daughter in ways that are apparent.
In the run up to Mother’s Day I see the usual slew of posts, statuses and updates encouraging people to be mindful of those missing their mothers, those who are waiting to be mothers and those who have relinquished motherhood. I read, ruminate and share and move on. I turn to the ones whose voice is growing resonant in my ears of late. Those of the adult adoptees who are speaking up in record numbers. They talk about the connection I feel so easily with Laddu. They talk about the phantom pain that stems from losing one of the most primal connections necessary for every living being. They talk about the trauma, the sense of loss that pervades all of their lives even when they have been raised in loving, stable two-parent families.
I feel their loss deeply especially during the moments in my life when I experience that connection with my mom and my daughter. It makes me hug my twins tighter, to overcompensate in ways that will not fix the breach but attempt to cover it and let it heal. I am hoping that by heeding these new voices in my life, I can be the kind of mother who nurtures and heals and supports them as they navigate their adult lives in the aftermath of the trauma they have no way of verbalizing.
This Mother’s Day, I will be celebrating my Amma. I will also be celebrating the woman who is a mother to my children, Mommy B.