I thought by now, I would be used to the holidays that roll by every year. The ones that come with all the happy #tbt photos of moms with big hair and big sedans. Every year, I convince myself during the month of April that if I just look hard enough, I will find a photo of mom and me that is happy, that reflects my place in the family. Every April turns into May and I have the same few pictures to remind me of who my mom was and who I was.
I wasn’t my mom’s natural child. I was adopted, officially at about the time this picture was taken. I didn’t turn into the child I was supposed to replace, the one that died when mom slipped on the ice, a few years before and very close to the baby’s would be birthdate. I didn’t look like my mom (or my dad, or my sister). I didn’t perform athletically, to her disappointment.
I seem dreadfully lost and sad in any picture of me. Tearful, mournful, no smiles. There are less than a dozen pictures, some with mom, some my sister, one with dad. None of us all together. There’s one picture from Easter, I was about 5. One from Christmas, I was about 8.
The internet this week is full of letters 3rd graders have written to describe their moms. There’s lists of things they are thankful their mothers do for them, warranting breakfast in bed. One in particular,sent me to the keyboard….a little person named Brooke has written a letter to mom: “Dear Mom, Thank yo soooooo much for being my mom. if I had a different Mom I would punch her in the face and go find you. love, Brooke”.
Brooke gets the “awwwwws” and the “hee hees” for valiantly imagining that being separated from mom would be the worst thing ever. Surely, no one would fault an adoptee who discovers as an adult she’s adopted, would they? Of course, no one would admonish her for feeling a compulsion to find family she is genetically connected to, would they? Who would make an adoptee feel bad for admitting there was a lack of connection and bonding? Who would do that?
I’m not going to do it to myself. I have great kids, they tell me all year, all the other 364 days that I am loved. I know this. I don’t hate the day, but I can’t help recognize there are pieces of me missing and I have to keep looking for them. I probably won’t find them on a plate of waffles on the second Sunday in May, but I’ll find them one day.