Friday, February 15, 2008

Settling an Old Score?

A heartfelt thanks to those who left such amazingly understanding and supportive comments to my last post about my mixed feelings toward my first mother's placement in a nursing home. And her wish to talk with me. Not that we haven't talked before. And I don't think she has anything special she'd like to say. But who knows.

Every day I vow to call her.

And then I don't.

I'm just not ready. Not yet. If I do call in the mood I'm in, I'd call out of guilt. I want to call because I want to. I'm tired of having guilt as the main driver behind all parental encounters. (Honestly, I have no idea of what it's like to actually want to be around one's parents, because I've always dreaded any sort of contact with my adoptive parents. And like my aparents, after I've spoken with my mother, I nearly always feel stirred up and diminished because she's more than a little self-centered, too.)

There's something else that bothers me. Maybe it's something that should give me comfort. But it doesn't.

My non-identifying info. says that it took my then 37-year old mother several weeks to sign the relinquishment papers because she felt terribly guilty about her decision, against family pressure to keep me. That's what the papers said. That my mother was consumed with guilt.

I think that is at the root of what's bothering me. What has bothered me. That she knew giving me away was wrong, but she was determined to do it anyway because she needed to. For herself. Which means, putting it baldly, that the both of us can't blame anyone else. We do not have the comfort of pinning this decision on coercive practices, unsupportive grandparents or other family members or an abusive husband. (Maybe we could just blame the times?) My mother cited her sickly teenager as one reason. That it wouldn't be fair to my half-sib or me to bring me into that situation. But my half-sib was living with an aunt and not my mother. My mother would marry, up, less than two years after placing me for adoption.

During those two weeks of feeling guilty, my mother did not question where I was during this time. Bizarrely, the non-id says this, too. Where was I? I do know that at one point I spent a month in a foster care.

So what's the point of fretting over this now? After all these years? What possible difference could it make to me in middle age? Because I see babies all the time, being toted around like precious bundles of gold, being fussed over by the mothers. And I know my mother had no idea where I was or who was caring for me and didn't inquire. Maybe she thought she had no right to know.

But I'm now beginning to suspect I'm waiting for several symbolic weeks to pass before I call my mother. That this tidbit of information has stuck in my head and heart and now I'm making her wait for me, in some sort of (before unconscious) tit for tat.

As Elizabeth oh so wisely wrote, adoption is a mindfuck.

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14 Comments:

Blogger Mary said...

Maybe for once its because YOU have control over things?

5:52 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

Umph, Mary! Sometimes, the obvious totally escapes me and a reader comes along and presto, whammo...I've got something entirely new and interesting to think about. Ya know, for the first time in my life I AM exercising control and making choices where I've had none before. And maybe this takes some getting used to. THANK YOU! I am much cheered by this idea!

12:41 PM  
Blogger Being Me said...

Yeah! I thinks it's very important to have that experience of MAKING CHOICES.

FYI-- I had to 'wait' 2 weeks before signing TPR papers when I relinquished, also in CA. I thought it was a law at the time.

Mindfuck is right.

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