The following excerpt is from The Goodbye Baby-A Diary about
Adoption (Published 2012). After vowing to live life with an “Attitude of Gratitude,” a year later finds me still a rough draft, a work-in-progress. However, I’m closer to what philosopher Eckhardt Tolle describes as “becoming who I really am.”
The younger me is teaching the older model. As I review the third decade of diaries, I face a few harsh realities: I never found the love of my life, or rather, I did, but never realized it at the time. I was not able to continue running into my senior years, much as I hoped to become one of the “ancient marathoners.” I’d not been exemplary as a parent, despite the fact that I aimed to do an excellent job. I’d often been unrealistic and impractical. Grudges at times had consumed me.
Forgiveness is hugely important in my recovery. I have compassion for the Elaine of the 1970s, trying to please everyone as a wife, to excel as a mother. I felt empathy for the Elaine of the 80s and 90s, living with an abusive job and an equally humiliating relationship, working so hard to do and be everything. I revisited the depression suffered during my writer/editor career at a national scientific laboratory. Despite the outward vestiges of success, at work I still felt like the outcast on the playground. My diaries revealed descriptions of higher-ranking women colleagues and their competitive dressing—silk suits, white stockings, and constant new outfits. There was no way I could match their expenditures, and it made me feel like I could never measure up. Those bosses, I realized, were, to my mind, grown up versions of the snooty high school cheerleaders, the Record Club girls whose families had more money than mine. Even as I recall my angst, I ask, “Did I waste my youth? Did I squander all those years? What else could I have done?” At least I survived. There’s still time to finally get it right.
Underlying everything else, I hope that my memoir serves as an adoptee’s guide to “How to Want What You Have.”