Much later I realized how difficult it must have been for Linda to see all those pictures
to meet her real Grandma and Grandpa but not as their granddaughter. I began to make plans the following year for a surprise dinner party in Los Angeles for Linda’s birthday. I had a former student who was living out there make a reservation at Barrymore’s Restaurant and also get in touch with Linda’s boyfriend, soon to be husband, Joe. I contacted my son who was then living in the Bay area. By then he knew about Linda. I wanted him to come for the party. Linda knew I was coming to LA for my Ojai group but she didn’t know I was coming in earlier for her birthday…the first time since her birth that we would be together on that date.
I wish I could say that my daughter and son were now very connected with Linda, but they aren’t. There have been some attempts but I have come to realize you can’t force things like that. I did decide to tell my Mom before I went out for the birthday party. It was one of the hardest things I had to do. My Mom’s comment was “Oh Pat. I can’t tell Dad this. He could have a heart attack. He wouldn’t understand. I don’t understand.” She later wrote me a letter and I told her the issue was closed. Silly me. My Mom was such a great lady. Someone who always adored the many grandchildren and later great grandchildren. In my mind I could see her sending a beautiful card and letter for Linda’s birthday. I later realized that it wasn’t fair to expect anyone to go with the news rapidly. After all, how long had it taken me to deal with this. But, I am glad I did tell my Mother. Now many members of my family and friends know about Linda. They always want to know if we’re close. And we are in so many ways. She had two brothers and a sister, all adopted. They and her extended family are very close. When she married her husband I told her early in the planning stages that while I would love to be there, I felt it would be inappropriate. She was grateful that I made this decision. But, on the day of her wedding, both she and I talked later about wishing we were there together. I happened to be in the LA area when her daughter was born and held her as my new grandchild. Her adoptive parents have been wonderful. I always received a note in a Christmas card each year. They are up in age with health issues now. One of Linda’s brothers have passed on. While she isn’t closely connected to my extended family, she feels free to share with me the ups and downs of hers. Over the years there are times when I feel we haven’t been in touch. My mind always jumps to “Well for heaven’s sake; you gave her up what do you expect?” Linda hates that. She is just a very busy and successful professional woman and Mom. (To be continued. Tomorrow: “Thinking Back”)