For most of my life I pretended to be the “happy and grateful adoptee” that people wanted me to be. The tormented self-interpretation of my life abated when I published The Goodbye Baby-A Diary about Adoption. For two years, I’ve blogged about life’s challenges as viewed through “adoption colored glasses.” I’d like to announce great progress, but to be honest, the more things change, the more they stay the same. And yet, there’s a glimmer of hope…
Now that I have sons and grandchildren, relatives who are blood-connected, I look at “family” a little differently. My son, daughter-in-law and their two children recently visited me from afar, and I became re-acquainted with the children, now two and five.
The visit was rewarding, especially my granddaughter’s triumphant ski lesson, during which she rode the beginner’s chair for the first time. It was especially meaningful because her dad, my son, had learned to ski on the very same slopes and her grandmother—yours truly—taught children to ski there in the 1990s. It was a magical time. All too soon, however, the foursome packed up and left.
True to form, Edgar (the name I’ve given my nemesis), came along to taint things. Even something as good and positive as a family visit, left me with a feeling of deprivation. Enveloped in an “after the dance is over” feeling, I hated the quiet, the emptiness, the alone-ness. Ironically, my feeling of loss threatened to obliterate the joy of the family reunion.
In the past, I might not have been able to transcend the let-down. Because of the adoption community I’ve met online, it is easier to put everything in perspective. Families, be they biologically connected or created in other ways, are life’s ultimate challenge. Much of what the grandchildren conveyed was their optimism and excitement about life. After dismissing “Edgar,” I was able to focus on the elixir of youth that those little ones embody. I was reminded of the following lines from Dr. Seuss’s childhood classic Oh the Places You’ll Go:
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
Dr. Seuss had it right. Using our brains, our feet, and our “steerage” capabilities, WE are the ones who’ll decide where to go!