Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Confirmation

After months of exhaustion, vomiting, nausea, and complete inconsolable grumpiness, I went to a doctor. Sure I have noticed that the zipper on my jeans was a little harder to manage, the legs were still loose. Quickly i was approaching the lying on the bed and zip with the end of a wire hanger trick. I tolerated five months of discomfort before having the cause of my physical reality medically confirmed. the astonishing truth is that I knew the moment of conception--the tingle of a life bearing merge of two lives into an irreversible truth: A baby, a little growing passenger.

When the doctor put the cool jelly on my tummy and then the device that looked like a bar code scanner, the room filled with a rapid fire pound of a little beating heart.

"Damn" I am pretty sure I said that out loud. The doctor put his hand on my shoulder and sighed out all the breathe he had deep within him. Gently he asked me to roll up my sleeve for a blood sample. "A pregnancy test?" I asked. " I am pretty sure nothing else would make that kind of sound, not even a bowl of crazy hot bean latent chili." He shot a small breathy giggle out of his nose "I know Marianne it is just better to have a blood test." "Okay but i want to pay cash for it." Okay that is fine" he replied, "You know having this baby is your only option now. You are too far along for anything else."

"I know"

"Marianne I will call you myself when the test results come back Okay?"

"Okay" It was the kind of okay with lots of space inside it. It echoed against my numbness.

If there was a color that I could have breathed out it would have been grey. I had enough inside to cover the sun. This was the beginning of my ultimate in between time. It was a walk in a long hall with no doors or windows in sight. I had good shoes and a mind for imagining. I did not feel fear as much as I felt tested like a runner feels at the beginning of a marathon. You work hard to understand what you are capable of but one unexpected hill can try you and wear you down unexpectedly.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Today a small mouthed man in a parka stood on the sidewalk with a handmade sign that read "Adoption is an Option." I drove right by him but craned my neck stretching to see his face and his sign. He really did highlight, made the word option darker. Better judgement prevented me from my impulse to slam on my breaks and stop my car, but i did turn around. I did so in a hurry, like i had to double back to get something that fell out of my trunk and I was afraid it would be ruined by traffic. I was not really sure what I would say to him. I wanted to know why he felt like he needed to stand there all alone with that sign-White paper and black magic marker. The traffic patterns are a little weird at this place where he stood so to double back to him took a little effort. My nervousness made me a bit clumpsy driving, I nearly went the wrong way against a traffic pattern. I thought to myself, this son of a bitch never pushed a baby out and gave it to a stranger. He never felt a baby inside kicking, hiccuping. What did this small tight mouth man think, he was so righteous and full of purpose. I just wanted to interview him, pretend I was a reporter or a writer. Had you given a baby away before sir? Had you pulled an empty clip board from a nail and then filled it with your ideas of what you would like to happen in your baby's life? Had you been placed for adoption? Was your mother alone with skin tight on her belly swollen wondering how she would find the strength to know how to choose for her unborn child? Had you been left by your mother? Had you been the father of a child given away? What thoughts brought your boots and your sign to this sidewalk?

He was gone when I turned back. I will look for him and I will approach him slowly, like one does a dog with a collar but no leash-not sure if the wag and the low cast stare will come with a bite.

The clipboard list of hopes-College

Well 18 years ago with a swollen belly I planned for her college. When other pregnant mothers are flipping through paint chips and curtain fabric I loaded my clipboard and packed it with a list of dos and don't, likes and don't like, pros and cons. Among many other things, I imagined her search for college, how it would be paid for, and by whom. I encountered in my minds eye the nervousness of letting her go and hoped that she would milk more from the rooms of words and thoughts than I had. I hope she would only be distracted by the newness of it all and not by self doubt and maybe a little bit of hate. I hoped when I stood naked in the shower behind the veil of a world map curtain that she would know that all those continents could be hers to know. She would leap from one to the next, swallowing whole all of it. Keeping her body and mind free from the foolishness that makes knowing seem impossible or something that others do but not her.

She searches now through the catalog of colleges and sets her eyes to her dream. She writes her applications and files her paperwork. Her mom and dad taxi her to each school lovingly, without feeling distracted by a burden. They explore and evaluate, imagining a life there on a campus, in a dorm, at the desk in a class. It is exactly as I had hoped. There are no limits for her. She will become whom ever she wishes and the only burden is those imposed by the workload of an education. There is no struggle to getting to knowing if she can, how she can or will she do it. She knows and it will be done. The challenges will not be a mutant loathing it will be just the writing, the reading, the presentations, the stupid neighbor that talks too loud in the hall late at night or just thinking a professor is a knuckle head. The regular things, ordinary defining things that help us know that we bleed, that we ache and helps to lean back into the moments of complete contentment after they pass. This was my dream for her and it is so.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The bubble

I would describe her absence as a hole or like a bubble of air stuck in a water balloon. It presses up against the outside like a face on glass. Stuck in until the balloon is burst, squeezed, popped open, the content oozing out. It sounds gruesome but it is not. It sounds excruciating but it is not. It sounds hopeless but it is not. It is only just a change or a metamorphosis. It is a new life that cannot be compared to any event or feeling that has existed for me before the burst.

Everything is new, this home inside myself. It is as though it was bought in the winter and I have just learned in the richest spring of my life that 1,000 red tulips have poked through the grass and opened their faces to me.

These are my luckiest days really, the luckiest indeed.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

the unsensational truth of truly remarkable day

Writing a sentence like "It was a day like any other day" and listening to the keys click on my keyboard, my mind flashes to Spiderman or Superman. Well here a day in the May 2009 did start like any other but in this case there are no super heros and no freakish mutant powers just an ordinary woman sitting quietly at her desk at work listening to music and doing paperwork. The phone rings in a not so unusual way and I answer it in a not so unusual way, a friendly hello, the name of the company and my name. On the other end, is this Marianne, The Marianne? I start to giggle a little because I am accustom to this kind of playfulness. In the industry I work in many of our new clients come to us through referrals. Some people love us and some people no so much, this kind of banter is not unusual. Quickly though the caller identified themselves as a representative from Adoptions with Love, gently guiding me to the nature of the call. "Marianne 18 years ago you had a relationship with the agency that I work for in Newton, Massachusetts." This simple little statement sucked the wind right out of my lungs. It is not the kind of breathless that you get from running up a mountain or from being punched in the gut, it is the kind that you get from just have the air sucked right out of your lungs like when you accidentally get the dental sucking hose pointed toward your throat instead of your gums, simply just taking the wind right out of you. The fortunate sentence next form the caller is "everyone is okay, no one died or is ill." This gave me the hiccup of a breath that I needed. Next my favorite sentence, "She is beautiful, grounded and very bright." Ahhhhhhh, I thought. From this moment, after a series of "Oh my gods and holy cows, I was able to begin a conversation that changed my life forever in a mindful and bare bone banter.

I will not lie, huge teardrops jumped out of my eye like a swimmer leaping from a bridge-up and out then splash on the ground. I have never seen anything like it in my life, perfect round splashes of eye water, one after the other, perfect circles of wet that landed on the ground in shiny splotches like house paint or oil. I just kept chanting, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD. Nancy from AWL asked if this was a good OH MY GOD or a bad one. I assured her that it was the best OH MY GOD of my entire life. It was the kind of OH MY GOD that blasted away the last eighteen years like a wind licks a dandelion puff-so much seemed completely irrelevant and seemed to no longer apply.

From this conversation I learned that my daughter wanted to meet me. First letters and then pictures. The goal-our second meeting. My personality is such that I make sure when I sit to write that I am quiet inside. I make sure that all the chatter of fear and nervousness are quieted down. I also had to have a firm belief that I could write something meaningful and representational of myself. I had to cry my eyes out again a number of times and then I settled down to the letter. I described as much as I could think battling the beast inside that say i may be a bore and I started the story of all that she had been a part of in my life despite her physical absence. I was sure to mention that her birth remains an inspiration to me in every possible way. The strength and clarity that I gained in having her grow in my body and become an amazing human being was my beckon of strength to this day. Reminding myself when set to a task that may be a challenge- it certainly was not the going to be the hardest thing I ever had to do. I was excited and I felt a kind of focus and completeness that I had not felt ever, maybe in my entire life.

The morning of our meeting, getting ready and then driving, I would describe it as being a little kid waking on Christmas morning, knowing I was the first to wake up, but waiting for someone to come get me and tell me it was time to go down stairs. It felt like I had a joy bomb in my belly and it was going to explode and the joy juice would leak out everywhere in the most delicious way. You have to understand it is that feeling when you know a surprise that will make someone you love really happy and you have to bite back the words because the waiting for the right moment is more important than telling them. It was a great feeling.

There was a big water fountain in the park where we met. She was leaning against the wall. I stood for a second just looking at her before she noticed I was there. My tummy flipped like i was a little girl lying on the back seat of the car. We walked right up to one another and hugged and cried and hugged and cried and hugged and cried. It was delightful. After we finished our first blub together for the moment, I held her away by the shoulders and I asked her "Well has it been good your life so far?" She smiled wide and deep, eyes sparkly and said "YES" I replied "Excellent". Inside I thought, "Just like I planned."

There are so many details just from the first day to share. The conversations with my daughter, seeing her parents again, being invited to her graduation and the sweet, quiet, contemplative ride home represents a beginning. What I can tell you of this experience is that I know that with confidence that I am in her life now. We are engaged together, all four of us, in getting to know one another. We all have a strong bond due to the nature of things and now we have the pleasure of knowing and loving one another more deeply. What I hope to be true 18 years ago are. My daughter is healthy. She grew up with two strong and loving parents who guided her to knowing herself. She has had an enormous number of experiences and introductions with cultures from all over the world. She is confident, clear, sassy and kind.

What I can also tell you of the experience so far is that in many ways I feel like I have worked for the last 18 years to prepare for seeing her again and having her become a part of my life. Her birth set me on a journey of question and answer. I mended the hole that I felt inside after we were apart and I gently applied suave to it, patting it lovingly not really knowing if it would ever be full but feeling pretty sure that it would be. Now having her in my life I have to tell you that in order to take her in I have to pull back the skin to fill the hole. There are challenges and a little ache in all the joy at first, but not enough to stop me from any of it. These are the happiest days for me and the ones that give me the overwhelming sense that I do indeed know when and how to do the right thing. She has helped me become all that I have evolved to be and I believe that I drink deeper from the cup than if I had not had this experience in my life. I believe my life is a rich life. One that has given me a kind of sensitivity and alertness that helps me find good in most things. I trust more deeply the knowing inside that guides me to search out all the juice in a day and the sparks the belief in a dream and the patiences to see something through to a delicious new beginning.