Several years ago I had the great good fortune to come into reunion with the daughter I surrendered to adoption 28yrs prior. It was a whirlwind, it was frightening and it was truly magical. She is beautiful and accomplished and everything anyone could ever wish for, honestly. (I would love nothing more than to gush on about her stellar accomplishments of late, truly into the thin air of her profession. Alas you are all so literate, it would be too simple for some to ascertain her actual identity.)
We fell instantly in love, in a wildly, madly and truly unique way.
All of which was made possible, I am convinced, because of the home she was raised in, her parents are very evolved people. She once shared with me that she had often been reminded, growing up, of the importance I played in the formation of their family. (I know, right?)
But largely our reunion has been about us. She sees my husband, I’ve spoken on the phone with, and had lunch with, her parents, we’ve met a few of each other’s friends, etc, but have been mostly focused on each other. And our friends and family, while joyous for us both, have enjoyed following along. And it’s been a great ride!
Four months ago she became engaged to a wonderful young man, and we were truly enchanted to be included in her special day. I could never have dreamed or fantasized about such a thing coming to pass, and yet, here it was.
Twice I offered to her, in conversation, that I needn’t attend if it was causing the slightest conflict or distress to her family or self with the planning etc. I wouldn’t detract from her Mom’s Mother of the Bride moment, for the world. And honestly, I am still so enchanted that I will share in all the other days of her life that I could miss this one. But no, I was assured, each time, that all was well and they wanted us there.
So the wedding looms. I, a less than girly girl, will attend with stylish and worldy, literati. But no need to fear, my girlfriends step in and, before you know it, I have a fancy dress, new hair cut, mani, pedi, brow and glorious girly shoes! At this point you might think I was ready.
But how can I really be ready? These are her entire extended family, closest friends and colleagues, all of whom, know of and about me, but have never met me. And while my spirit soars whenever I introduce her as my daughter, should we be out walking, in my city, and meet friends, it’s a whole other thing to refer to her as my daughter in the very room with her parents. And then, were that not enough, there is the whole ‘birthmother’ word. While fully accurate, we don’t use it much and strikes my ear not unlike spermdonor.
As the event nears I grow ever more nervous. Well, nervous doesn’t quite begin to describe it. Largely all the people there are going to be curious to meet me, maybe they have expectations, and I’m just simple little me!
(Word, those glorious and girly shoes really helped. They made me bigger, so I felt a little less small. And they forced me to stand very straight which also helped, I think.)
As we got into the car, dressed in our finery, I thought I might throw up I was so very nervous. As we step into the venue, I, literally thought I was having a stroke. I couldn’t breath and felt like I would surely pass out any second.
We are not inside, milling with the crowd, for but a moment, when a women strikes up a conversation with us, her second sentence is; “So, how do you know Bride & Groom?”
My mouth is now dry, my vision is beginning to get sparkly around the edges and I think I may actually have some sort of seizure. Mr Elbows, seeing I cannot breathe or speak, begins, “Well, actually…” and waves off to me! Somehow I manage to very slowly say, “Well…actually…I…am…her…”, right about here I’m pretty sure there was a break in the space time continuum, could have been a minute, could have been an hour, and I just spit it out, “…birthmother!”
And this wonderful woman went from being pleasant and reservedly chatty, in one smooth and instantaneous movement, to a great big happy, “Oh…Aah” on her face and lips and a giant bear hug embrace. And the sky did not fall, I did not have a stroke, or seizure. We both were tearing up at this point and the mister stepped in to say, “It’s too early for tears ladies we just arrived!” And we moved along. And I could breathe again. And that wonderful woman, turned out to be the Mother of the Groom!
The seats we found our way to, for the ceremony, were located in such a way that her and I got to see each other before she actually stepped into the room. I wept through it all, it was beautiful and fitting and lovely in every aspect.
A while later, her mother came, to take me by the hand, to meet her large Cape Breton family, lots of sisters and cousins, they were sitting all in a long row in one room. Once again, time seemed to stand still and I thought, “Oh here’s where I stroke out!”, I had been warned they could be cool-ish by nature. As we approached from across the room, in conversation, the way people do, they glanced up at us, a couple of times, in an indifferent sort of way. But the undivided intensity of the looks that I faced once my identity was revealed to them was something to see, I tell you. They looked at me like they were trying to see inside me. And the love flowed, the ooohing and aahing, the bear hugging, the compliments. It was overwhelming, truly.
The room was filled with significant people, curious people. Her parents were magnificent, seeking to introduce us to their family and trying, very hard, to put us at ease. (Like that’s possible!) I can barely remember anyone’s name, I’m sure I said nothing terribly intelligent or clever. In fact, I hardly remember anything I said to anyone. It was largely the same encounter, in various forms, over and over. I was bear hugged a lot. A lot. The bear hug was always followed by how wonderful she is and how proud I must be of her etc. Who doesn’t want to spend an evening listening to everyone coo praise for the one you adore?
Then dinner, and speeches, all wonderful. Then dancing, I got to dance with her and was even in the wedding photos! We stood embracing each other on the dance floor and cooing love for each other, and gratitude, it is to swoon. For once it wasn’t us who was teary eyed!
And then it was time to go, we said our goodbyes to parents, her and handsome groom. As we stepped out of the venue to await a cab, the air refreshed me, but my head and my heart were overwhelmed by the events of the evening. I was spent, truly beyond really speaking or chatting. I am walking in a daze of bliss, like a drunken woman!
At the curb Mr Elbows has stuck up a conversation with an older couple also waiting on a ride, they are a little reserved and staid in appearance and in manner. Honestly I’m barely listening to any of them, the events of the evening still swimming in my consciousness. For maybe 5 mins they chat and I am lost in my own world. Through the fog I hear this woman’s voice, as she turns to address me directly for the first time, “So how do you know Bride and Groom?” Life’s a big circle, you have to admit. So I say my bit and, on cue, a big “Oh!” followed by, “I have to hug you!”. As she was hugging me she was telling me how much it meant to everyone that I came, how glad they were. Then she went on to tell me how much it meant to my daughter and how much she truly loves me! Just when you think you are blissed out the universe serves you up another portion.
It was too awesome to put into words, truly. It was all kinds of wonderful wrapped in bliss and joy and open heartedness.
Of course I got no sleep that night, I was just spinning from it. Slept a couple of hours on the drive home, next day, but was still sleep deprived and walking on air when I got there. Hubby went out, I crawled onto my bed with my dog and put on an old movie that I clearly couldn’t concentrate on. But, I thought, if I just stay still, rest will come and maybe a nap. Just when it was finally upon me the phone rang and it was her!
She was calling to tell me how pleased everyone was to meet me, how much they liked me and to heap hordes of other unworthy compliments upon me. Sleep? Yeah, that’s not going to happen now, too all wound up again just to hear her voice and her joy and pleasure.
During that conversation she was telling me how, she had to banish her Dad from her side, a couple of times, for saying such beautiful things, as to make her weep. She would tell him to stop and send him from the room for a time! At one point he came up to her and said, “Isn’t it amazing that one brave decision, over thirty years ago could lead to all the love in this room?” (I know! I’m weeping just typing it now!) That’s what she had told me to reassure me before hand, “Don’t worry it’s going to be a room full of love!” And it was.
It was definitely a truly unique experience. And a watershed moment in our lives.
But, mostly, it was all kinds of awesome!