Thursday, October 12, 2006

HNT & A Letter to My Birthmother

First of all, credit where it is due. During a conversation after this post, Mark gave me this idea. Thanks, my friend.

For those who wish to skip to the picture scroll to the bottom.

How do I even start,

'To whom it may concern' is totally impersonal. 'Dear Mom?' No, I have a mom. With your first name? I don't even know what it is. It's a conundrum. I guess I'll skip that part. We share this day, you and I. It's definitely the weirdest day of the year for me. That's not a bad thing. It's just what it is. I don't dread birthdays like some folks. I do always need some time alone though. I need time to step away and consider you, pray for you as I wonder what today means to you.

I do wonder. Things are so different nowadays. Young girls get pregnant and keep their babies all the time. An out of wedlock birth is not the social stigma it was when you had me. Mom and Dad always spoke of you with respect. I think you need to know that. They never hid the truth, so far as they knew it, from me. They told me you made the choice you did based on my welfare, motivated by love. They told me you picked them for me. Thank you.

I wonder about more. Back when you had me and there was all this stigma, I know you went to a maternity home. I've read about them. I know that in that era there was almost no preparation for the emotional aftermath you'd face. They were safe places to go and wait. You were supposed to have me, surrender me, go away silently, and never speak of things. As long as you played by those rules everyone would play along and you'd be accepted back into polite society. Those are shitty rules. (You can thank Dad for encouraging my unvarnished expression of opinions. Was there some seed of that in you or my birthfather that was encouraged to grow by Dad?) I wonder because I can't imagine how difficult that must have been for you so I hope there were some compassionate people around you.

When I was pregnant with my first daughter it was a real eye opener. I'd celebrate each new sensation and then wonder how it was for you. I had a loving husband and very excited grandparents-to-be who wanted to hear about the developments. But I wondered, how scary was that positive pregnancy test for you? Was the morning sickness doubly torturous? Did my first kick strike your heart with fear or sadness or something else? Did your growing belly make you want to hide? Were you alone as you labored? Were all those things that should be moments of joy tinged with sadness?

There are some weird ideas about adoptees and adoptive parents out there. I could write a book on it. That being said, I have to follow it by letting you know the comments I've heard about birthmothers are far worse. Some judgemental prig might sniff, 'Oh, how can anyone just give their baby away like that?' or 'Well, the bad girl made her bed, now she can sleep in it.' I'm so sorry for whatever hurtful comments you've ever had to endure whether they were from your own family, or acquaintances, or anyone else. I really want to know you've lived a good life. I hope if you wanted a family you had a happy one when the time was right.

When I was very little I was threatened by the thought that you existed. I thought it meant someone else had a claim on me. That was upsetting. As a teen I thought I just HAD to know who you were so I could figure out where did the gap in my front teeth come from, (that gap that closed up when my wisdom teeth came in and I got to keep them...who gets to keep their wisdom teeth???), and why don't I have a proper toenail on my pinky toe, and this goofy wartlike bump on my one hand, and that mole over by my...well, if you have the same mole you know where...and why my hair is such an unruly mess (who gives a kid weird genes like that?). And my sense of humor, my parents, bless them both, neither one really ever GOT my sense of humor. They accept it but they both still look at me like I've got 3 heads sometimes. Is that you? They aren't big things, but they are curiosities. Mom will tell you, my curiosity could at times drive her insane.

So I was sure I'd look. But I didn't. I realized I was afraid of what I might find. I prepared for the worst. I got ready for you to deny you'd given birth to me. I prepared for a door to be shut in my face. I was all good with that. Then I thought, what if she welcomes me with open arms and then doesn't want to let go? That was a little more disconcerting. That held me back, because I have a mother and a father (the ones you gave me) and I am not looking to replace them. They've given their blessing, but I know Mom is a bit unnerved about it all. I certainly don't want to cause anyone pain, not her, not you. So I've held back.

But sometimes I think I'm almost ready...maybe. I don't want to barge in and cause disruption. I want to do things decently, respectfully. And if I ever do look for you I want to look from a place of contentment. I want to mostly say thanks. I want you to know I am happy and well. I want to know you are too.

I want to wish you peace, and love, and, most of all.

100_1337 (2)

Sometimes I look in my own eyes and wonder. I know my complexion comes from your Greek lover. Would my eyes remind you of his? Do I speak with them the way he did or would he say I have the same spark in mine that you had in yours? If you saw my face would it be a darker reflection of yours or would you recoil from the image of a man who abandoned you? Sometimes I look and I wonder...What would it be like to look into your eyes?

Happy HNT


Phain said... i

barefoot_mistress said...

That is an awesome photograph Lime!
Happy Birthday girl!
Happy HNT

Regal said...

Thanks for the really beautiful posting and a wonderful photo. Happy birthday.

Crimson said...

Wow..beautiful. HHNT :)

BTExpress said...

I wonder if your birth mother is thinking about this day too. I know I would be if I was her. Happy HNT sweetheart.

Tommy said...

God Damn it Lime! You got me all fucking weepy. Damn whatta post and I love that pic. LOVE IT. This is my favorite post of yours. Damn, now pass the effin kleenex. Love you hun. HHNT and peace to you.

Mark Leslie said...

Oh Michelle, how very moving. This letter had me in tears. I'm positive that she's out there thinking about this day and likely wondering about you. Happy birthday. And if I might add, what a beautifully stunning picture to go with your letter.

Tommy said...

Oh and Happy birthday. Did I mention Damn? Just Damn!

Professor Fate said...

What Tommy said.

Happy HNT

Breazy said...

Well I got to keep my wisdom teeth! When I was twenty I found out that the father I had grown up believing was my father , wasn't really my biological father . Turns out my biological father lives in the same county as me and I have met him many , many times . One day I am going to call him up and just say "hey , I need to talk to you" .

Thanks for sharing that with us Lime! My prayers are with you !


Breazy said...

BTW... I like the new colors here !

Anonymous said...

Wow, very touching and a beautiful pic


Ag said...

Happy B Day and very nice picture

The Melody Censor said...

Happy birthday
Happy HNT!

3.14 said...

what a great thing....very beautiful in both words and image.

AndyT13 said...

Awesome shot and heartwrenching post. I forgot to tell you that if you pursue looking you might want to be prepared for her to be someone you know. Not likely but possible. I love you.

Suze said...

Lime, that was a very touching and moving post. You are such a beautiful and well balanced person.

I'm wishing you every happiness on your Birthday and throughout life.

Happy Birthday HNT sweetie ;)

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Lime! I am sure she thinks about you. Wonderful post!

tl said...

I don't do serious very well, but that was a beautiful post.

Happy Birthday, and many more of them.


loz said...

what a beautiful picture, and beautiful story. I hope you'll be able to communicate with your birth mother directly (if you decide definitely to do so) & find the answers to at least some of your questions, and that it's a positive experience for all of you. happy birthday, and happy hnt :).

keda said...

what a beautiful beautiful kind and moving letter.

amazing. if she can ever read this or meet you she would be so proud.

you are such an incredible woman.
and so beautiful.

ugh. i'm stunned. and glad to be.

happy hnt dear lime and happy birthday.
to both of you.

Jodes said...

that is a really awesome picture. great post Limey!!!

Katie :) said...

HHNT sweetie

Schadeboy said...

I second the comment by le chat qui a peur. This letter really just hits it right on the head. What fantastic words.

And the photo is the cherry on the cake. Very nice.

There is a publication from the local community college here in town. This would most likely be selected if you were to submit it. I would encourage you to see if there's something similar in your area. This is really a well done piece of work.

Of course, maybe you'd prefer to just keep it between you and your birthmother.

Happy HNT!

lecram sinun said...

Lime, that was absolutely beautiful. I actually visited last night but thought I'd swing by today to tell you. :)

Logophile said...

Happy Birthday Ms. Liime.
Gorgeous pic, perfect post.
I knew her first!
(I know, Susie, you knew her first, I was only saying it to everyone else)

Seamus said...

That was very moving Michelle! HHNT :)

Anonymous said...

As you might or might not know, I am the father of an adopted son. My little Raphael came to us at 6 months and ever since then I personally have been in an internal struggle. My wife says that she is never going to hide the fact from him that he is adopted, myself? I'm in two minds. I'll probably come round to my wife's way of thinking ( I normally do), but there will always be that wee part of me that will regret that.

Sad to say, I am almost certain that his birthmother won't even survive through to his teen years. We know her, and of the demons she faces. She is an alcoholic with some mental problems, thankfully not passed on to our son. She works as a prostitute and has, so far, refused all overtures from the social services for any kind of treatment ( what little treatment is available, it is Brazil after all).

If she does survive and my son does wish to seek her out later in life, then I will be behind him 100%, that's his right. But I think that I'll be a little sad too.

A beautiful HNT Michelle, and a beautiful post. A very happy birthday to you and many more of them.

CyberWarlock said...

Sometimes the unknown serves us better than what we know. It is easy to build something or someone up in our minds, and far more difficult for them to live up to our expectations. As long as you are happy with who you have become, the rest is really just filler. :) Great pic, I love the way it came out. Happy HNT!

snavy said...

That was so emotional. Hell, I'm still crying. Because of my mom, "I get" so much of this post in a very personal way.

Beautiful everything - your post, your picture and just you as a person.

Love you girlie -- HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

Pink Lady said...

Wow. Literally. From one adoptee to another, your words and your photo just touched me. Happy birthday and Happy HNT!

Amber said...

Happy B-day. You have the same B-day as my baby's Daddy.
That was so beautiful. You have such a positive and curious attitude towards the whole situation. You are so understanding about your birth mother. I love the pic by the way, very artsy.

MyUtopia said...

What a beautiful letter! Happy Birthday. Mine is a week from today.
I also loved the picture!

James Goodman said...

Wow! Happy Birthday, Lime. :D

Blither said...

Lime that was sooo beautiful! What a Beautiful day to do it on! I can barely express what a pleasure it is to know a chic like you!
Happy Birthday Bella!

Spitfire said...

okay, I wasn't adopted but I didn't see my mom for twenty years...

and yes I am still crying...that was powerful,

and then what a beautiful picture.

I feel dumb even saying anything.

You are beautiful.

Ameratis said...

I have been MIA for abit but I must say I am glad I came back today. WOW Lime...that was beautiful...I almost cried here at my desk. I have always thought you are a beautiful woman, wife, and mom but now I see you are a beautiful daughter as well. God bless you and Happy Brithday!

Heather said...

Happy Birthday.

What an awesome, beautiful post. Wow!!

Jericho said...

one of the best photos ever

and you have exposed an amazingly touching, vulnerable-yet-strong, loving part of yourself

...beautifully written and beautifully felt...


Seamus said...

Happy Birthday Michelle!!!!!

adam said...

Beautiful, Lime!

Happy Birthday! Happy HNT too!



Isolde said...

Very moving and thoughtful text...Love the photo. You are so beautiful.

Moosekahl said...

Happy birthday, Lime! I knew I liked you for a reason, we share a Libra soul :)

The letter to your birthmom is a profound expression of wisdom and love. all well said and heartfelt. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

SeaRabbit said...

Happy Birthday first... and I deeply admire how you are questionning life and reasons behind actions... without judging or trying to embellish circumstances... As you wrote "Oh, how can anyone just give their baby away like that?" I really don't think that it is done "just like that" and for many, the hope of a better life is the first motivation... and it seems that for you,wanted results were reached at the highest expectations...
Yes... and telling her that you are happy is probably the most wonderful gift she could have ever dreamed about...

Happy HNT! the photo is very thoughtful and touching... you are truely beautiful... ;-)

LEE ANN said...

That was truly beautiful.
Your photo is breathtaking!
Happy HNT!

Lacquer, Semi-Gloss Lacquer said...

I'm reading this late thursday night, (I've been tied up lately, not blogging much,) It's funny how it feels, catching up on days of people's entries.

I do wish you a happy birthday.
I do hope that one day you find your mom, and, well, just know.

'knowing,' is sort of like birth, or coming into the world. It's got the opportunity for both good and bad, you want it straight, truth, no chaser, -you just want to 'know.' You also just want to 'be,' and 'live,' too... it's not about the good or the bad, it's about the real.
-I learned about that from women, actually.
Not sure which one taught me it first. -Maybe it was my mom.
You know what they say about each day being a good one so long as you're above ground? Sort of like that.

I'm sure your birthday was special, you have people all around you who you adore, who adore you back, -and that reality is a wonderful thing.

For what it's worth... There is not a single mother out there who dreams that her kid has a happy life, -at any cost.
Somewhere, your mom thinks this too.

Just follow your heart, (of course it will be traumatic either way,) but like birth, 'knowing,' creates it's own wonderful life, (no matter how awkward it flies, at first.)

Lacquer, Semi-Gloss Lacquer said...

just realized the typo...
It's meant to read: There's not a single mother out there that I know of who doesn't dream that her kid has a happy life... (yeeesh, what an idiot... this is why I don't work for Hallmark...)

Gary said...

We sometimes forget how much our culture changes over time. When I was growing up here in South East Texas, blacks were required by law to sit in the back of public busses. I remember seeing that as a young child, and at the time I didn't question it at all. But now those things seem so unreal to me.

Anonymous said...

That was a beautiful letter... I hope both you and your birth mother were at peace on your birthday!

Apple said...

To give a child love is the best gift there is. I'm glad your birth-mother found you loving parents. I see so many children being raised without love these days.

This was a beautiful post. Happy Birthday.

leen said...

i'm touched to the very bottom of my heart. what a beautiful post and picture to accompany it.

thank you so much for sharing it. this was truly a completely naked post.

steve said...

That was an outstanding post! HHNT!

I am so glad I found you on this thing called the www. I look forward to reading your posts each day!

Fred said...

Wonderful letter to your mom, Lime. You never know -- with the way the internet works, she may read this someday.

Happy belated HNT.

Boysenberry said...

Thansk for posting such a personal letter. It was quite a deep thing to get in to.

A belated HHNT.

Nancy Drew said...

Happy birthday LIme. what a wonderful and touching post.

And beautiful photo.

God bless you all.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Lime!

Your letter is very touching, thank you for posting such a personal and inspiring letter.

Anonymous said...

wow many things that i've thought about my birth parents too...thanks for sharing yours... a belated Happy Birthday to you my darlin...take care xxx