|Jane and Lorraine, 7/25/83 NYTimes photo|
I see us hanging out downtown in Sag Harbor, at the pier, with our first dog, Fred, a friendly female lab, and just, well, just enjoying the view with the water, the boats, the sunshine and reveling in being with each other, after so many years apart.
We had lots of fun shopping for clothes for you--remember that black pin-striped suit we found for you at Loehmann's? I remember taking in the joy in your face in the mirror as we stood there admiring the person you were that day. I would have bought the same suit for myself if there had been another; we wore the same size, we like the same styles. You had just turned sixteen. We stopped at a Pizza Hut on the way home. I don't know what we talked about but I do know we had a great time. I remember lots of other shopping excursions, buying you clothes, seeing what went with what. You often used the word, "sharp," describing clothes you liked. And I remember you saying that shopping with with me was something you were aware of missing because your other mother didn't have time (she had three boys to look after) but really, you and I knew that she didn't enjoy taking the care you and I did with what we wore. (What tense to use? Present or past, I am still here.)
Hearing stuff like that was always bittersweet--sweet because it made me feel closer to you, because it reminded me of how you were like me, despite the adoption, despite us being apart after you were born--but bitter because our separation denied us both safety, sanity, a sense of belonging to each other.
|Forsythia for Jane, 2012|
|My mother, Jane, her daughter, and Lorraine April 1995|
Today's a regular lava flow of memories, Honey. The forsythia bush in the back yard planted for you is in full blazing bloom, just as forsythia was when you were born 46 years ago. My friend, Christy Bulkeley, sped me to the hospital just around now as I had contractions. Christ they hurt! She was hoping that I didn't give birth in the car, and as I looked out the window I remember seeing rows of bright yellow forsythia along the roadside. You were born two hours later.
Of course we had our differences, your inchoate anger that came out every now and then when you would just back away for long months of silences. That hurt too, as much as the physical pain, but in a different way. Then you would be back with the ring of a phone call. You had a troubled life, being given up and being adopted, having epilepsy, and the attendant psychological difficulties that came with them all. But today, let us not dwell on that. Let us keep the good parts in our heart and, though aware, release the sadness of our separation. --lorraine