|Lorraine and Jane, 1982|
Just when everything is going swimmingly for a couple of years there, the tide shifts and the life raft of our relationship breaks apart again on the rocky shoals of Jane’s divided loyalties.
Here’s a recipe for a canapé we call Memphis cheesies, made with Rice Crispies and cheddar. How’s Bill? He’s now working full time as a post man? Great. What’s Brittney [her daughter] up to? You got a steamer to “steam clean” your house? Whoa! Tony thinks I’m a clean freak, wait til he hears about this. Arthur [a friend] is going to China to visit his daughter—you do remember she lives there? With Lulu, the girl she adopted from China? I’m painting the deck chairs white. You’re painting your bench yellow? You wanted that recipe for the turkey brine? Gallon and a half each of apple juice and water, cup of brandy, one and a half cups of salt.
Jane calls me crying one afternoon, seemingly moments after she heard Matt, the oldest of the two biological children of the Rhymers, her adoptive parents, had died in a skiing accident. He was an avid, expert skier and died in a colossal fall on a western mountain. When Jane got the news, I was the first person she called, still stunned, then sobbing. Over the coming week, we speak a couple of times each day. Jane is distraught because her parents did not buy her a ticket originally when they did for her younger brother (their other biological son), to travel to the memorial service out west. I urge her to tell them that she wants to go, and in the end, they provide tickets for both her and Britt. John, Jane’s older adopted brother, lives out west, and he would be there. Initially being left out was extremely upsetting to Jane, but once the slight was corrected, it was absorbed and smoothed over, and ignored. She tells me about the service when she gets back, we speak a couple of times that week. We have no fight, not even a whisper of an argument.
|In the Nineties, in Sag Harbor|
It obviously isn’t meant for me. I rack my brain trying to figure out what I might have said—after everything had been going so well—but come up with nothing. Her computer is dialup and she does not have email yet. Or email that I know about.
What did I say, or do?
All I can think is that for some reason she is going to show me how it feels to be abandoned, to have a relationship cut off without an explanation. It matters not that she found some psychic relief in my having searched for her, rather than having to find me, it matters not that we’ve been on cruise control for years now, she is punishing me in kind: She survived being abandoned, now it’s my turn. She would walk away and not look back.
God, it hurt.
Jane had pulled away before without a word, and then we’d resume relations as if there had been no break, but we’d been so close now for a couple of years and I mistakenly assumed that kind of inexplicable behavior was over. If she were an ordinary friend, I would have walked away long ago, not gone back into a relationship that made me crazy, that has so much power to hurt, that stops and starts seemingly without reason, that is so irrational.
But Jane is my daughter.
|An adoptee explains it all|
What is so maddening is that when this kind of elimination from one’s life occurs, it happens without warning, without a clue why, without an explanation, and you are left there standing in the road wondering what the hell just happened. And that’s where I was.--lorraine
Next: Ruffling Feathers, a birthday apart: What did this first mother do wrong now? Cont.
Later sections of this story
First Mother to (reunited) daughter: What did I do wrong now?
What did I do wrong now? Cont. Part 3
Related posts from FMF (yes, we have written about this before)
When the Reunited Child Pulls Back
When birth/natural mother-adoptee reunions go awry, Part 2
The [birth] mother and child reunion, Part 3
After the Birthmother/Adoptee Reunion: Navigating the Turbulent Waters
The Declassified Adoptee Essays of an Adoption Activist
Intelligent, thought-provoking essays by Amanda Transue-Woolston taken from her blog: The Declassifed Adoptee. Every group of the adoption circle can benefit from her wisdom.
"As an adoptive parent to young children, I find the experiences of adopted people to be an invaluable insight into what my own kids might be thinking and feeling. Amanda is one of the clearest and most helpful voices I have found in this respect. Her writing is both unflinchingly honest and almost professional in tone. She makes it clear that she loves her whole family--her adoptive one and her biological one--without shying away from the issues that make being an adoptee challenging. It's a difficult balance to strike, and few writers I've read do it with such depth and grace."--From Amazon