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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Putting Together Pieces, Again

I just came back from two days visiting with my son and it is time for me to do some more piecing. It is time put my head and my heart back together. Again.

We have been reunited for five years and this has been the recurring pattern for me after I have been able to spend some time with him. I suppose most people would call it "processing." It is that, definitely. I have to go through the process of putting myself back together. And I will do it.

However, I have to say that the edges of these pieces of me are fraying from the continuous mind and heart erosion that is the aftermath of surrender and adoption. For me, much of the work that goes along with reunion with my son is tedious, frustrating and headache inducing. It is a little like when I am trying to do some work with my old sewing machine and the thread tension keeps shifting. This results in the pull and tug of the upper and lower stitches; chaos and breakage. To fix this, I must do alot of ripping out of threads and then some repiecing. Sometimes, when using my old machine, the needle veers off to the side; breaking as metal hits metal. Then, the fabric gets caught up in the feeder feet and pulled down into the machine where it is torn apart. Needle and fabric; both ruined.

Not all is lost. Hope reigns because I can trash the torn fabric pieces and begin again with new pieces. I can rewind the bobbin and start over. Or I can choose to take my new machine out of the shipping box, read the directions, and learn to use it so I move on to tension free piecing and creativity.

I see that with the surrender and adoption of my son there is no starting over; no rewind of the thread bobbin. The tension dial will often shift in our relationship. I have sometimes pulled back. When I have pulled back, I believe it has been out of fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of feeling more discomfort and pain. And my thinking gets caught in the grinding feeder feet of my head and I have to work at yanking out the negative thoughts.

When my son is sometimes silent for weeks and weeks, my head overwinds faster than my sewing machine. I wonder, "Is he processing, too? Or just simply busy with his life? Or both?" I cannot start over in reunion with new materials. I cannot rewind 30 years. Oh, yes, I can change myself some; my focus and attitudes; but I am me. And most certainly am not perfect. And there is my wonderful, irreplaceable son.

I really don't know though how much more ripping and reworking of the seams of our relationship I can do. There is no new sewing machine programmed with a stitching pattern that can fix for me the consequences of the surrender and adoption of my son. You know that standard line in most parenting books that says new babies don't come with a directions manual; but read this book to help you prepare anyways? Well, our adult children don't arrive back in our lives with a reunion manual attached, either. Reunion preparation can help tremendously, and preparation for meeting my son face to face helped me alot.

Most importantly, I am learning to trust my instincts in building a relationship with my son. Trusting my gut has been good and positive in building our relationship. However, reunion relationships are complex and I do get sidetracked and confused and have to look again for a point of reference or focus.

There is one premise of which I am certain to which I always find my way back when I am caught up in trying to have the loss of my son make sense. I believe that here is an indestructable bond between a mother and the child she bears. It is physical, emotional and spiritual. I think that this bond can be stretched to capacity, frayed, damaged and distorted to the point of unrecognizability. It can be stretched to a thread so thin that neither mother nor child may sense its presence; but I believe that it cannot be ever broken. Man-made law cannot void natural law. Time is relative, I believe, and decades of separation cannot totally obliterate the mother and child bond.

I am so grateful that my son is able to let me into his life at this point. On the other hand, getting to know him now as an adult is bittersweet. For all the first time joys I experience with him; a first time to the beach, a first time playing a board game; a first time hearing him sing; there is a slap in the face of the reality of all the times lost. For me as a mother who in an obtuse relationship with a son which is called reunion, I have joy and pain. I do have both joy and pain in my relationships with my other children, of course. However the pain caused by surrender seems to be more contorted and unnatural; the oscillations more erratic.

I must state emphatically that my son does not cause me pain. His existence, his being brings to me the same great joy that I have in the existence of my other sons. It is surrender and the decades of separation and the numerous consequences of that separation that causes pain.

So, I am back from traveling to see my son. It was joyous time spent together. Good, funfilled memories are being made. However, I am back to my house and it is time to put my head and heart back together. I need to do some good self care. Eat well and sleep more. Play more. Take more time for quiet meditation. I need to take really good care of myself while I take what time I need in order to put my head and heart back together. Again.

Always, there is hope. After I catch up on some sleep and do all those just back from being away from the house chores, I will be able to think through the events of these good days spent together. I will be able to process my thoughts and feelings; piece my head and heart back together.

This time, as I sort through these pieces of my head and heart, I am going to be watchful for any I clutch tightly that look to be woven from fear. Those pieces that smell a even a little like fear, I will need to trash.

Most importantly, I will search through these messy piles I've carried back with me and find the pieces of my head and heart that look most like they will fit together. Many appear to be woven of hope, respect and trust. That is a good start. And the largest pieces, the ones that seem to fit best in the middle of my head and heart, if I look closely, are most definitely cut from love.

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