we are everywhere

Friday, October 06, 2006

Picking Up More Pieces

No, I am not going to draw another analogy to reunion and quiltmaking. Not this morning, anways. And I did not just accidently knock the stacks of fabric pieces, pins and paper sketches, measurements and calculations off of the dining table top and on to the floor.

A year ago, I took over the whole dining room as my sewing and work area. And I have plans for one of the walls to be a work wall, or a place to plan out quilts in progress. I decided that I need my own space in this house. So, the dining room is my work area. My space. Mine, all mine; even though I do enjoy it when the "men" come into my work area and sit to talk, watch, or want to try the rotary cutter; machine or even sketch. Most often, they are just using my work room as a short cut to the back yard.

The pieces I need to begin picking up are many of the details of my life since reunion. It has been about 5 years since the beginning of my reunion and given this very short period of hindsight to reflect, I believe that reunion with my son has had the same kinds of effects on me and my life that the days, months and years of caring for my other children as newborns, toddlers and preschool children had.

My nights since reunion have often been sleepless. I have worried and ruminated. Much of my productive daytime energies have been channeled into learning about my son, reunion and in trying to build a relationship with him. I have wanted to really better know him. I want to know his likes, dislikes, his talents, and all the quirks. A mother to a newborn child does this. She wants to know about this wonderous being who has entered her life. Since reunion, I have read more on adoption/reunion than I ever did about baby/child care.

I try to balance on that delicate tightrope between knowing as much as I can about my son and respecting him as an adult who gets to decide how much to tell me about himself and his life; who requires his own space. I know I must try to honor his own feelings and responses to reunion. I am so thankful for the times he does let me into his space. Often, he invites me into his life to talk about himself or his days; his recreation and his work. Sometimes, he welcomes me into his work studio and there I can sit to talk with him or simply watch and listen.

And in like having a newborn, toddler, or preschooler in the house, many tasks have been left half done or undone in my house since my reunion. I have closets that need cleaning, outgrown clothes to be sort, washed and passed along. Gardens in the front and the back need lots of thinning and cultivating.

Ok, I will fess up and say that I not a very good housekeeper to start. And I procrastinate. Often. So, not all of the clean up and organizational projects needing to be done in my life are because of the energy I have put into reunion.

When my other boys were little, I did put my energies into them. Dishes could wait and they did. Children do not wait. Clean towels, a wise person once said, are just as absorbent when pulled from a basket of unfolded laundry as from a neatly folded stack.

Friends taught me to be gentle with myself after each of my other children were born. They taught me to look upon the time following the arrival of a child into my life as an opportunity to enjoy and get to know him. And to consider post arrival as stretch of time to live simply by focusing on the basic necessities of life. I learned to make sure that during such an exciting and emotional time that I am focused on healthy eating. And enough sleep for all. Self care is imperative. Oh.. and to keep that laundry going. Eat, sleep and laundry; the basics

And these first few reunion years have been like that for me. On some, or rather most days, I have to focus on the basics. I get food on the table for everyone. Get myself to work. Try to get enough sleep. Help to meet the needs of the people with whom I live. Oh, and keep the laundry going.

Reunion has been so much an act of picking up the pieces. I think that reunion has helped my son to identify parts of himself and to better fit them all together. I believe I see him as more comfortable in his world now than five years ago. And I think I see him fitting more easily in the life and the space that he is creating for himself as an adult.

Over the past five years, I been searching for and collecting pieces of myself that were lost at surrender. I have been working at fitting them into me; a reconstruction of sorts. I think I am beginning to fit more comfortably into my own space. However, I am still picking up some pieces and finding better patterns for them. This has been a huge and exhausting process for me.

It is a gentle, early fall day here. And I am going to cut through my work space and go out into the overgrown back yard and get a small start on that garden work. I know I have closets holding overflow of outgrown clothes that I can begin to wash, fold and bring to a local support program for mothers and their children.

Do I regret that I have let these household tasks and chores go for so long and that I have put so much of my energy into the reunion process? Not at all. It seems only to have been a strange parallel in development to what happens normally in the early years between child and mother.

I don't know how I will reflect on reunion when even more time passes in having my son back in my life. It has only been five years and is really a relatively short time; but these are some of my thoughts after five years.


  • At 4:10 PM , Blogger Joy said...

    I totally relate, from the other side of things to this post, it is bizarre. I feel like I almost had a second childhood, and not in the buy a convertible find a young unsuitable mate kind of way. But developmentally my relationship with my mother has mirrored normal psychological development of a child and parent, making me now a teenager. Just a really old unhip teenager.

    But it is harder than even growing up, it is a growing up with lots of emotional land mines.

  • At 4:28 PM , Blogger momseekingpeace said...

    I have had the saem experience in a lot of ways. When I found him I went back to being 16 for awhile and grew up as we went along. I feel like in so many ways I was frozen there until reunion.

  • At 11:22 PM , Blogger AMYADOPTEE said...

    Its one day at a time. Enjoying what is shared at that moment. Piecing together one's life along with the life of the child all grown up. I am not in reunion but I know that I have been putting my life back into prospective and back together. It won't ever be the same but I hope it will be at least better

  • At 11:46 AM , Blogger MaeDay said...

    You know the day I met my son face to face I felt just like that 16 year old young woman again. It took me off guard. I was trying hard to not to stare at him but I couldn't help myself. He caught me at one point, I apologised, he said he , "didn't mind'. A few weeks after the face to face he wrote me a letter sharing he had felt very infantile, very disoriented that first meeting.

    It's been written elsewhere 4 people show up at reunion. The adult mother/young mother, the adult adoptee/infant child.

    Over the years getting to know one another has almost been a backwards route. We had to look back together, to go forward together.

    I remember time I was visiting his home. His wife was at work and we were babysitting gdaughter. We'd been looking at his baby pictures (boo hoo)and we both felt a little empty, we'd not shared these times/events together. Anyway, wife was coming home and we had to hurry (because we'd been procrastinating) getting supper ready. As we were setting the table it suddenly dawned on us both we were naturally doing something together, we would have done had the adoption not happened.We both started to laugh and cry and just hugged eachother realizing we were moving forward as a team. Finally we were doing things together that just seemed, "normal" for any mother and child to do.

    It's been about eight years since that breakthrough afternoon. Even though we both desired reunion it can take a while to adjust to the normalacy of simply being together.

    Love your writings. You do such a great job of walking us through what you're thinking about.

  • At 1:24 PM , Blogger dbannie said...

    This experience of proceeding though a time compressed and time delayed sequence of otherwise normal development seems to be so common for us grown children and mothers, alike. I am nearly stunned, in a way, at the universality of this experience. I don't know why I am stunned when I hear it over and over, again.

    No other experience in my life has caused me to try to come closer to an understanding of what really is the nature of our being; and how a not having a fuller understanding of who/what we are leads to all kinds of consequences. Nearly 50 and I am just beginning to really learn..it is bout time, I guess. ;0)

  • At 4:07 PM , Blogger Third Mom said...

    Thank you for making the reality of reunion so real, in its joys and its challenges. It's really becoming clear to me that there's no magic wand to wave over the experience to lessen the challenges. They all have to be experienced, it's part of the re-living of the years that were lost.

  • At 5:32 AM , Blogger Reunited Dan said...

    I agree about the looking back together to look forward together comment from maeday.

    I have to say though that my very first meeting with my birthmom, I really felt nothing. She had so much inner turmoil that she was visibly shaken. Her body language was incredibly closed. Arms crossed, very stiff and uptight. Although at one point, she leaned towards me and I thought she was going to grab me. She caught herself though and sat back. Maybe her distress overshadowed everything else?

    We seem to be growing together now. We do discuss my deceased birthfather quite a bit and we recently went through some old pictures together.

    I think in our case, things are just moving at a pace that is comfortable to her.

  • At 8:40 AM , Blogger dbannie said...

    Thank you, Third Mom, for really listening and for your thoughtful comments.

  • At 8:52 AM , Blogger dbannie said...


    The first time I saw my son, again, was several years ago when I flew out to where he lives for a weekend. When he drove me back to the airport, he told me that his roommate and girlfriend had commented to him that I seemed afraid to touch him.
    I think that they were right about that.
    However now, Dan, I am much less afraid to reach out and give him a big hug. It took me a while!


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