November 2, 2007

Mom & "Nanny"

What to say ~ I have been thinking lately about writing in honor of my Adoptive Mom and Grandmother. Being raised in my adoptive family, in part, made me who I am today. I gained much from them, including the gifts of perseverance and strength. My family taught me how to be a strong woman because I watched strength in them, as well as a great sense of humor. Looking at this picture with them when I was a teenager reveals alot ~ quite a grip there, eh?

It is strange how children believe for the longest time that their parents are perfect. I think this adoptee held on to that thought for longer than needed simply because it helped me feel secure. It wasn't easy to allow myself to see their imperfections and even sins, and go through that journey to the other side ~ through the awareness, the emotions, etc. ~ to see their humanity, frailty, and embrace again the beauty and gifts they have and gave me.

My "Nanny" ~ maternal grandmother ~ was full of life and vitality, stubborness and will. She had a dry sense of humor that was perfectly "on" all the time, even during hard times she had. She taught me to laugh.

My Mom is adored by my son ~ it is great to see her enjoy being his "Grandma" ~ and it warms my heart as his Mother that he has a loving, attentive Grandma in his life. Alot of times the way she interacts with my son, however, does bring up memories and emotions of the ways in which I wish my Mom and even her Mother could have done things differently with me as a child. In fact, it was emotional abuse, many times. This has been hard to admit to, but also has helped me to accept myself and worth to some degree as an adult. She loved me to the best of her ability, I'm positive of that. And provided me with a lot of positive things, too. A whole lot.

BUT, her "look" could send chills of disapproval to my very core ~ and I don't want my son to feel that ~ because I think it affects a child's self-esteem. I want him to ALWAYS feel accepted and worthy and loved ~ even during the times he is not "acting" perfectly. I now realize how very delicate a dance parenthood is ~ bringing with it great joy, as well as great vulnerability and responsibility.

I have to admit that finally becoming a Mother myself, I can distinguish differences between being brought up by adoptive parents, and having my own biological offspring. There are many and even though other people may not want to believe it ~ I can attest there are differences that need to be acknowledged, in order for them to do LESS damage, possibly. In my opinion.

I lost my "Nanny" the same year my son was born, so it has been hard to grieve her passing ~ I was using all emotional reserves to care for my preemie. But she was such a big part of my life and I loved her very much. I miss her and the way she could make me laugh, even at the end of her life, living gracefully in spite of having to be in a nursing home.

My Mom is my Mom ~ and I just wanted to share how much I love and care for her. She was my best friend during my childhood, as I was an only child. Every Saturday we would go to "Crystals Pizza" and have Mom/Daughter day together. I used to make her elaborate "To the BEST Mother in the World" cards ALL the time.

Looking back, I think those cards were my way of comforting myself and trying to find security in holding on very tightly to my Mom ~ possibly because she felt insecure as my Mom. She had a poem framed and on her bedroom wall next to my picture ~ "Chosen Child" ~ it had alot of contradictory statements which is confusing to an adopted child. The first stance say's "I had to tell you, Dearest Heart, that you are not my own" ~ it goes on to explain how much she wanted and desired a baby and how we were brought together through adoption ~ then the last stance of the poem states that I am "her's, and her's alone". Now HOW can that be?

How can I NOT be her own, and also HER's alone? It doesn't make sense. My home-made cards were a desperate attempt to reconcile this in my own soul and possibly to help my Mom feel secure (and in doing so help me feel more secure) as my Mom. ????

Good Gads!

Anyway, as I got older I finally had to emotionally "cut the cord" with my Mom and boy, was it hard. I loved her so much, and in my 20's when she went through breast cancer and bone marrow transplant, I was terrified of losing her ~ she was my only security, as I had not yet grieved my own adoptee status and found myself in all the pain and joy that is. During my young adult years, when I should have been establishing my own family and life, I was consumed with making sure she and my grandmother were taken care of. They wouldn't accept help from others and sometimes this brought feelings of anger for me, which were also hard to cope with. "Boundaries for Healthy Living" (Cloud & Townsend) was quite a revelation ~ one long past due! lol

I happened to pick a Husband who also dealt with boundary issues in HIS family ~ so needless to say, we've had quite a journey and I'm so thankful we have survived.

She is my Mom and I love her so much. I'm so glad she is still relatively healthy and able to get around (with a walker). I'm very glad that she can be my son's "Grandma" because I remember as a child how important those relationships are. I pray she will be around for a long time to come. I worry about her a lot, still, even though I've finally separated enough to not let that worry consume me and dictate my entire existance. Of course, I feel guilty for that sometimes, too. But I literally wore myself down physically & emotionally in my "prime" years and I look back and grieve that along with losing my First Mother and family.

Adoption is FULL of contradictions, pain, blessings and love ~ all wrapped together in a ball of emotions that is almost impossible to unravel ~ it puts a great burden on adoptees. Just being honest. Burdens don't negate LOVE, though.

I feel old before my time. And this "oldness" came on suddenly ~ after years of being a perpetual "child".

All this came out of my desire to write a post in honor of my Mom ~ I feel as though I need to apologize or something. Bless my Mom, God, and bless her for all the years she put into my life and still does.

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