I found my family one year ago and during that time I’ve watched the sharp edges of my life turn into something softer and forgiving. How do we function in a truly healthy way if we don’t know who we are or where we came from? I lived the first 46 years careening through, not realizing the mistakes along the way until they were 100 yards behind me. I was fire, with an undercurrent of fear; fear of rejection, fear of security, fear of intimacy, fear of abandonment. I tested love and commitment, not believing anyone would stay. My marriage felt it, my children felt it, and the family who raised me felt it. Finding my family was like meeting my children for the first time; taking in every cell, memorizing them, yet already completely knowing them. It was deeply rooted familiarity. It was peace. Knowing my mother is seeing my reflection for the very first time.
Yesterday was her birthday. She had me one week before turning 20. I had my daughter and relinquished at nearly the exact the same age. This synchronicity is fascinating, how history repeats itself, often in the most tragic ways. I believe our shared experience, as unfortunate as it is, has helped us understand each other and give so much grace. She can hardly speak of that season, yet I keep asking her questions. I’ll hug her and tell her that I understand, because I DO. I see her gradually unfold, climbing out of herself, the place she’s most comfortable. I think she’s SO brave for going back to that painful time, not because she wants to, but because she loves me. She’ll talk herself through it, saying, “I can do this. I can do this. What do you want to know?” And she tells me the stories I’ve waited to hear. The story about my father. How she felt during that time. The story about my birth, and that she never saw me. That she never held me. And, I listen. I can handle it, all of it, because we have each other. And with this gift comes the freedom to love and heal. Together.