It's the first day of the A-Z Blogest! Time to get serious. Write. Write everyday in April except Sundays, going down the alphabet. This is going to be a time when we all learn a little more about ourselves and each other. When we write till it hurts. Write till it hurts so much it it feels good.
Personally, I am excited. Writing, though part of me and enjoyable, hurts a lot. It hurts because I feel stuck most of the time. When I don't feel stuck, it hurts because I don't have the time to get out all that is inside of me. When it is coming out and I have the time, it hurts because I can't get it all out the way I think it should. Because I'm a perfectionist. I committed to this - to keep moving, in spite of stuck or time or perfection/imperfection. For twenty-six days of the next 30, I'm going to write in spite of the pain and wait for it to feel good.
So, without further ado, I give you my writing on the letter A.
In thinking about the letters and what words I can associate with each of them, my mind wonders. Far. And it is hard to get it back home. I am the girl who read the dictionary during the summer between eighth and ninth grades. (We moved, I didn't know anyone.) I know a lot of words. I think too much. I go down a list in my head of possibilities, most of them ridiculous, but mostly to avoid writing anything real.
(the most obvious choice) Apple - the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family Rosaceae. It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits.
My friend is an organic farmer. She has apple trees, eleven of them. I, however, am not a farmer. I know how to climb trees, appreciate their beauty, and sit under them on a sunny day with a book or a notebook and pen.
Apple peel. I love apple peel. In fact, I like the peel more than I like the apple.
So, I don't think I will be writing about apples.
Appendectomy - the surgical removal of the appendix.
I still have my appendix. So, I don't have much to say about this.
Apparatus - equipment designed to serve a specific function.
I like things that serve a specific function. But that's about all I can think of to say about that.
So, what do I know about the letter A? What can I write about? Three strikes there...
One more at bat, and I'll knock it out of the park.
Adoption - To take into one's family through legal means and raise as one's own child.
There's an A that I know something about.
Adopted. I am adopted. My sister is adopted. No, not from the same birthparents. That's black-market stuff. (You may roll your eyes, but you would not believe how many times I have been asked that question! Seriously.)
What does it mean to be adopted?
When you are three, it means that two sets of parents loved you so much that they are willing to do the best for you. One set couldn't take care of you properly, so they loved you so much that they gave you to another set that could. And you were chosen by the second set.
When you are six (and get another sibling), it means you ask for a brother and get a sister. So much for the 'choosing' crap. It also means that you get in the car and go pick up the new sibling (sister, really?) with your parents, mommy doesn't have to go to the hospital. And she doesn't get 'fat' like all your friends' mommies when they get siblings.
When you are eight, you start to learn about genetics in school. You learn that you must have two parents with blue eyes if you have blue eyes. You learn that one of your parents has to have brown eyes if you have brown eyes. You start crying and ask your teacher why you have brown eyes, because both of your parents have blue eyes. You have a meltdown because you are a genetic freak. And all the while, you know the truth. It becomes a game you play every time they start talking about genetics in school, because science is boring and it is your job to spice it up a bit, and also, apparently, being an antagonist is in your genetic make-up, too.
But then you honestly and un-antagonistically start to wonder what this other set of parents look like. Obviously, one of them has brown eyes. Obviously, one of them has brown hair. And one of them has to be extremely short. Who has the uni-brow? Who is left-handed? Do they both have innies for belly buttons? Which one has a smashed up little nose? Who did I get my perfectly-aligned toes from?
And then you begin to wonder about talents and the things you do and are. About nurture vs nature, even though you don't know that term yet. You wonder which of your parents can write a story. Is that genetic? You wonder which one of them is athletic. Is that the same as having brown hair? Your wondering continues every time you do something, for the rest of your life. Does my birthmother or birthfather do this? My handwriting looks nothing like my mom's, kind-of like my dad's, but is that genetic? Who likes to read?
When you are between the ages of twelve and seventeen, it means you are full of angst. Like every other adolescent. And in that angst, you decide you'd be better off with your birthparents, much like children whose parents are divorced, only you don't have this option because you don't know who the hell these people are or where to find them. You fantasize that they are rich Park Avenue type people, living in high society, drinking their morning orange juice from champagne flutes, having proper tea in the afternoon in china cups, and dining in ball gowns and tuxedos at a long table. In this fantasy, they are anxiously awaiting your return, and will take you on a shopping spree once you find them, so that you can fit in their world, so you can dine with them. Their life, and yours, will be one big party, with no curfews, no grounding, no fights...a perfect, storybook life.
When you are in your twenties, you begin to wonder about medical issues. You wonder about cancer and heart disease and female issues. You start to get irritated because you cannot answer the simple questions at the doctors office. You seriously begin to wonder what is going to happen to you.
You start looking. You wonder where to start. And once you get started, you can't stop. It becomes an obsession. If you are lucky (as I was), it doesn't take long. But it is an emotional rollercoaster.
You get the first letter. It is awkward. You write one back. Even more awkward. What do you say to this woman? Where do you begin the catch-up process? It's been years...do you start at nineteen days old, when you were brought home? Do you start at high school? Do you just ask your questions and hope she doesn't ask any back?
I don't know. I don't even remember much of what was in that first letter. I know I asked if I could ask her questions, because I did ask and got a lot of answers in the ones that followed. I sent some pictures of myself. I received some in return. I guess there is closure in that. I do know that I am more complete because I could ask. Because I know who she is. Because she is now a part of my life.
Now in my mid-thirties, the need has changed. As it has continued to my whole life. My birthmother and I do not keep in constant contact. We send letters on our birthdays, Mother's Day, and Christmas. She is a person I think of often, though. I am grateful for the decision she made.
I have really good parents. They have taken care of me beyond measure. They have supported me my whole life in every whim and decision. I have a college education. I have a car. I have had a roof over my head for every minute of my life, whether it be theirs or my own. They have given me the skills to participate in the world around me. They have made decisions for the betterment of their family, and I am a part of that family. And they have loved me. Always.
I have a birthmother who has been open and honest with me.
What does it mean to be adopted?
Nothing. I have a mom and dad like everyone else.
It means I have that two sets of parents loved me so much that they are willing to do the best for me.