Monday, October 31, 2016
When we think of a home, we think of comfort and safety, a place to rest our head after a long day. But one of the greatest features we all often seek within our home is a warm wood burning fireplace. The delightful smell of wood crackling, popping as embers burn filling the home with a familiar scent we have come to love. It can take us back to happy places while growing up sitting around a roaring fire listening to stories shared by grandparents, family, or just a place to rest and chat with loved ones.
Yet, the fireplace can also be that one object that hide many things in one's life. There have been many people who have told, "In order to actually be done with the weight of worry, the fearful hurting past I want to you toss that "object" into your fireplace so it can no long haunt you. As it burns, it will be destroyed and you will regain your power once again."
The fireplace can be our sanctuary and at the same time it can destroy it one single toss.
Since I had this history of my birth place in Los Angeles, a hospital now torn down and now a home standing there for someone, I was pondering on the thought of how to bring this up with my mom and dad. Any conversation I had with my parents about my adoption was taking a toll on my mom. My thinking was she had to know I was going to ask someday. I guess in her mind what was done is done and I belonged to her and my dad only.
But, I finally decided to face the challenges of bringing this up. The information I had was too shocking for me to keep to myself. So, I got in my car and headed to my mom and dad's house.
Once I was there I carried the conversation as normal. Greeted them with kisses and hugs and just hung out. My good versus evil was battling in my mind. The evil side was screaming, "tell them, get it out in the open, who cares how they feel this is your life not theirs" the good side was tapping on me telling me, "your going to destroy the two people who loves you so much, why must you cause such pain to the one that loves you"
"Mom, dad, can I talk to you both about something, something I found out about myself?"
My dad stopped what he was doing and gazed at me with his piercing blue eyes, my mom was resting on the couch then sitting up also watching me wondering what I was going to say.
My heart was racing, my mind was screaming to shut up and lie to them about something else, my legs were rattling like bones it seemed. My parents were never ones to easily share my feelings with or to try to get them to understand my point of view. In my parents mind, their way was the right way and anything else was nonsense.
"Well, speak up child, say it or forget." my dad insisted.
"Well, I found out some information about the place I was born." there I said it, it was out and in the open. I had either started my very own war or they would want to hear what I have to say.
"Are you still on that kick, are you still insisting on finding something that just isn't there?" asked my mom with pain in her voice.
I was taken by surprise by my mom's words,. "something that just isn't there" what did that mean, why did she say it so matter of fact?
"I'm not going to have this conversation with you now or anytime soon." spatted my mom with venom in her voice. She stomped out of the room up to the second level of the house and then to her room slamming the door so hard it rattled every window in the house.
I didn't know what I was going to expect but I wasn't expecting that. My dad finished his tuna sandwich taking a bite looking out the over sized kitchen windows unsure what to say to me. He was the one I was expecting to have my back, he always had and I needed his support right now more then ever.
"Why is my adoption such a secret with mom, why does she get so pissed about this subject?" I asked painfully. I continued to watch my dad who never shifted his look to me so he could see my pain as well as my moms pain. He just shrugged his shoulders unsure of what to say. Finally at his last bite he cleared his throat tossed back the remaining milk in his glass. "well I guess that she was hoping that our love for you would take precedence in you wanting to know."
Talk about guilt!! Good God!!
"Dad, I have been carrying this around my entire life, I have wanted to know who my birth mom is, it's not to replace her or leave her or hate her, she needs to understand that this is just a piece of my life that is confusing for me. I just want to know, is that a crime to want to know?"
"You better clear that up with her, go make good with your mother do you hear me. Do it now." demanded my dad, "she doesn't need this pain right now, she is already dealing with so much."
"She is, what is she dealing with, what's wrong?"
"It doesn't concern you, leave it alone, but get up off that stool and go talk to her and whatever you say, be gentle to her please."
I made my way to their bedroom door then knocking gently. I tried to turn the nob but it was locked. I continued to knock and knock and finally she opened the door. I could see she had been crying. Her eyes red her face white as a sheet, her shoulders slumped down hard and heavy.
I reached out to hug her, I pressed her into my body, I clenched her tightly whispering how much I loved her and how sorry I was. As I pulled away she still wanted to cling to me, she wasn't ready to let go, she needed to be close to me.
I pulled away once again then taking her by her hand I lead her to the side of bed where we sat. I sighed heavy, so unsure what to say then it finally came to me.
"Mom, you will always be my mom, dad will always be my dad and nothing will ever change that ever. Don't you know that?"
My mom looked at me finally feeling defeated, she finally understood I was not going to let this go until I had some answers. I knew there was some kind of a family secret that she and my dad held between them both.
"When your dad and I learned we could not have kids, it devastated us both for so long. We tried for five years to have kids and well, with each month that came and went, one monthly period after the other, it was just to much for us to bear. So, we turned to adoption it was the only choice left for us to have our family we so much wanted."
I remember taking my mom's hands in mine. I could feel her trembling, I could see her chest racing and still she could not look at me.
"Go on, I want to know."
"Well, when we brought Don home, we knew right away we wanted another baby. Soon we found out that there was a baby girl which was you, that was supposed to go to another family, but they never answered their phone so they turned to us. We were so excited to see you that we got the entire family together and went down and picked you up."
I moved to be closer to my mom reassuring her with my hands squeezing hers. She cleared her throat and continued.
"You see, when a mother who gave her baby up in the sixties, she had six months to change her mind. She would of walked right up to the door of our house with the police and told us she wanted you back. We would be left with no choice but to hand you back. With each phone call or knock at the door., well, I just never answered any of them for fear of losing you."
"So that is the big secret with me, that is what you didn't want me to know?" I asked.
"No," my mom cupped her face in her hands with what seemed to look like embarrassment. She began to cry once again. I pulled her close to me reassuring her it was okay then pulling her back giving room to continue.
"So, then what is the big secret then?"
"We wanted you so badly and being I could never experience actually having children, I took all your birth information, your birth mom's name, where she lived, who she was, all the things you want to know and I tossed it into the fireplace and watched it burn."
"Wait," I said with confusion then turning to anger, "wait, let me get this straight, you took my life, "my life" and tossed it into the fireplace? Anything that had to do with my past and watched it burn? You mean to tell me I can never learn about who I am, my nationality, my life, and you just tossed it into the fireplace so you would believe that I was actually yours?"
I was so disgusted with her not only as a person, but as a mother.
And with one single breath, my life had changed forever right at that very moment.