What happens when families separated at birth come back together later in life? Well, it makes for confusing holidays.
My holidays are traditional. My mom is up from Florida, we're taking her and the kids to my mother-in-law's house for Thanksgiving dinner. My husband's mom is going to make the turkey and stuffing, we're going to make the pies. This, after all, is my family.
My birth-families are there in the backdrop, not quite a part of things. It's not that I intentionally leave them out, it's more that I don't understand how to fit them in. They have their families, their traditions, their lives. I have mine.
At other times of the year, our reunited life can feel normal-ish - a summer barbecue, for example, where we're all together feels simply ... easy. But, during the holidays, there is a spotlight on the separation.
Although other families have to deal with their family vs. the in-laws and different families from divorce, those are situations of balance - which family do you visit for which holiday. This is different. I could never NOT spend the holiday with my family, opting instead to spend one of the holidays with my birth family. Maybe others can do that, I cannot.
When it was looking like Kate was going to be back in Portland by Thanksgiving, she had planned a large extended family gathering to take place that weekend. Not on Thanksgiving itself, but the Saturday after. It was a way for us to celebrate the holiday together. But through no one's fault, plans changed - both on her end and on mine. Now Kate's extended family Thanksgiving is happening on Thanksgiving itself, and without me. Just as mine is without her.
The results of relinquishment run deep and continue on. Although we are part of each others lives and call each other family, it is still not quite right. Not quite blended. There is segregation - together, but separate. We're looking over into each other's lives. I see the family I should have been a part of, but I am not part of it. It's not that I am unhappy being in the family I am in. It's just a strange experience to be able to see the other life - the one you don't have. We live the natural consequence of a choice made 43 years ago. A choice I had no say in.
And that's just what it is. This is normal.
Grateful for what we have, but bitterly aware of what we're missing.
to view my birthmother's blog on the same topic, go to mothertone