Thursday, July 10, 2014

Aging Mothers

My birth-grandmother just turned 90. I know almost nothing about her. 

I didn't have grandparents while I was growing up. As a child of older parents, as a lot of adoptive children are (after all, adoption is the last resort after years of trying, and then the whole ordeal of adoption can take years), my adoptive grandparents were dead by the time I was born. I always envied my friends who had grandparents, imagining they were enjoying getting spoiled rotten and eating fresh-baked cookies that they helped make. 

Reunion gave me the chance to finally have grandparents. After all, I was only 18 when I first met Kate. A few years after that, I had the opportunity to meet Kate's parents, my grandparents. Kate lived in Oregon, I was in Jersey finishing college, so I was on my own for the get together. My grandfather came to pick me up from the train station in New Jersey, I lived with my parents about an hour away. He swooped his car right up next to me, though we hadn't yet met. I asked how he knew it was me, and he said with a smirk, "Oh, I could tell." 

He took me back to his home and I met with him and Kate's mom, my grandmother. We each sat in different corners of the living room, having a conversation about who knows what - I remember none of it. I just remember the odd mix of feeling excitement, kinship, warmth and welcome alongside of the knowledge that they were the main deciders that I would be cast away from their family. So, the friendliness was more than a little awkward. 

And while I have some memories of Kate's dad's humor and personality, her mom was mostly ghost-like to me. She didn't say much and I could feel her keep her distance. 

That was twenty years ago. While my relationship with Kate, my birthfather, my sisters, and my aunts and uncles has twisted, turned, deepened and richened over the years, my relationship with my birth-grandparents has remained frozen, stuck in friendly awkwardness. They don't reach out to me, and I don't to them. We exist in our worlds, known to each other but unknown. 

As my birth-grandmother reaches her 90th year, I wonder if she ever thinks of me. 


to view my birthmother's blog on the same topic, go to mothertone


Thoughts? Reflections? Opinions?

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