It's been an emotional day. I went with MIH to meet her first mom for only the second time. First Mom lives a few hours away and we were meeting up to take her to lunch as a celebration of her 75th birthday. On the drive out there our casual chit chat couldn't mask the underlying smorgasbord of emotion. What to expect? What to ask? What to feel? So many questions -- how will this new family intersect with the existing family - if at all?
MIH was warm but a little guarded when First Mom opened the door and hugged her. First Mom seemed smaller in person that her picture. I watched MIH intently to see how she was reacting to all of this. I found it mind boggling ... We sat with First Mom for a while in her home and I couldn't resist asking a few questions about MIH's first father and brothers. The pain on First Mom's face was evident but her eyes sparkled with hope. MIH's eyes were perpetually brimming - with an occasional rogue tear escaping.
Naked truth. First Mom was brave and honest as she described her life and choices. MIH was equally honest as she in turn described the life she had lead with her adopted parents. It occurred to me that I was witnessing a second chance for these beautiful strong women. There is time. First Mom was so young when she had MIH - that she is only 17 years older. As they exchanged stories and tried to compress 53 years of life into 2 hours I couldn't help but note the similarities between them. I couldn't resist the occasional enthusiastic "MIH does that too!"
Both women are warm and somewhat reserved -- maybe cautious is the better word. They have faced personal challenges and longed for that which they were missing. They share an attitude of living choices - and choosing attitudes. Both did the best they could and made the most of the circumstances they were handed. Neither time nor space has prohibited the seedlings of familiarity from taking root. Family.
Sharing. Acceptance. Empathy. Forgiveness. Second chances. What a gift!