Poem Art: Elusive

poem art 3

I had a conversation today with a person who played a prominent role in my past. He said something that triggered a visceral, and for me, odd reaction. It was odd, because it surprised me, that I could feel such a ‘gut’ feeling (like I had been punched in the gut) to a very simple thing this person said in a perfectly normal conversation. It wasn’t like we had delved into the past or were reminiscing… and yet, the comment, in a sense, was about the past, because it referenced a place we had shared together.

This moment touched off many thoughts in me. Like what constitutes relationships and ‘falling in love’ with someone? And is love even the right way to approach a relationship? Should it be more about wanting or needing something–for yourself; in others?

Certainly at my age, love seems a far cry from where I am these days. My relationships with people close to me seem to be based on things much more involved than love. Things that seem even more important and lasting than love if that makes any sense. The things that keep people together–the glue.

Those of you that have lasting relationships of any kind know what I mean here, so I won’t explain what I am talking about. Love can be fleeting and fickle and hard to get a grasp on. But we can still build strong, solid and meaningful bonds even after the love may turn into something strange or convoluted. Or maybe if the ‘love’ was strange from the start.

So can I re-evaluate life and how to live it more openly? To be open to a different way to to be with someone if love isn’t the defining point? It’s another perspective really, but not unfamiliar. It’s a theme that has repeated in my life.

What is the ‘want’ then…or the ‘need’? These become the hard questions to ask. Because simply hoping to exchange love with someone, I feel, is not where I should place my hope.

It seems it should be in far more reliable, tangible and maybe simple things that will help to grow a connection with someone else; things that will ultimately not vanish, just in case the love remains elusive.



Raise The Bar

What is the fate of two particular people meeting each other? I’m sure we each can come up with some fantastic story of how some people you know first came together.

For instance, my Mother and step-dad, who were married many years-met on a plane. He was considerably older than she was, but apparently quite taken with her. In those years, my mom owned a very large wall paper business in one of the boroughs of Manhattan. She also had a very unusual last name, which she had shared with this man (my step-dad) on the plane. When they parted ways, he eventually called the store (which he remembered), got her secretary on the phone, but did not recall my mom’s name. As luck would have it the secretary was used to people mispronouncing her name and put her on the phone. Had she said there was no-one there by that name, they would not have gone on to have a long and happy marriage.

This is a happy story. You may have one. We call it fate. Maybe it’s the combination of a particular mixing of genes that makes one kid be the child of a famous rock star and another of a pauper. Sometimes we may search to make a particular connection and find that right person….and fail. The way that two people come together can happen in a variety of ways: sometimes actively, sometimes passively.

Sadly at times fate puts us in the path of the wrong person. We hear on the news all the time of kidnappings, random shootings and other awful atrocities. Why do those particular people cross paths?

There are those that may believe it’s divine intervention. Some may believe it’s coincidence. Others think there’s no such thing as coincidences at all–that everything happens for a reason. Why the bad things happen to good people, we may never understand.

Whatever you believe, we come in contact with others all the time. A best friend may appear almost by chance and stay with you for your whole life. Even casual friendships may be right around the corner wherever you may turn. These are the connections we want to draw to us.

Trying to be open to these contacts may be the key. Seeing the positive and putting out the good vibrations may bring a wonderful connection to us. Hoping for the best in people may not save us from the bad, but it raise the bar a tiny bit in those we meet.

National Adoption Month: Post 4- The Mother I Lived With

It always amazed me when people told me I looked my mother. I supposed it was because people just say that to children. I wanted to say: I’m adopted so I can’t look like my mother. Or maybe I had picked up mannerisms of hers? Was that what they were seeing? But she always thought it was some secret we shared and thought it was cool. I guess for me it kind of ticked me off.

My mom and I were different in many ways and this became really apparent to me as I got older. Especially in my teenage years. I suppose every teenager feels that way about their parents, but an adoptee feels the sting of this even more so. Being an only child also, I tended to want to be in the company of other people a lot. And I also was a talker and shared a lot about everything-something my mother didn’t appreciate. She was much more private and still is to this day. Our styles were different and our emotional selves completely opposite.

She adopted me as a toddler and it was a bold move in many ways when she did it. Owning her own business at the time and married to a man who wasn’t in favor of the idea of adopting a child. But she plowed ahead with the idea anyway. She is a strong woman and had great support of her family, my wonderful extended adopted family. They all participated in the whole ordeal from naming me, to running out and buying clothes, to baking food when the state social worker finally came to see if her home was suitable. Yes, things were not like they are now back in the 50’s!

Her marriage collapsed and all she took from it was me. That’s all she wanted-not the business, house, car or money. I wondered over the years if she ever regretted that decision with all the grief I gave her! But she went on to carve a life out and married a man much older. He was a wonderful step dad to me for many years.

Our relationship through the years was always interesting. She’s a brilliant and creative woman. She is strong and taught me to be a strong woman. I find myself quoting her all the time these days. But she’s stubborn and there were things she wouldn’t budge on–at least not for years. For instance, I begged for my adoption story, but she claimed not to remember it. I found that doubtful. Not until I was 50 and got her at a vulnerable time did she finally put all the scraps together and pasted a picture together. It was one I should have known many years prior! And I was very sad she hadn’t given it to me sooner.

But in my later years I have come to grips with many things about her and us. Like any mother, she did the best she could. She may have had her reasons for not telling me. She may not have understood how critically important it was for me to know. It may have been too painful for her to tell. I’m trying to forgive the not telling. She has not participated much in my children’s lives much either. I can’t understand this. I’ve wondered recently if it’s because  the attachment was only to me and she just doesn’t really see them as an extension of me? It’s has hurt me and I know it has hurt them. And she surely has missed out on something beautiful. But what is done is done.

My mom also holds grudges sometimes I think which I also don’t understand. She said something to me today about something that happened 18 years ago and I know it was still bothering her. It made me think this contributes to why she hasn’t participated in my kid’s lives. So sad. Maybe I’m wrong–but either way, the time has passed now and they are all adults and they barely know her. I only know I don’t want this to happen when my children have children. It’s an example I won’t follow.

In the end though, I am very grateful for what my mother gave me. She took me off the streets and gave me a life. I’m sure I never would have had the opportunities I have now without her. We are not blood and we struggle to figure each other out  and some days it’s difficult. But the love is there and I would do anything for her. I wish some things had been different, but hey, most families feel that way. So we keep trying. If she only understood that my need to know my story of my birth never diminished my story of my life and love of her.