How a half an hour at the orthodontists office leads to an insight

(first published Sept 2008)

Took all the kids to my 10yo’s orthodontist visit. They love having new toys to play with so I was able to peruse a few magazines. Spent 10 minutes leafing through a recap of the Olympics. Then on to an article about a woman who met her birth mom many years ago at age 19, and how she has tried to reconcile having both mothers in her life – how it was much like “spinning plates” and hard to keep everyone happy.

So I get in the car, and as I’m trying in vain to get out of the cramped parking lot with my big van (why do these images hit me at these times? LOL) I’m hit with an image of the syncronized swimmers from the Olympics. We have talked a lot at home lately about them. The sport is beautiful, but certainly difficult and exhausting. And I was struck by the thought that without roots, one is forced to float. But it’s not just like floating, it’s more like treading water. So an adoptee may feel “rootless” due to not knowing about their ancestors –their faces, their stories, their love. The adoptees life may look beautiful, may even BE beautiful, but it is exhausting floating, treading water one’s whole life.

A thought from a homeschooling book

(first published Sept 2007)

This morning I started reading Have Fun. Learn Stuff. Grow. by David Albert. Part of the preface (and I’m not sure yet what it has to do with the rest of the book) told a story of two men. Two men in identical boats, equipped with the same things, on the same sea, trips identical in every way but one. The first man *planned* to go out to sea for 40 days, to do some experiments on ideas he thought about the sea. The second man was shipwrecked, and did not know when his time on the sea would end, nor did he plan to be there.

Mr. Albert goes on to make his point. The first man came off those 40 days tired but excited and mentally stimulated. He couldn’t wait to go back and do it again. The second man, the shipwrecked man, felt as if he had just lived 40 days of his worst nightmare and never wanted to enter the sea again. At the end of the little story, Mr. Albert says, “Which one is more like your education? Your life?” (I may be paraphrasing here, I don’t have the book in front of me.)

That story really struck me as something that could be included in this blog. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like my adoption makes me much more like the shipwrecked man than the “man with the plan.” Being relinquished by birth parents does give many adoptees that feeling of “being adrift,” of “being at the top of a black hole of space” as if any little loss of connection to your safe world could send one careening into nothingness with no way to stop the free fall…or set adrift on a wild sea with no knowledge of rescue.

I often have those feelings of “I didn’t choose any of this!” even to this day. The last 13 years have been very stressful, with many moves, births, deaths, new jobs, etc. I have trouble remembering in many cases that I’m just “choosing to trust God” (like in timing of new babies) rather than choosing for myself “the plan I want.” I think it is also part of the problem I’m having with relinquishing my control to my husband as the head of the family. I guess my job now is to figure out how to be the first man, the man who *chose* to be on the sea for an adventure. How to choose that while still being a servant to my family, a “second in command” to my husband’s leadership…

Hmmmm…I wish this blog was coming up with a better ratio of answers to questions!

An aha moment

(first published Jan 2007)

I hope this makes sense, because I’m trying to get it down while the kids are milling around and dinner is about to implode, lol.

I was looking at a beautiful home of a fellow blogger, again musing about the fact that I thought she had “style” and I did not have a style – at least not one I could define and bring into my home to make it an expression of myself. I started thinking about how I do SO much here because it would make my dh happy, even when it is against what I would naturally choose…actually most of our time together is like that. I love him SO deeply it is worth it to give to him like that… BUT…

it hit me all of a sudden the reason I feel such a DEEP need for a “style,” a specific mark I can make on this world, a visible/tangible mark of ME, is that I fear that when I get to the end of my life, I will feel like I never existed if I don’t have that. Without those ties to my past – that feeling of being part of a line of humanity that goes into the past and the future, I feel like I have to make myself up with “my things” and “my ways”. Giving up my choice of night time entertainment so that I can pay attention to dh and watch his shows or talk to him or whatever – or doing anything and everything the way would make others happy instead of me – it’s such a big deal to me. It’s like by dying to self I just cease to exist. There is no “self” to die to or something, and I’m just a blank nothing, not a holy person loving another.

I wish I could explain this better. I think this is the tip of the iceberg of a lot of problems I’m having here with relating to my family and my God. Because these feelings aren’t stopping me from doing these things (i.e. do what others want, not me), they are just stopping me from feeling whole, being happy, being real, existing, being…