It's been sixteen years since I first (as an adult) met my birth mother, J****.
I can't imagine what she went through as a pregnant fourteen year old, and then as that girl, the one who had a baby, when she went back to High School and then on through the rest of her own young life.
I may not have mentioned this about her before, but she's really amazingly smart. She got a Ph.D. from a really REALLY prestigious university AND received a really prestigious fellowship.
She took her life story and turned it into one of strength and hope and positivity. When I met her, I was amazed at what a warm, bright, happy person she was.
Sixteen years ago, I was...oh, not all that awesome in many ways. I was in a series of muddles: married to Big Gay Ex, having lots of problems with my adopted family, dropping in and out of college as I could or could not pay for each semester.
I was articulate, which sometimes made me seem bright and driven and determined, but I wasn't really, just smashing my way through a messy young adulthood.
I screwed up a lot.
J**** is someone with whom I desperately want to have a relationship - for many reasons. Some of which I acknowledge are healthy and some not, in that they are snarled up in my own self-discovery rather than in focusing outward on that relationship.
At first, I'd communicate with J**** every few weeks, though all the chaos that was my life in my twenties. That time period stretched until it was just at holidays - and when we did talk, things were a more and more awkward.
Things in her life also got more complicated, and a number of good things, but also a number of sad things, happened to her, which seemed to make the distance between us broader.
A friend gave me advice to remember that J**** had a baby as a child herself. She went through HUGE difficulties to become the woman she is. Whatever painful stories she has been through, those, along with guilt and anxiety, surface for her every time we communicate. And each time might be as painful as the first time we met.
I've really tried to take that to heart.
So lately (as in, the past 4-5 years), I've been sending her little e-mail notes 2-3 times a year, with pictures of us and a little summary of where we are and what we're doing.
Usually there is no response, but occasionally I'll get an e-mail and photos back. And even though each time she doesn't respond is privately wrenching, I just keep trying.
This year, my most recent e-mail, with an update about Jamie's surgery and Mother's Day greetings, bounced.
That was my last point of contact with her, and I have been finding this devestating.
She's not dead, but she's removed the one way I had to reach out to her.
I had written a longer, more self-absorbed post about all the screw-ups I've made which may have brought her to decide, despite my lack of recent crazy, not to know me, but ultimately, ULTIMATELY, I can only say that I've made mistakes but so does everybody. The mistake I want to NOT make, however, is that of giving up hope completely.
So, in hope, and with the only method left to me at all,
Happy Mother's Day, Janet.
I love you.
And thank you always,