Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day, 2012

This is a photograph of me, circa age 6, with my parents. I think it's from a family vacation in Florida, but I'm not sure.  (I suspect my sister, 13 at the time, took the picture.) What I am sure of is how much I was loved.

I've talked about the story of my family on this blog in the past: I was adopted as a tiny infant, just five days old. My parents, for whatever reason, were utterly open about my birth story. I grew up knowing that they had chosen me, had wanted me, had traveled all the way across the country from New York to California to bring me home.

My mother always called me her special order from G-d. My dad used to tease me and call me 'rice-a-roni' because I was the San Francisco treat. (That was their tag line from an old commercial.)

I'm not sure I realized until I was much, much older how unusual their matter-of-fact treatment of my adoption story was.  In college, I met a girl who didn't find out she was adopted until she was a teenager and she struggled with identity confusion and heartache for many years. This was far more common in the 1960s and 70s than my parent's openness.

Back then, there wasn't anything like today's open adoptions. Adoption was a shameful secret, both for the mothers giving up their babies, and the parents adopting. Adoption equaled loss for too many people.

Today, on Mother's Day, I think of two mothers. The woman who bore me, who understood she was too young to be a mother, and the mother who raised me, who cherished me, who only made me feel special and wanted.

Happy Mother's Day to both women, and to all who mother.  May you be loved, may you be filled with lovingkindness, may you know peace.

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