Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I haven't blogged much lately at all, and I feel the need to empty my brain, so here goes, in no particular order. Also, I'm tired, so this is probably going to be more moody and introspective and goofy than usual, but here it is.

I've been missing Roo a bit more than usual lately. I'm not sure why.

Maybe it's because her birthday is coming up. Maybe it's because I've been seeing more babies than usual at work. Maybe it's because I've been able to spend more time with my brother and his family these days, and seeing his kids makes me wonder what it would be like if I had a kid, too.

Whatever the reason, I find myself thinking more about her than I usually do. Two years ago she was still snug in my belly, kicking and stretching at odd hours and making me perpetually uncomfortable. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those days, physically miserable as they were. There was a peace in knowing that she was always with me, that she was healthy and happy and had everything she needed,

It's not that I worry about such things now. Although I don't get the updates I used to right after placement, I know that Roo is well. She has wonderful parents who love her dearly. I don't have any reason to think she isn't the happiest little girl in the world.

But this happy little girl isn't mine, precisely. She's P and M's. I love her, but the more time that passes the stranger it feels to love her so much. I suppose that some part of me thought maybe I would love her a little less as she got older and became more of a stranger to me. But my heart doesn't work that way. I don't think it will matter how old she gets or how she changes. I love her just the same, just as much.

I find myself thinking a lot about my birth grandmother lately, too. Sometimes I wish I could talk to her, to ask her questions and borrow some of her strength. I often wonder where she got it, how she was able to place her baby girl and pick herself up so quickly, never speaking of what happened to anyone. I wish I could ask her if her love ever changed, if she ever stopped wondering.

Is it strange to miss a relationship I never had? I think I do. I miss Roberta. I like to think, in my more fanciful moments, that she would have understood me, that she would know just the right things to say to me when I miss Roo too much. I don't know why I think she would have any special insight. I mean, I'll talk about things at my birth mom group and no one there has ever shared a mind-blowing insight that made things all better. But group is funny that way. I don't go because of what people have to say. I go because of the feeling there - that even if no one knows what to say, they know how I feel - maybe not exactly, but they get the idea.

Usually they do, anyway. But sometimes things come up and I think, who on earth can I consult about this? For instance, after placement, I just boxed everything up and put it away. I have all of the accouterments needed for taking care of a baby. The only thing I'm missing is diapers. I put it all away hoping that I would meet someone and marry and have another child within a few years of placement. But the more time that passes - the more I get a sense of what the next several years of my life are going to be - the more I think it's foolish to hang on to things. I'm obviously never going to marry, which means no children, which means I have no use for Onesies and blankets and a crib. I have these moments where I think I should just list the lot of it on Craig's List and be done with it. But I don't feel like I'm quite ready for that. It would be nice if I could talk to someone about it, someone who would understand, someone who could say to hang onto things for four years but not past five.

Although I suspect my mother would be happier if she didn't have all my Roo things in her garage through 2014.

I think I'd be happier if she didn't, too.

There was a time, probably a year ago, when I thought that I could never leave my mother's house, because that's where my memories lived - of my dad, and of Roo. I thought it would hurt too much to live someplace memory-free, somewhere no one I love has ever been. But I think moving out was a good thing, because I find more and more than the real pain comes in being in the same place as those memories. When I go to my mom's house, I'm crushed by them. I think, here's where I showed Roo off to my grandmother. Here's where my father sat to listen when I played the piano. Here's where Roo's crib was. Here's where I gave her a bath, and here's where I paced the floor with her when her tummy hurt too much for sleep.

It's overwhelming. Sometimes I can't breathe in that house. It feels haunted. My apartment is much safer. There are reminders of Roo, but they're mostly tucked away, or if they aren't I know exactly where they are, so I don't have to confront anything I don't want to. I don't have to grieve when I want to be happy. It's easier to avoid the pain. Things will sneak up on me at my mom's. I'll be minding my own business, picking up my mail or catching up with my mother, when a memory will catch my eye or tap me on the shoulder.

It's exhausting.

I wonder sometimes if that's why I've slept better since I moved. There are no memories here. My apartment is a blank slate, nothing hanging around waiting to invade my dreams. Not that I've been sleeping great, but you know those nights where even though you're tired you can't fall asleep no matter what, and you lie there for hours and hours until finally it's time to get up and you're still awake? I've only had one of those nights since I moved.

But at the same time, there are moments where the emptiness of my apartment is a little lonely. Here, where no memories live, it's almost as though I never had a father, never got pregnant, never brought a baby home and was her mother. Here it sometimes feels like Roo was never mine at all, and the love I feel for her is that much more puzzling.

I need to create new memories here - happy ones, so that it's okay if they decide to intrude. I've never been very good at creating happy memories - why is it so much easier to remember unhappy things? - so I'm going to have to practice.

Maybe I'll start with my houseplant, Rufus. I think he's gotten complacent. I'll re-pot him, give his roots room to stretch, and watch his leaves perk up. As the weeks pass by I can look back and think, remember when I re-potted him, and I was worried he wouldn't like it? See how happy he is now, how much better he is. He only needed a little breathing room.

Just like me.


Black Betty said...

Go ahead, list the lot of it.

Susie said...

"I often wonder where she got it, how she was able to place her baby girl and pick herself up so quickly, never speaking of what happened to anyone. I wish I could ask her if her love ever changed, if she ever stopped wondering."

I would bet that she didn't pick herself up quickly. I'm sure that she never stopped wondering, and that the love for her child only grew over time. What she was able to do was bury and hide her pain and loss from everyone. If you would ask anyone in my life how I did after losing my son, they would probably say the same as you did above about your grandma.

I'm sorry you are having a tough time...

luna said...

just sending you some virtual love.

Lara Zierke said...

This isn't the same at all, but the closest I can come.

When I was a teen, I lost a very important person to me. A boy I was deeply in love with and just knew was the love of my life and would marry. And maybe we wouldn't have but our story never got to that point. At the point I lost him, he was all I could see of the future.

For many years - even after I fell in love and married a good man - I tortured myself with memories and momentos. Things like hand written letters and meaningful songs. I couldn't move on. But I liked the hurt because it meant what we had was real...or had been real once upon a time.

When I realized how much that was damaging my current relationship and life, I put those torture devices away. Sure, there's still a small box at the top of the closet with a few things. And I can't avoid every Cure song that comes on the radio...and when I run into something like that, the pain is just as harsh...but I have put away the ghosts that haunt me and it's been a lot better. My perspective has changed. I've grown. I'm a better person, wife, friend, etc.

Like you're saying, I think it is healthier to move away from those ghosts. It's bittersweet...and you feel like you're cheating on that love by moving on from it...but it's better. At least I think it's better. Those ghosts will always be there...if you ever need to revisit them.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jill

Just to let you know Im always thinking of you and wanted to nominate you for a blog awards