A few days ago, I missed Roo.
This is nothing new. I miss her quite a bit, not in a sad way, just in the sense that I love and adore her and I don't see her every single day. I don't need to see her every single day, mind you, and I certainly wouldn't expect to. But when you love someone, and you're not around them, you miss them. It's not a sad or angst-filled thing. It's just ... a thing. I miss her, and I smile at the thought of her because I love her so much and she is so precious and amazing.
Anyway. I happened to mention this - that I missed Roo - to a friend, and she said, "It's always going to hurt, isn't it?"
I think I responded in the affirmative, because it seemed like the thing to do. But I've been thinking about her question since then, and the more I think about it, the more I think that I gave the wrong answer. It's not always going to hurt, and I know this because it doesn't hurt.
I should say, it doesn't hurt in the ways that my friend and that others probably expect. But even then, I don't think that hurt will always be there.
I've been trying to figure out how to explain this for a few days, because I feel compelled to talk to my friend and tell her that she was wrong about hurting. This is how I've worked it out in my head.
I still cry when I tell Roo's and my adoption story. Not a lot, and maybe not every single time, but I do cry. Usually the tears start when I talk about the day I met P and M, when Roo's daddy held her for the first time. These are happy tears. I have tried several times to blog about that day and that moment in particular but I stop each time because it was such a sacred moment and I don't want to cheapen it by reducing it to mere words on a blog.
When I tell that part of the story, I cry. And because I've got some kind of short in my brain, once I start crying, I find it very difficult to stop. So when I talk about placement, the tears are already there. I'm sure those who listen think I'm crying because placement hurt and I'm still upset. Placement did hurt, but it doesn't hurt anymore. Even remembering it doesn't hurt so much. It feels like something that someone else lived through, I think because I have changed so much since that day. I know rationally that it hurt, but whether it's mental health or a defense mechanism, I have a hard time feeling sad when I look back on that day.
It doesn't hurt. The part of my brain that remembers almost can't believe that, because I hurt so deeply and for so long. But that pain is gone. Roo is a happy thought. I can't think of her and feel sad. Those two ideas - Roo and sadness - cannot coexist in my mind. It's like they each require the complete attention of some cortex or other, and as soon as Roo comes to mind, sadness is forced out. There's never any pain.
Not when it comes to the real Roo, anyway. I've mentioned before that there are different Roos. There's Roo, who will be three - three! - this summer, and who is clever (genius, really) and sweet and busy and whose lion impression sounds more a like a dinosaur (but it is still the cutest roar I have ever heard). This Roo is my happy thought, my little friend, and my favorite person in the world.
The other Roo, the phantom Roo, is the Roo who was my newborn baby. This Roo ceased to exist when I signed placement papers. She's the one I grieved, and quite often when I mention "my baby" this is the Roo I'm talking about. I do miss the real Roo, but sometimes my arms just ache to hold newborn Roo again and be her mommy - to be a mommy, period.
This is where any pain factors in. It's not that I'm not Roo's mother, because she certainly doesn't feel like mine and I wouldn't change that. It's that I'm not anyone's mother, and I'm not getting any younger or any closer to motherhood. I like to think I've gotten through my grief but the fact is that while the heavy adoption grief is gone, I'm still grieving the life I thought I was going to live and the woman I thought I was going to be.
It's getting better. I am finally starting to be okay with who I am and where I am and the life I'm building on my own. But the one thing I am completely okay with - better than okay with, in fact - is the choice I made to place Roo with her parents. It's the best thing I have ever done. It always will be.