Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Birthday Wish

I don't remember the last time I blogged twice in three days, but this is a special occasion. Today is my birthday!

I hate my birthday. Well, no, hate isn't the right word. Mostly because I like cake, but also because I like cake. Dean Koontz said that where there's cake, there's hope, and there's always cake.

But as I may have mentioned last year (I'd give you the link but I don't feel like finding it) I tend to have disappointing birthdays, and sad birthdays, and so I have learned to have absolutely zero expectations. My birthday is just another day. Shorter of breath, one day closer to death, right? As long as I get my cake, I'm okay.

This year, there is only one thing I wanted for my birthday. I wanted if for my last birthday too but I was more patient then. I wasn't sure it would happen this year, even though I wanted it to very badly. It was completely out of my control, and all I could do was pray. Then I heard that it was going to happen ... and then maybe it wasn't, and I got a little angry at God and frustrated with the general unfairness of life. It wasn't something selfish I wanted. It wasn't for me. For the first time since placement, I wanted something for someone else more than I wanted anything for myself. I wasn't asking for a miracle. Well, maybe I was. But only a small miracle.

About a week ago, I had hope again, and I prayed quite desperately for several days, telling God in no uncertain terms what I wanted to happen and for whom. Just this one thing, and I wouldn't even care what happened for at least the rest of the year. I just needed this one little miracle, and I could handle everything else.

Last week, I got my birthday wish. I got my miracle, by which I mean that P and M got theirs. My little Roo is a big sister! I don't even have words for how happy and excited and grateful I am. It doesn't matter to me how my birthday goes anymore. If I start to feel sad, all I have to do is look at the picture I have of Roo holding a chubby-cheeked new baby (with a little help) and the world is an awesome place again.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

In Which Jill Talks About Her Feelings

I hate trying to blog when I haven't blogged in a while. I feel the need to explain my absence, to say something profound, to make a Big Statement. I have started and abandoned twenty different posts since the last one, and absolutely nothing I tried to say felt right.

It's not that I'm having these deep emotional thoughts I can't express, though. My life is pretty awesome. But I wonder if that's part of the problem. I've always had more to say when I've been upset. Some of my best writing came from my darkest times. What is up with that? I mean, I know that there are these cliches about tortured artists and tragic clowns and everything, but that's messed up. Maybe some people need trauma to bring out their inner genius, and maybe I once did too, but in the words of Homer Simpson, that ship has sailed. I have been a happy person for quite some time now, and I plan on being a happy person for the rest of my life.

This is the other reason I hate trying to blog when I haven't blogged in a while. I end up mentioning clowns and Homer Simpson and I still haven't said anything of value. I probably won't say anything of value today, either, so brace yourselves. 

Last week I did an outreach presentation at a high school in Ahwatukee. (The location isn't particularly important, but Ahwatukee is a fun name.) It wasn't my first presentation of the school year - that was in September and I don't think I wrote about it because I've been ten kinds of lazy lately - but it was the longest at four classes in a row. There's a danger in doing four classes in a row. I feel like the first class gets the best version of my story. By the last class, I can't remember what I've mentioned already and I am easily distracted and I tend to be underemotional about some things. Blogger has put a squiggly red line under the word "underemotional" but I don't care, I want it to be a word today and I don't feel like hyphenating it.

I noticed something on Thursday, though. I did not cry.

I used to be big on crying when I did presentations. Not for effect (although doesn't that seem like something I'd do?) but because I could not get through my story without turning into what I believe the kids these days would call a hot mess, because placement was so expletive deleted hard, and I missed my baby SO MUCH, and just thinking about it took me back to that dark and lonely time. It helped, if that's the right word, that I was still not a particularly happy person, so it wasn't too hard to pull those feelings up for reference. Now that I am a happy person, it is much harder.

I got a little choked up when I mentioned Roo being born because that was such a defining moment for me - I don't think I have even gotten that far in my excruciatingly long and drawn-out story on this blog - but that was the extent of it. And I felt kind of weird, thinking about it, that I would utter a phrase like "I didn't think I could hurt that much and still be alive" and not even have a fizzy throat. I felt kind of deceitful.

I'm not sure why. I was telling the truth - it was the worst I've hurt in my whole life. But it felt wrong somehow that I could talk about it without being upset. I wonder if that's part of the reason I hung on to my unhappiness for so long. I figured out two years ago that part of why I couldn't let go of the pain was because I felt like I needed it - I needed to hurt to prove to myself that I love Roo and that placement was a hard thing. I wonder if the other part of it is that I needed to hurt because it gave me credibility.

But pain is exhausting. Hurting all the time made it hard to get out of bed in the morning. I had to let it go, and I am so glad I did! Because while being sad may have made me credible as far as the difficulty of placement, it didn't do much for the overall message I wanted to send, which was that adoption is a really awesome thing. I mean, if I sat through a presentation that was supposed to be pro-adoption and the birth mom who spoke was still a wreck, I wouldn't be any more inclined to place a child. I'd feel really sad for the birth mom but I would tell myself that if that's what placement does to a person, I'm staying away from it. That is not the point of me taking a morning off work and telling a hundred high school students embarrassingly personal things about my life.

The point is that I think adoption is pretty rad, and Roo is really ridiculously happy, and so am I, and even though I was a deeply unhappy person for at least a solid year, I'm not that person anymore. I am happy and I have a really awesome life.

I probably could have just said that to the disinterested looking teenagers and cut twenty minutes off my presentation, but I do like to tell a good story. Mostly, I like to tell a long story, which isn't news if you have ever read this blog before. Boy, do I like to tell a long story. I have always admired people who can express themselves succinctly. I think it's a remarkable skill. It's like juggling. I can be amazed at how easy other people make it look, but every time I decide to try it for myself, I end up with a headache.

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I think P and M are pretty much the coolest people I know. They are fantastic parents, and they are smart, and patient, and thoughtful, and a lot of other great things. If I ever grow up, I want to be just like them. When I was pregnant and considering adoption, one birth mom suggested looking for a couple that reminded me of myself - "That way it's like another version of you is parenting your baby." I am SO glad I did not take her advice. Roo already has to combat the genes I gave her; I wouldn't want to compound the problem by choosing parents for her with all of my neuroses.

I think I was trying to make a point, and here it is. I am such a wordy person. I can't accept that a picture is worth a thousand words. I will find a picture worth a thousand words, and I will give it a 10,000-word caption. When I edit my writing, I add to it instead of taking away. One of my earliest memories is of being told to shut up. My childhood nickname was Little Miss Chatterbox. I could go on.

One of the things that I love about M is that when she says something, she says exactly what she wants to say, without saying anything else. Where I would be pulling adjectives out of the air, she simply says what she needs to say and stops talking or writing. For instance, M would have finished this blog post about eight paragraphs ago. I still don't know where I'm going with it. I should probably be done for now.

But I will blog again soon, and when I do, I have some exciting news to share.