As I watched my beautiful adult daughter wipe her tears through my iPad screen as she shared her heartbreak, something inside me collapsed. The way she balled up her delicate hands and wiped her eyes with her palms in exactly the same way she did as a toddler yanked me back a few decades like a time traveling leash.
In that moment, I was surprised when my thoughts turned to my birth parents and how they have never experienced the aching joy of their birth granddaughters. They’ll probably never know my eldest’s unique combination of sensitivity and strength – of how she balances her emotions and scientific prowess – of how her self-awareness is fueled by extreme intelligence and compassion.
They will never know how my youngest courageously overcame her language disability. When we dropped her off at art school last week, heartache and pride engulfed me, realizing there were times we didn’t think she would ever go to college (she only said 5 words as a 2 ½ year old). As she laser focused on taking charge of unpacking and preparing for the intense art studio work ahead, I knew she would be just fine.
My birth mother does not know the ache and love I feel for my girls. After years of being angry about my adoption, I turned a corner and now understand that she not only suffered loss when she chose adoption, but her loss continues – the loss of knowing little toddlers who wipe their tears with the palms of their balled up fists – the loss of knowing the resilience and strength of the young women I am proud to call my daughters. They are a part of my birth mother’s legacy, but not a part of her soul. I am still hopeful that maybe one day we will meet and her loss will be replaced with love. Maybe.