Saturday, May 4, 2013

Our First Meeting

Picking a place to meet was not difficult for me.  For years I haunted our local Denny's and was both comfortable and familiar with the staff and atmosphere there.  I wanted a public place, just in case the situation became tense or unreadable.  I also asked my friend to come with me and, naturally, she agreed.  We arrived early and sat anxiously awaiting the woman who was responsible for bringing me into the world.  I had a million thoughts flooding my mind all at once. Would I recognize her? Would she look just like me? Should I hug her or stay in my seat? Would I like her, would I hate her? I almost panicked entirely and left.

I did not have time to process any of these thoughts because she came in and immediately started walking toward us.  She looked at me and and the first words out of her mouth were "I knew I'd recognize you". I believe I fumbled over the word "hello" and then got up and proceeded to engage in the most awkward hug I've ever given in my life. (And yes, I am a "hugger" so that's really, very awkward.) The conversation was slow and that's a very nice way to put it. Thank goodness for my very talkative friend because she was constantly chiming in.  "Look, now we know where you got your eyes!" she said during one such lull.  Of course, I then took a peek and she'd been right, I had her eyes.  I guess you could say I was a bit surprised that she didn't look exactly like me.  Her hair was different, face was a different shape, similar frame but not nearly as small. I don't think I ever acknowledged that I had a preconceived image of my birth-mother, but apparently, I did.  And if I had been the one to walk in after her, I wouldn't be able to boast the same recognition as she had with me.

I slowly became more comfortable as the initial shock wore off and we chatted a bit about her family whom she had waiting for her back home.  It turned out I had a half sister and brother who were both under two years old. She had married the man who had stayed by her side throughout her ordeal surrounding my birth, and they were currently living with her mother for both financial and health reasons.  This first meeting turned out pretty positive, I think, for both of us.  I was thankful to have my friend there, however, because I don't believe it would have gone nearly as well if she had not been present.  We decided that my birth-mother would pick me up the next day and take me back to the hotel she was staying at in order to show me some of the pictures and documents she had brought with her.  That next meeting was just the two us and I instantly realized that I was not comfortable with this woman.  Something was not meshing for me.  I did not doubt that she was my birth-mother, I did not fear her intentions, I had no argument with myself on why I would feel so uncertain.  Yet, I did feel uncertain and I would later discover the source of that vague notion. For now, it manifested as a wall separating us and kept me at arms length.  On this second meeting, she asked me to leave with her, to travel across the country and meet my birth-family.

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