Today, I am again reminded that people come into our lives, sometimes for just a few moments, for reasons and each of them with story.
She looked so familiar that I said those very words to her followed by the question, how do I know you? She looked a little stunned and I realized quickly she did not feel the same. All good. These things happen. She chatted a few moments about thing non-germane and I thought her lovely and lucky as she explained retirement and traffic and lack of really having anywhere to be at any given time.
She sat and I left the room only to find myself somehow pulled again to where she was. I made an excuse to move to where she sat and she easily again started conversation that I thought irrelevant but engaging. She asked if people ever thought I looked familiar, and I said yes and quickly threw in that being adopted always made that all the more interesting.
Her eyes changed just that swiftly. The smallest shadow darkened her bright smile and she quickly asked what most would think presumptuous. She asked if I knew my parents, but she didn’t stop there. She quickly asked if I had found them because I had always had an ache or an unfulfilled spot that needed answers.
Many people in my life have asked similar questions and in my younger years I was quick to answer with a semi-sarcastic remark about real parents and family and more than enough attitude to make people feel awkward. Thankfully age has softened me. But no one has ever asked with that kind of intensity. Not with the anxiousness or the anticipation of the answer and something in me knew this was one of those life moments you never really see coming.
I was honest, but kind because I have not ever felt that pull to find what some call ‘real parents’. I was lucky enough to have always had Real Parents. I carefully said that I had not ever had the desire to look. I had decided years ago that there was nothing really missing that yanked at my heart but that I knew many who did and had always felt blessed to not feel that emptiness or even that curiosity.
She sat the edge of her chair, holding back what seemed to be close to overflowing emotion as she continued with a statement phrased as a question, So, you never looked because your life was so good? You weren’t missing anything, that’s why you didn’t look? If she hadn’t been emotional, I would have thought her incredulous, her words so full of shock and lack of understanding.
I knew at that moment that I was looking into the eyes of a ‘Real Mother’. I assured her that I had been happy. That I had felt so much love and family and adoration that it hadn’t ever been something I needed. I told her how my mom had always told me that I was the special one because she got to pick me.
She went on to share her story; a young pregnancy, a daughter given up as a gift of love and then a marriage to the same man a few years later and two more daughters. They have all looked and registered and prayed and hoped ….but never dreamed she wasn’t looking for them because she was so happy with the life they had afforded her. She cried. She asked if she could tell her daughters and her husband. She got up from her chair hugged me, whispering a tearful Thank You.
I’ve wondered sometimes what it feels like to be my birth mother. Do you wonder of me? Do you know you did the right thing? And since having children of my own I’ve on occasion thought that if I had the chance I would tell her thank you and she did it right and well. I am good. I am more than good and my life is a living testament to her agonizing yet love filled decision. I would meet her not for me or for any need or emptiness I feel, but to ease her worry, her wonder and her hope. In some small way, I kind of feel like I got that chance , meeting a Real Mother in my waiting room that day.
Sometimes an ordinary day allows an extraordinary encounter reminding me again, that everyone we meet, has a story and if we are listening and engaging we may get to be a part of it.