My Little Girls…no more
“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…You make me happy when skies are grey…You’ll never know dear how much I love you…Don’t take my sunshine away…”
But they did.
My husband and I have been married forever…or what seems like several lifetimes at this point, but it turns out a mere 20 years. We became friends and high school and continued to see each other after graduation, soon it occurred to us that we might be dating and that was that. We started our marriage, and a long journey of chasing that idea of “us and kids”.
Looking back, I have a pretty good understanding that much of that time we were still kids ourselves. We got to occasionally play house and take care of small family members. I always seems like the go to person for holidays, when the adults wanted alone time and all the small ones ended up around me. I say just me, because my husband ran for the hills a lot, but not all the time. We had some good times with the kids; zoos, theme parks, science halls, and museums. We tried them all. But the parents always took them back to a life that was an exciting mystery to me. I felt that I was less than a person; a wannabe adult and mother. I was such a fraud. I loved being around kids, so much so, that I went in to teaching. But everyday, I fell in love with my students, as my own, and watched them go home to their families and every year forget about me. It was a painful cycle. It has always been fulfilling to teach them and watch them grow, but I wanted to see how it turned out.
During this journey, we found a lost soul. An almost teenager adopted us and lead us down the scary and thorny path of foster care. We watched him struggle and blossom in all areas of his life. We helped and guided and pushed this young man into the world. I was a mom, kind of. It felt great, until someone would pop the bubble of reality. Foster parent things, like getting permission for him to try new dangerous things or having to meet with the social worker once a month to catch them up on our lives. I remember going to an event where they had a scuba tank, and he so wanted to try it. And at 17, why not. But we couldn’t, no permission…his heart broke and I felt horrible for days. But we were not really “his parents”. Adoption was not an answer, because he too hung on to this simple fact, we were not blood, not real in his mind. He left our care when he aged in the harsh world of reality and is testing the waters of his bio family.
During the final years of our lives with him in our house, I was trying harder than ever to be a real mom. But I felt weaker than ever and not pregnant. So in a stretch of trying to be an actual adult, I had a teaching job and insurance, with my husband’s pleas I went to the doctor, where I realized my body was trying to kill me. Three units of blood back in my body later, and 5 months of fighting the inevitable, I lost my uterus with a record winning tumor attached to it and any real chance of becoming a mom. The weird thing, I didn’t really grieve. And this is why. I had a promise of hope. As my boy was leaving us, it was mentioned we could bring small children into the house. I immediately nested. I filled out registries, looked at nursery ideas, gathered toys and blankets; and waited. Less than a month of being empty nesters, they brought them and they were perfect. Two lost little souls looking for someone to love them. And we did, head over heels.
Boy, was it hard. They were 6 and 23 months old when we got them. Late night sessions, followed by early morning wake up calls. I was suddenly a new mother of two and was completely exhausted, but in all the right ways. But I started to panic, was I doing everything right? Oh no, the 2 yr old is mad at me, I must have done something wrong. The teacher side of me was shaking her head in disapproval of the new mom side. But we finally got a rhythm, we understood each other. I watched as the babies learned words, songs, new foods, dance moves, and soon colors, numbers, shapes, and letters. It was great. It seemed perfect, we finally had our family.
It was time to start the adoption process, they would be ours forever. Like they were already in our hearts. And we were both ready.
But not ready for “no”.
Turns out that the years of playing adult and not worrying about adult things, outlast the actual change over into the adult world. So financial things that happened 6–7 years ago suddenly mattered. Lack of close friends and support were also mentioned. But I think the one thing that truly angers and frustrates me was that they brought our lost little boy who grew into a man into the equation. Since we love him and still want him in our lives, it was no place for the girls, they had to move on. His scars and crosses to bear from his childhood were going to be too much for them; they could be damaged by him. So as quickly as they came into our lives, after a year and a half, they were out of it. Just on the brink of forever.
No more, Momma. No more, Daddy. No more…
They are out there, and they don’t know why we went away. I hope they never think that it was something they did. At least they have each other. Soon they won’t remember and their lives will be normal again. But to me and my husband, we will always remember, we were a family. What seemed like a real family. But now I have to ask myself after all these years, what makes a real family? Do you have to share blood? I have tried to forget blood ties over and over, and just love. But it always gets cut because of the same reasons. But I do know one thing, we have been and will always be a family in our hearts. With a lot of struggle of tears behind it, I can say. “I am a Mom.” Even though most of the world will not ever fully understand that. “I am a Mom.” Even though it was for a short time. “I am a Mom.” Even though my girls and my boy have their other families.
“I am a Mom” Even though I never had children…