Keeping contact during the pandemic

The last time I saw my Son from 81 and his family was June 2019. It seems like ages ago now.

Sure, we have exchanged text messages, pandemic health and safety inquiries, greeting cards or meaningful gifts for the holidays.

The family photo they sent me through email near Christmas was beautiful with that wee baby boy now a year and a half.

The older two children have grown and are attending remote classes for elementary school.

The parents still have jobs.

Life carries on with work, school and trying to keep a young family safe during pandemic lock-downs and protocols.

I received a phone call from Son From 81 last night. He found a quiet spot in their house to chat before helping to prepare three kids for bed – until they found him. I was touched. I was happy. I empathized based on memories of those early years with his half-siblings. After less than a minute of that racket, I was relieved to release him back into the joyful pandemonium.

He had called to thank me for the letter, the calendar and doodle I sent them. I jokingly sent them a basket of kittens, as marked on the back of the envelope.

Basket of Christmas Kittens

I am posting this on February 14th, Valentine’s Day but the WordPress preview shows February 15th. The servers must be hosted in Europe somewhere. How does that explain why spell check in Chrome keeps wanting to use British spelling of words like sympathize, empathize, and materialize.

Here’s hoping you are keeping safe and healthy while attempting adoption connections or building a new relationship from the one you found.

Stay kind. Stay safe.

T

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Sharing the cautionary tales

I recently took action with my gradual downsizing of possessions and offloading emotional baggage. 

It was difficult but a relief to pull three books related to adoption from my personal library.

book covers topic adoption

Books about adoption and heartbreak

These books will become gems for others to discover in a local used bookshop that supports our public library system. I hope the stories will act as cautionary tales to prevent tragedy and heartache, or provide comfort to kindred souls who are dealing with longtime sorrow. I have overcome mine.

In 2011, I published a piece of fiction called The Year of the Rabbit – A Novel About Fate, Family and Forgiveness under a pen name. One of the teenage characters gets pregnant and is sent away by her ashamed family. The main character, Sera pleads with the parents to let her come back home. It was difficult for me to write that part yet it felt good to change the demise of one character, to produce an outcome different than my own. You can read a tearful excerpt here.   

Thanks for dropping by.

T

 

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Official Grandma

The first day of summer brought a long-awaited visit with Matthew’s family. It was delivered through Planes, Trains and Automobiles. 

I had a whirlwind weekend of travel with my oldest bachelor son who flew with me to the big city then after a night’s rest at his tidy, modern pad, took the subway and inter-city bus service to the predetermined  location in the suburbs.

As our bus pulled in to the depot, I could see Matthew and the youngest girl waiting for us. I waved eagerly from the window. He waved back.

After the typical shy greetings with me coercing him into a hug, we all piled into the family vehicle and headed to their home. There we were greeted by his wife and oldest daughter. The new baby was strapped in a baby car seat on the playroom floor, sucking on his binkie and expressing the need for a diaper change.

As my bachelor son later described it, the room looked like a toy bomb had exploded, resulting in colourful toy debris in every corner. As we had already learned, these kids were well-spoiled by their maternal grandparents. The appearance of playful disarray brought back memories of when my trio of children were young.

We were soon treated to a quickly assembled lunch, entertained by the joyful chaos with the girls, and diaper change for the baby.

We shared status updates on family activities and accomplishments. We exchanged gifts. I brought small chocolate treats for the girls, and a floral greeting card stuffed with colourful legal tender paper for the parents.

Then one of the kids handed me a gift bag containing hand-painted frames to grace various photos of them at different ages and recent ones of them with their baby brother. How sweet!

In the bottom of the gift bag, I found something made of beads. It was a bracelet that the oldest child had made to spell out GRANDMA.

So it is official: they accept me as their Grandmother.

I felt honored and overjoyed, and expressed so tearfully.

Grandma bracelet beads

I got to hold the baby for a while, sauntering around the adjoined rooms, sniffing at his scalp while navigating around toys and rambunctious tots.

We took many photographs.

Soon we all went for a walk and scooter ride to the nearby park. The afternoon heat drained my energy. All the excitement was tiring me out!

Our visit lasted about three hours. Soon my bachelor guide and I reversed our course with a car ride back to the bus depot, offering brief goodbyes then began the lengthy ride to the nearby subway station and back to his downtown pad.

It was a beautiful visit all around.

Thank you for following this story. I wish you well with your adoption search and eventual reunion.

T

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Another year, another grandchild

It has been nearly a year since my last entry.

Life carries on with my family concerns, the daily grind with work, commuting, lifelong learning and volunteering. It seems like a long road ahead to finishing another college program, foreseeing a gentle career change and comfortable retirement.

It has been another rough winter that seemed colder, deeper and longer than it is.

Life carries on with letters, cards, colourful stickers and chocolates delivered with love to my distant, young family. Small sparks of joy erupt when I receive a barely legible letter  from the oldest grandchild.

Life carries on with the arrival of a new baby! 

Matthew and his wife are immersed in joyful chaos. They made time to send a brief email with a photo of the newborn, and to describe their logistical challenges of school days and domestic life with their three children.

I have become immersed in ancestry research with gathering data, government documents and proof of those who came before us, assembling the branches in a first draft of my family tree.

I express my love and joy with cards, letters of encouragement and a cheque to help with unexpected expenses. I include a picture book for the older children on the topic of welcoming a new baby into the family and understanding why Mom and Dad are so tired.

When can I travel to see them again? When can I have time and money away from two elderly cats – one of them recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and requiring two insulin injections a day? My budget and patience are wearing thin.

We will see. Que sera sera. 

Thanks for dropping by. I hope your search and reunion go well.

T

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Grandma in training

Well, it’s Easter weekend and I have not yet managed to travel for a visit with Matthew’s family.

It was a harsh Winter in Ontario with snow, freezing rain and a nasty flu bug going around.

The first weekend of March, I purchased gifts, chocolates and a card to send them. Being eager and wanting to assure it arrived safely and on time, I padded, wrapped and mailed the package weeks ahead of Easter.

Easter card and chocolates

I was tickled to soon receive an email confirming that the package arrived and the kids were already into the chocolates.

It’s bittersweet to see that poor impulse control has carried on in the genes ;-^

The book boxes were my way of carrying on a family tradition, although requiring less talent. My dear departed Father was a carpenter and used to build wooden foot lockers and keepsake boxes for his children. For his grandchildren, he would build the same plus large toy boxes. I was happy to hear that my grandchildren were already using their decorative, cardboard book boxes to put small toys in.

If time, finances and strength align, I really hope to get in a Spring visit. I wonder at what point the children will call me Grandma, once they are old enough understand the information their parents choose to share with them. For now, I’d be happy to be addressed as Nanna T.

As I observe the full moon drifting westward during the early hours this morning, I give thanks for where I am today in this relationship. It has been an enjoyable, bumpy ride since I started this cathartic writing exercise, offering my prayers to the Universe three years ago.

Thanks for following along on this journey. I wish you success in your adoption search and reunions.

T

 

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A merry Christmas and New Years

Another year is wrapping up and another is ready to unfold.

Imagine my joy a couple of weeks ago when Matthew’s wife sent Bio Dad and me an email, asking for our mailing addresses. We gladly accommodated.

Bio Dad and I agreed that this was bringing us another step closer to our son and his family.

Imagine my delight this weekend when I discovered in my mailbox an envelope from them, stuffed with a late Christmas card and many photographs – photos of their wedding and their young family over the recent years.

It brought a happy tear. It warmed my heart on this frigid weekend. I was especially touched by a child’s drawing of a Christmas tree and their written note inside stating they look forward to seeing me in the New Year. ❤ 🙂

Let’s see what opportunities arise for a winter visit.

Thank you for following along on this journey.  Wishing all searchers a happy, healthy and successful 2018.

T

 

 

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A soggy colourful reunion

I recently traveled to visit Matthew and his family.

It was a whirlwind tour that included my closest Brother and my youngest Son. This was part of my plan to gradually introduce Matthew to members of my immediate family, one or two people at a time.

Prior to the reunion, my brother, son and I took advantage of our free time in the big city to enjoy tourist-y activities and attractions. It was an expensive experience but worth it after the lengthy journey.

CN tower

CN Tower at night

The next day, we drove in the pouring rain to meet Matthew and family for brunch. Once again, I sprinkled them with small gifts and doted over the children. I was happy to introduce him to more members of my family tree, our “family hedge” with encouragement and easing him to be ready in a few years for the next big family reunion.

He seemed to take the meeting well despite being under the weather. I enjoyed watching as he and his wife attended to the children’s demands. After our restaurant meal, I insisted we all get some fresh air and photographs to mark this occasion. The best location was in the parking lot, in front of soggy hedges and a tree with bright, red leaves.

I assured everyone that since we had umbrellas, the pouring rain should not dampen our spirits nor prevent us from capturing the moment.

Umbrellas in the autumn rain

Umbrellas in the autumn rain

They complied but one child showed her nonconformist traits with attempts to elude the lens. We eventually chased her down and captured her impish form.

Since winter is coming, I am not sure when I will see them again or be able introduce them to more family members. It might not be until next Spring. Since we have already connected during every other season, why not try for a winter wonderland experience?

There’s always electronic communications for sharing news, accomplishments and more photographs. I’m moderating my excitement and giving him time to process the experience.

Our drive home was long and rainy. My youngest boy snoozed in the back seat while my brother and I chatted occasionally and watched the blurry, wet road.

The next day it was back to the working world and daily commitments. Although it was a brief reunion, I am still basking in the “glow” from our time together.

Thanks for dropping by. I hope your adoption search and subsequent reunions go well.

T

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An adhoc gathering to eclipse the solar event

August 2017 brought another reunion with Matthew and his family. It had been over a year since the previous one.

Of course, we had been corresponding via email through the year, sharing birthday and holiday greetings.

Once again, I traveled to the city area where Matthew and his family live. It was a good opportunity to combine with my attendance at a professional event on the same weekend.

Bio Dad offered to drive me around from my hotel to the planned meeting spot in a gigantic shopping centre. That was a welcome gesture since I don’t know my way around the outskirts of the big city, nor do I drive.

I got to ride in a car with no air conditioning on a hot, humid day. Adding to that, there was a dog in the back seat, panting and slobbering on my left sleeve as I blocked its attempts at jumping into the front while we drove along the busy, noisy freeway. The dog was used to sitting in the front. The dog was an unexpected attendee at this event since Bio Dad could not find a sitter.

We had to adjust our plans for lunch, walks and catch-ups with Matthew’s family.

We sought shade beside a shopping mall parking lot. I was overwhelmed by the enormous size of the mall and crowds of people milling, rushing about. It provided cosmic confusion outside our little gathering, as we clustered around our beautiful son.

We staked out that little patch of ground in the shade, near a faux pond. We took turns accompanying the children into the mall to get fast food take out lunches, drinks for our group, water for the dog and for pee breaks.

We adjusted our plans. We could call it an agile approach to family reunions.

A bench beside parking lot

A bench in the shade of a green strip in a mall parking lot

The partially trained dog constantly demanded attention, attempted to and succeeded jumping into the faux water pond. It provided ample entertainment for the children.

I brought gifts for everyone. We took plenty of pictures to capture the event as we made new memories, inching closer to Matthew’s heart and family.

On that hot, sticky day, I also mentioned to Matthew that he seemed to have inherited my fair skin type and would need to be careful in the sun. He responded that it was not a problem since he spends most of his time indoors. Ah, big city folk.

I shared with the group that I did some stupid things as a teenager… one of them was spending too much time in the sun, at the beach, trying to get a tan like my friends but getting burned instead. In my later years, I don’t want to be a poster child for Melanoma.

I wished we could spend more time together, chatting, walking and engaging the children. They were getting tired and cranky. I was getting tired and cranky. It was just too hot and I was concerned about making it to the airport in time for my flight home.

One of the humorous conversations of the afternoon was when Matthew’s wife asked me privately if Bio Dad and I were dating. No, I snorted. We have a history but I was unsure of any future I would have with him. We have different interests, different lifestyles.

He has dogs. I have cats.

At times giving in to romantic notions, I had “what if” thoughts. I am just too comfortable with my independent, solitary life. Also, I don’t want to get burned again. 

Permit me to present you with this timely music video.

Frankly, I found the lyrics repetitive and annoying. When I watched the video, the first thing that came to my mind was “Those curtains and those candles could be a fire hazard!” I scoff at the hopeless romantics.

Thanks for dropping by and following along. May your post-adoption searches and reunions be successful, smooth and comfortable.

T

 

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Wrapping up another year

As we approach the end of 2016, I can sympathize with those who saw it as a year of losses in the arts and incredible political instability south of the border.

I also experienced a loss in my large family, a product of Catholic obedience.  Aside from that loss, 2016 for me was a year of professional accomplishments, a year of anticipation and joy while communicating with Matthew via email, meeting him for the first time, and getting to know his wee family. I am satisfied for now with the occasional email exchanges, obtaining updates on the little ones. I look forward to seeing them all again in the Spring.

During 2016, I kept myself busy with another time-lapsed photography project through the year, saying a little prayer of thanks and hope each time I captured the gradually changing landscape.

expfarm2016tractor

Thanks to early morning feline demands, I have time to reflect and write in this bittersweet blog.  I am relaxing during a break from work demands, taking time to reflect, and wrapping up another calendar year while acknowledging the seasons. It was certainly an interesting one after 35 years of sorrow, loneliness and hope.  I can wrap this year up and top it with a happy little bow.

Thanks for visiting and reading.

T

 

 

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Bittersweet November

For many years, November has not been a good month for me.

This is due to the fact it was when I gave Matthew up for adoption, when I lost my second family in a professional setting, and when I nearly died at the hands of my controlling spouse.

After a few years of talk therapy, I realized that I must have been in mourning over losing Matthew, years after giving  him up for adoption. I know I did the right thing for his well-being. I also felt the sadness and shame of a failed marriage, a union that outlived its purpose, that became sour and violent despite my attempts at conciliation.

In addition to thinking about Matthew daily, I pined away when his birthday would come around each November and wondered how he was doing. I hoped he had a good family and was growing into a smart, kind person.

uper Moon Early November 14 2016

Super Moon Early November 14 2016

This November, I sent a message into the ether to wish Matthew a happy birthday. I was elated to receive a response the next day. He replied with a short update on the children, and thanks yet admitting that he feels old. Ha! He feels old? It’s all relative. Relative….

Using my cats as a creative outlet through November, I wrote and shared my impressions of the dull and depressing month.

It’s not as sad a month now that I have found Matthew and am in occasional communication with him – with hopes of seeing my grandchildren again.

black cat at computer with comic bubble

Snuggles the cat with his wet paws on my lap.

Now we’re into December, the month leading us to Christmas, erroneously marking the birth of a child that was destined to change the world. Talk about grand expectations.

Although feeling needy, I decided to send a December check-in greeting to Matthew this morning. I could not resist since I had two encounters with the name of one of my grandchildren in the past couple of weeks. One was with an inquisitive child;  another was through a palindrome used in a recent science fiction movie.

I feel victorious relief in surviving November with its various professional challenges and now the social obligations that lead us into December.

How was your November? How are you planning to survive the holidays with a dysfunctional family or while missing someone dear to you? I suggest you try writing it out. That’s what helped me for many years while working through sadness, entertaining hope, and celebrating joyful occasions.

Thanks for dropping by.

T

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