Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Beginning

Where to begin?

I don’t remember the beginning. I’ve been told stories of what happened before the beginning. Where did I come from? Here’s where I came from: a 17-year-old girl, a high-school junior. A 21-year-old hippie, just back from southern California.

This story isn’t about what happened before. It’s about what happened much later. The reason I’m starting here is to explain that, in that tumultuous time, my biological mother, then 18, made a decision. I think she made a good decision. She had other choices, and she chose to sign the papers. She chose to give up her claim to me. But she never forgot me. Almost 30 years later, she would find me.

But now I’m getting ahead of myself.

I was two and a half months old when I came home to my family: a college-educated, professional father; a stay-at-home mom; and a three-year-old brother, also adopted. Later I would get a little sister, my parents’ only natural child. I had aunts and uncles and a few cousins, most of whom were much older than I. I had grandparents: my mom’s mother, and my dad’s parents. Growing up, I was especially fond of my grandfather.

Family. A good life in a good home. Unconditional love from all levels of generations. This is what my birthmother gave me by giving me up.

Of course things weren’t perfect. They never are. They’re not supposed to be. When I was very young, it was discovered I had severe hearing loss in both ears. I would need hearing aids someday. I might need to go to a school for the deaf. We would wait and see.

I was shy. I was pigeon-toed. I hated attention. I didn’t like being around most other kids. But I was stubborn and smart, and I loved music, stories, Jesus, and Gilligan. Was I a typical kid? I guess so.

Why am I telling you all of this? I’m not sure. I think it’s because everything is all connected. Everything I’ve mentioned so far will play some role in the story of what happened later. Everything I’ve told you so far is true, mostly.

Love gave me up, and love took me in. Sometimes I look back on my life and just shake my head at how often I thumbed my nose up at love, how many times, and how irreverently, I tried to destroy the gift I’d been given. I’m glad I lived through those troubled stretches, and that I can now look back at them from the safe haven that time and healing provide.

This is the beginning of my story. It’s cheesy, but it’s a start. I’m re-reading this and seeing how truly rusty my writing has become. The good news: the more I write, the less mouse-worthy my writing will be. More later!

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