I sifted my fingers through. I banked up the sides. I carefully patted it back into place. My little pile of worries and insecurities.
It doesn’t feel so little as I slog through traffic and construction on my way to The Meeting. I’m preoccupied by the width and breadth of it. I suppose it is to be expected, from a student of psychology and a writer… worse yet, a blogger. A whole lot of self-absorbed navel-gazing.
I prayed my way through a list of concerns, for each of the people attending, saving my favourite subject until last. Me. How do I feel? What am I thinking? How will this affect me?
But it isn’t about me.
We slipped in the door 7 minutes late. They were sitting around the table already: the social workers with Birth Mom, Nana and Papa. Pleasantries are awkward and Nana can’t even look us in the eye.
Because this is hard.
WE haven’t taken him away from them, but he is gone all the same. They need, need, need… beyond what we can provide. We promise the bare minimum. Better not to disappoint. “We’ll see” is the watchword. A couple of meetings a year, pictures every few months… but it’s not the same as being Mommy every day or Nana who bakes cookies or Papa who explains what “offside” is.
Suddenly my little pile seems insignificant. One uncomfortable hour cannot compare to years of loss. Years past and years to come. We find common ground in a strange place as Birth Mom admits “at first, I didn’t even want to come and meet you.”
But it isn’t about them.
We show each other our best sides. They share little bits and pieces about S and their family. We greedily store away each morsel. He got his hair from his Birth Dad. The curls remind them of his big brother. They are hockey fans too.
Most importantly, we joke to diffuse the tension. It works. We can laugh together and that is a relief. It’s proof positive that our boy has a sense-of-humour-gene in the mix. I’m relieved. Humourlessness is a serious issue (ha ha ha… don’t judge me).
Birth Mom is young and sweet. She speaks with confidence. She calls him her “Miracle Baby” – the little champ who fought his way through every problem. She is trying to do the same. She is lovely.
Nana is protective, sentimental, sad… she is still grieving. And Papa wants to fix it all, but can’t.
By the time we leave, we are friends of a sort. We’ve faced anger and tears and discomfort. We’ve come out the other side because we are on the same page.
It’s all about him.
As long as he is happy. As long as he is safe. As long as he KNOWS that he is loved by all his family, in all its forms.
I don’t expect every meeting to go this smoothly. It will get bumpy and hard and inconvenient. We’ve inherited a new branch of “in-laws” and all the troubles that come with it. But that’s a pile for another day.
So here’s me, putting our son ahead of my comfort. Because that’s what Moms do.