Missed memories

My first, and probably overly-sentimental and lame attempt at a video, in honor of my kids' birthdays yesterday, had me looking at our photo albums all week.

So many memories. There were the kids as babies, small faces with inquisitive eyes. And then the toddler years, joyful and imaginative years of explosive growth. Slowly the photos walked me through their lives, through childhood and school years, through the gangly gawky pre-teens, and into high school, where both found comfortable identities. In the recent photos, I see the adults my children nearly are.

Every turn of the page brought reminders of milestones and mundane. The kids learning to crawl and walk. Family celebrations. Birthday parties with friends. School and band and sports and drama. Vacations at the beach. Our trip to Korea. I'm indiscriminate in my photo-album-building - every shot makes it in except those that are too blurry to identify. Sometimes I'd find five or six nearly identical shots - what, I would ask myself, was I trying to capture? Why was that shot so important? Sooner or later I'd figure it out, and it was always the look on The Boy's face, or the laughter on The Girl's.

And with each photo and its memory came a pang: She missed this. He missed this. They missed this.

In my private moments I often wonder what my children's mothers lives are like. One is approaching 40 now, the other 50. I know a little about one of them from our failed attempt at contact, and wonder if she is in the same place, doing the same work. I wonder about the siblings we know are in their 20s, but know nothing about the person in America who shares their genes. And what about the other mother, the one we know nothing about? I imagine her where we think she may be, getting up each day, working, caring for a family that may not even exist.

All daydreams, the workings of my imagination, which so wants to know the truth and the women themselves.

Hardest of all is wondering what feelings these women lock away from the world each year when April 5th comes again. I hate the fact that my children are someone's secret, and I hate the attitudes that makes it so. I want to hold my children's mothers in my arms and let them cry out the years of pain, and to give them back the memories they have missed.

I've found it hard to write about my children's first families recently, something that has surprised me considering I started the blog purposely to write about them. I think it's because I'm struggling, really struggling hard, my friends, with letting go of my dreams of my children's reunion. Stepping out of the picture is much easier said than done for me. These closing doors are hard to accept.

And yet as I write that last sentence, I instantly realize that as hard as it is for me, it's nothing, absolutely nothing, in comparison with the sadness and pain and loss my children's mothers, maybe fathers, too, if they know about their births, feel every single day of the year.

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