Saturday, March 7, 2009

I Have Three Full Grown Informally Adopted Daughters

Oh yes I have. One of them is living in the suburbs but I don't travel that far. She does indeed have another mother and a mother-in-law. Once she started having children, I figured she was on her way. I met both children, saw them reach toddlerhood, and my job was done. Her name is Dao. She was a boat child from Vietnam. Adopted by a couple of doctors.

She wanted to model, but wasn't tall enough to do runway. I helped her as much as I could until she she chose having babies over having an acting/modeling career. When her husband got transferred to the Pacific Northwest, and she had her infant son with her, living in an apartment, while it rained incessantly, she called me in early November and asked me to come fix Thanksgiving dinner for them. I did. She also asked me to talk her husband out of taking her away from her breast feeding infant son for a ten day trip to Paris. It was her wish not to go. I would have cared for her son, but she didn't want to leave him for a second. I completely understood her need and finally was able to explain it to her husband who was firmly convinced they needed the trip to Paris without the baby to reconnect again. I calmly explained that they would never connect exactly that way again and to decide if he wanted to be a father and a husband to this fabulous woman. He said yes. My work was done. I left. I'm that kind of mother.

I stay out of the lives of my daughters unless they initiate. I do not remember dates like their birthdays unless they are connected to some other event that makes it instantly memorable to me. I mean that in the way I remember my birthday--like Tom's daughter's birthday is the 8th of June, four days before mine (but this does not guarantee that I will send her a card or call her). I can never remember Nick's birthday because I can't orient it go some other event or memorable thing near his birthday. Same with my girlfriends. I had to remember my mother's birthday; it was two days before the baby Jesus's. But I have never remembered one of my wedding anniversaries or my husbands birthdays. I remember Tom's because for two months and two days I'm older and so very much wiser than he, but I often don't know where he is to wish him happy birthday--I'm that kind of friend.

I remember my youngest daughter's birthday because she shares it with her biological mother. And when I heard that I thought, "Poor darling, she will have to spend the rest of her life celebrating her birthday with her mother. It sits neatly between Thanksgiving and Christmas so the fact that they live near one another means she will grow old with that yoke around her neck. I hope someday she moves far away at least for awhile. No daughter should be so duty bound to her mother. At some point duty is a very heavy burden.

24 comments:

Beach Bum said...

Just from my point of view duty does get to be a heavy burden after awhile. As much as I love my kids there are times I can't wait for them to be fully functioning individuals with lives of their own.
I selfishly often wish for the ability just to go to the beach and not have to watch and chase them down.

Utah Savage said...

I rather go to the Pawleys with you than a fancy restaurant any day. Your comment was so sweet at my place other men apologized for not being you.

Duty does get wearing after awhile. I think the best things parents can do for their kids at some point is to say, "Now, you don't ever have to call you know. Only if you really need me for something really important." Best gift in the world is a life free of obligation.

Vigilante said...

Off Topic Alert to Utah Savage's readers:

Utah's comment was just read over CNN a few minutes ago.

You go, Girl!

Lisa said...

What comment????

More fame for you, Utah! WHooooo!

And on topic, you know of that duty bound thing quite well, don't you?

I'm rather grateful for my own mom these days. She saw her job as being to raise us so that we could go into the world and make it as independent adults.

Utah Savage said...

Vig, thank you. I was washing dishes as Don was talking, but I thought, Damn someone else feels the way I do.

Utah Savage said...

Lisa, you know what a twitter whore I am.

Utah Savage said...

The Station Agent posts my poorly spelled ravings replete with passionate profanity. Sheesh! I must learn to proofread my comments.

BBC said...

She wanted to model, but wasn't tall enough to do runway.

That may be a good thing, generally speaking models are vain and screwed up.

Not that I expect you to agree with me but I've had my gut full of them and avoid them these days.

Sure, they can tug at the heart strings, but it's all really about them. No point in them remembering someone elses birthday.

MRMacrum said...

You act tough, but you aren't. Not when it counts anyway. Everyone should have extended family to reach out to. Too bad more of us don't.

Utah Savage said...

MRMacrum, you're right I act tough trying to make myself feel tough. Like whistling in the dark. I'm seriously thinking about getting a shotgun and relearning how to use one, so I'll feel even tougher. I tell myself I'm strong. But the truth is I do like living alone. My daughters are around, and if I ever picked up a phone and called one of them I'd probably get whatever I ask for. But you are right. I do act tough. I say what I wish were true or I say the truth because it seems the sort of thing an honest, tough, old woman would do. You will probably never know whether or not I am tough in truth, but I appreciate your concern for my well- being. 60 years of obligation to a toxic parent is all I could take of obligation. I could never expect a daughter, adopted or otherwise to do for me what I did for my mother. I would much rather off myself.

Blue Gal said...

I also share a birthday with my mom. It's not too bad, but it's HILARIOUS when Dad FORGETS. No, really.

themom said...

I remember everyone's birthday - and that sucks. I claim I am forgetful, which gets me out of any mess that may present itself. Like I've said, my goal is to be eccentric - I may just have to throw a little convenient dementia in for good measure.

MRMacrum said...

I hope you understand I meant not tough in a good way. With the crap you had to go through growing up, it would be so easy to just be tough in all ways. Seal yourelf off from caring for anyone. You seem to have beaten that and not let your toughness sour the important things. Being honest is one of them. And having compassion is another. I do admire you and your honesty with yourself and others.

La Belette Rouge said...

They are lucky to have you as a mother. I hope you know that too.

And, you were on CNN?????? I am starstruck.

Sherry said...

i raised my daughter to not need me but hoped that she'd want me.

she is very bright and independent and wants me but does not need.

i feel good about that.

i know women(and a few men) who have crippled their childen emotionally so that they will never be alone but what happens to those grown children(and their children)

it isn't pretty.

Utah Savage said...

MRMcrum sometimes the sweetness of a man makes me sob. This is one of those moments. Thank you dear, I did misunderstand.

Blue Gal, are your birthdays also closely sandwiched between two major holidays? If so, the "it's not so bad" comment is probably irony, or like my toughness, whistling in the dark.

LaBelette, I twitter with the CNN talking heads. One of them read one of my tweets. And "Utah Savage said..."

TheMom, I'll bet your being good with numbers in all ways is the reason you remember all birthdays. Mine is June 12. Don't forget, Now. You are getting your wild freak on by hanging out with me. We are wild women and no one can tell us otherwise even if they're right.

Sherry, I'm betting the farm you were/are a fabulous mother.

sunshine said...

I guess I'll have to start watching CNN more often. (not just Larry King when he has some celeb on).
My oldest son (almost 16) is quite independent and I think that when he leaves home he'll be "gone". My second is very dependent on me. He's been that way since...always. I think we'll have to "toss" him from the nest when the time comes. I can picture him living in my basement as an adult.
The younger two..7 and 4..well it's too soon to tell.
I wish I'd had a Mother like you. Mine sucks the life out of me. As does my Mother in law.. in a different but equally sucky way.
If you're ever looking for another "daughter" to adopt.. Pick me! Pick me!!! :)
(((Hugs))) Laura

Utah Savage said...

Sunshine, consider it done. My fourth daughter needs to make sure that son who will live in the basement as a grown man is very, very handy. That will give him a way to pay you back for the security he so obviously gets from living with mom.

sunshine said...

Yes, some skillz will definatly be required. And a great paying job to keep himself in video games (isn't that what men that live in their Mom's basements do?)... and (please God)..a life of his own so he won't be bugging me 24/7!!
Phew...
Yay!! A new Mummy! And one that I can pull the plug on if she gets too needy. How cool is that!?!
Laura loves it!!!
(((Hugs)))Laura

Utah Savage said...

Sweet, huh?

sunshine said...

Hahaha... very, very sweet!
Okay.. I'm going to stop stalking your blog now and go do some work around here!

Ghost Dansing said...

from time to time you do say some remarkably astute things Utah.... there are a few instances in this post....

Utah Savage said...

Thank you Ghost. Your comments are always appreciated, especially today.

susan said...

I agree with Ghost about the astute nature of your thoughts.. 'they would never connect exactly that way again' . That's very true.