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.