There are pieces of time in my life I wish I could freeze. Moments that are so dear, so anticipated, so vital they take on the air of the surreal. A waking dream. Like an out of body experience or a dream so perfect you simultaneously realize you are dreaming and fight to stay asleep because you know the dream will end and you will never be able to pick up that gossamer thread again.
The 25th of February was like that for me.
It was only the third time I had seen my daughter. She was born 02/21/1985.
The first time I saw her was in the seconds after I delivered her.
I would have named her Lona Marie, a tribute to her 2 grandmothers.
I was sent a picture of her a few months after her birth. The adoption had gone through without a hitch, and a very kind woman from the law firm in New York sent me what would turn out to be the only picture I would have of my only child for the next 23 years.
After we were reunited in 2008, there were pictures again. Not a lot, but enough to ease the hunger my heart held for her. I received a call from her during the week before Easter in 2010 and we met at a Logans Steakhouse in Bristol, VA. We spent the afternoon together, getting to know one another a bit better. Roger was with me, her then fiance and now husband was with her.
Seeing her just a few days after her 27th birthday was different. I was more relaxed, felt more at ease. She was travelling with a friend from Rhode Island to Texas. We met up in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart and they followed me to my mother's house, about a 30 minute drive. We were there for about 2 hours. Being able to see these three women I love together in the same room - indescribable. Roger makes handcrafted items, necklaces and fetishes and carved animals. I brought some for her, her friend and her husband.
Afterwards we returned to Lebanon, and ate at Applebees. We talked, a great deal. Easy, comfortable conversation over food and drinks.
For those in this life who have always had their parents and children as a part of their daily lives this whole scenario is probably hard to comprehend. I understand. There used to be a cable show on Lifetime, maybe it was WE. The Locator. I only watched a few episodes, do not even know if it is still on. It ripped my heart out, and the reunions were always the worst part.
My daughter's biological father passed away in 2002 so she will never have more than second hand knowledge of him. She has a half-sister and a half-brother, two half-nieces. Eric, her half-brother, has apparently expressed no interest in having her in his or his daughters lives. Debbie, her half-sister, has communicated with her but there is not a strong connection at this time. These are things I cannot change, relationships I cannot give or build. Gaps in her heritage I cannot fill.
I can give her my family, the Smiths and the Slades. Uncles and Aunts and cousins. We started this process on February 25.
It feels good, it feels right.