Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Full Circle - What I'm Thankful For
Here I am standing outside the house that now belongs to my sister.
The beginning of January 2011 will mark the date, eight years ago, when I woke up on a normal day and realized something within me had shifted.
I needed to know where I came from.
It's funny that even now I cannot explain how that felt. How I struggled and pushed away the thought. I'd lived for thirty some odd years without knowing. I was a well-adjusted adult, a wife, mother.
But on one October day in 1965, I was a baby with no name.
Of course I was given a name, and blessed with amazing parents. I lacked for nothing, wanted nothing, needed to know nothing.
And then I did.
Life's funny that way. You just never know what's coming around the corner.
Some of us choose to sidle up to the walls of buildings, pressing against dirty brick, ducking into the shadows and avoiding eye contact when people pass by. Others skip along the yellow line in the middle of the road, playing Chicken and screaming, "Bring it on!"
I've never been one for Chicken.
Which, I suppose, is why I was so surprised when I had to acknowledge that somewhere in my subconscious, I'd already made the decision to search for my birthmother, and I would not be talked out of it. Somehow it didn't seem to matter that I had no idea what lay beyond the doors I would walk through. It was almost as though some invisible force was pulling me along, showing me the way, and making sure I followed.
And so I did.
If you've any experience with adopted persons, you'll know we are a complex breed. My journey was not an easy one, but it was one I needed to take, for reasons I couldn't begin to fathom at its inception. Looking back now, I see it all. And I understand.
Time sometimes has a way of curling around our feet, yellowing the pages of memory, hardening the heart and stealing away joy. But if we are brave enough to stop it, perhaps even turn it back for just a moment, we may get a glimpse into the hidden places where the good in life still lives.
I do that each time I return to the place I might have been born.
I step out into the fresh air and breathe it in. I pay homage to those who walked there before me, remember the one who carried me for a time, and then, at last, welcomed me back into her arms for a brief and final embrace.
The feeling ducks from any description that makes the slightest bit of sense. It wraps itself around me, both warms and chills, and leaves a bittersweet smile on my lips.
It reminds me where I came from, links the past with the present, and connects me with a history I might never have known.
This place is part of who I am now. The family who live there are mine now. And I am theirs.
And I have found what I didn't even know I needed.
We have come full circle.
Posted by Catherine West at 1:08 PM