Last night we celebrated; “Day of Meaningful Adult Males in Our Lives-Day.” Not the name that was agreed upon 100 years ago, when Father’s Day was first celebrated in this country. But then again, donors and adoptive families were not likely whom our forefather’s had in mind when designing the scope of the day.
This was marked by a handsome freshly caught piece of salmon, local corn, a salad and peas from our own container garden-and a bakery blueberry pie. This was the menu requested by the one and only Uncle Buncle, the most present and meaningful adult male in our life today. Having been apart from each other for a few days (insert golden lake water, loons, bullfrogs, kayaks, canoes, the great friends who hosted us and Sam at the helm of a Boston Whaler here), the reunion energy around here last night was something akin to popcorn on a sugar buzz.
The presentation of the #1 Uncle gifts after dinner was a sweet reminder of what an amazing job of normalizing the holiday our preschool does. I basked in what a great thing we have going here, and how damn near perfect a meal I can cook if I want to.
Then I tripped over the elephants asleep on the kitchen floor this morning. The birth father and the donor take up a lot of room in the kitchen, and in my heart. I meant to address you last night, I wanted to tell them but they were not listening as they rolled over, and knocked over the sink. I wanted to thank you for the wonderful men you helped to create, and all of the ways in which I have fallen in love with the traits that you have clearly bestowed on them including charm, musical ability, athletic genius and must figure out how to take it apart and put it back together-ness. Those snoring elephants, wanted no part of my-next-day-if-I-had-only-thought-to-mention thinking.
After making a cup of coffee, I tried another approach: honesty. Last night, I just wanted it to be about what they have in their lives. By have I mean-who they can reach out and high five, and kiss, and hug, and climb all over-and not who they can’t. The elephants began to stir. You are both here all the time, I whispered, as I scratched them behind the ears, in pictures, and stories, and the ways I tell them how you must have gotten that move from your donor, or that smile from your birth father, because it sure is suave and will level a room in about five years… The more I explained all the ways that we do honor them here, and can honor them more the smaller my elephants seemed to become. Now one is the soft plush elephant under Marcel’s arm, and the other has crawled back into the picture of Sam’s birth father on the shelf.
For me another close call, a reminder that what I don’t have (a relationship with my son’s biological fathers) is not the same as what they don’t have (a relationship with their biological fathers). My work is to honor what they do have- deep and meaningful relationship with many men in their lives (several of whom are pictured below), and the certain grief and confusion of not knowing the two amazing men without whom I wouldn’t be Mama C.
To all the significant males in our lives we love and cherish you. A slideshow to honor those of you unlucky enough to come in contact with my camera in the last few years:
Catherine: I’m so glad I get the email reminders alerting me that yet another wonderful post of yours has gone live. You continue to amaze and humble me with your honesty, the raw freshness of your feelings, and, evident above all else, your bigger-than-life love for your children. I am weeping here at work (trying to keep my sniffles and snorts to a dull roar in this cube-like environment). We had a wonderful father’s day weekend ourselves (took a scenic train ride in the mountains of MD), complete with a Home Depot hat that Miss Kim (his daycare provider) helped him make (paint-speckled handprints all over it) and a t-shirt that says “World’s Best Dad, Hands Down” (also complete with handprints…yeah, THAT was an adventure/learning experience for Mommy, let me tell ya!). We took pictures; we laughed; Matthew LOVED the train ride on Saturday. We saw Grammy and Grandpa on Sunday. But yes, I too had an elephant that traveled with us that entire day. Thought of his birth father but not until later in the evening–then I felt guilty for not having thought of him earlier that day. Without him, Jeff wouldn’t be Matthew’s Dad and I wouldn’t be his Mom. It’s all so complex. I think I need to be with my own elephant–honoring what Matthew and Jeff and I DO have, and bestowing the biggest of blessings on the man who we may never know but without whom this family of three would not be.
I am so glad you get my updates too! (See how happy she is that she has a FREE email subscription to Mama C!!!). It is a rush knowing where my little posts go as soon as I hit publish!
I love the day you had, and totally hear you on the other family member who was with you all day. How do we hold that energy in the loving way we want and need to for our kids, for the dads, for ourselves, for the world. It is such intense and important work. Thank you for commenting on this post.
Wow – I just realized how difficult Fathers Day must be for you. Such an amazing post. *sniffs*
I love the honouring of the Awesome DUDES in your life! A wonderful way to mark the day.
Harriet-funny when I read your response I didn’t get how the day was “hard” for me. But, yes it is hard. And it will always be hard. And so much of parenting and adoptive parenting, single parenting and adoption is hard. It is not for the weak is it? I feel so inadequate most of the time, and energized to embrace it more often than not. But it is the hard work that has such incredible reward too.
And, this writing life, and the connection to others who are doing it well (like you and K above) makes the journey that much less hard. I’d work ten times harder for these nut balls. And, I’ll have to won’t I? Thanks for the connect–it means a lot.
You have “it”, Catherine. You have a way of breaking down walls and making it all fit. I’d have never thought of adjusting my view and perspective enough to shrink the elephants and incorporate them in ways that were far more amenable to my sanity. Instead I might have tried to hide them and later tripped (as I often do) over the formidable humps they leave once under rug swept. Thank you for sharing this. Although our lives appear quite different on the outside, on the inside we’re all just trying to make sense of things…make them fit, and you help me with that in ways I’d never imagined. Big hugs to you, the boys and men.