I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of family and the effort and grace it takes to keep love in tact. My first experience at creating my own family was an utter failure and it was 21 years until I saw my first-born child. There were 20 Christmases, 2o Thanksgivings and 20 birthdays before I knew my son’s name or where he lived. Our reunion reverberated through his adoptive family and through my own new family with a husband and 2 little girls, yet somehow we made ourselves a new family without damaging the roofs that already sheltered us.
All of my children are adults now, and in the aftermath of my divorce from my daughters’ father, I think about family life as bricks and stones that need regular shoring up to keep the walls from falling down. In our case, a lot of travel is required–this holiday involves travel across a desert and an ocean for my youngest child and myself and every mile is part of the path that leads us to the sweetness of hearth and home.
As I lay on the couch at my son’s house with my oldest grandchild–just the two of us singing Christmas carols in the dark beside the lighted Christmas tree–I noticed how our voices blended together and thought, for just a moment in the midst of that joy, about the birthmothers who not only don’t know their children, but whose grandchildren are also lost to them.