I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of family and the effort and grace it takes to keep family love in tact. My first experience at creating a family was an utter failure. It was 21 years until I saw my first-born child. There were 20 Christmases, 20 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 family. By then I had a husband, and also two little girls who were surprised to learn they had an older brother. Yet somehow we made ourselves a new family without damaging the structure that al sheltered us.
All of my children are adults now. We are living in the aftermath of my divorce from my daughters’ father. Now I think about family love 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 both across a desert and an ocean for my youngest child and myself. 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, the two of us singing Christmas carols in the dark beside the lighted Christmas tree, I noticed how our voices blended together. For just a moment in the midst of that joy, I thought about the birthmothers who not only don’t know their children, but whose grandchildren are also lost to them.