The Mother’s Tea at Little Monkey’s pre-school caught me off guard. I had the event penciled into my calendar and squeezed in between work, errands and other craziness – something to check off my list. When my girl walked in with her class holding my gift my crazy day stopped. I froze wanting to capture the moment – taking in her cute ponytails and broad grin not wanting to forget.
She was so proud of her gift. As she handed it to me with adoration and love in her eyes I almost started with a single thought that came from no where (or maybe it came from the depths of my heart.) “This gift shouldn’t be for me.”
Grief welled up in me like I can’t explain. There is another woman out there that should have been honored by Little Monkey on Mother’s day. A woman who is missing out on the hand potted flowers, cute poems, and sweet smiles.
Little Monkey was called forward by her teacher and interviewed in front of the small tea crowd. “What is your mom’s favorite color?” She replied with confidence, “all the colors because she is an artist.” Her eyes were trained on me the whole time looking for my approving smile. Her head tilted as if with a question. “Right, Mom?” I nodded and she beamed. She ended by telling the crowd that she loves me because I play dress-up with her and cook her Chinese food.
Oh, how my little monkey knows me.
My grandmother used to cry at church often and call them her “happy tears.” I never really understood that. Can happiness and sadness go hand in hand? Really? I always thought that true happiness would somehow squeeze out the sad parts.
Adoption has shown me how sorrow and grief can be so closely tied to joy and blessings. It stinks that Little Monkey couldn’t be raised by her birth-mom. Could there really be a greater injustice for us to mourn? And if I am being honest, I hate that somehow I am profiting from that injustice. How do I reconcile that in my heart?
These flowers should not have been for me. I am not the mom she should know.
But I am.
Me….I am the mother who missed the joy of carrying this jewel in my womb, of knowing her as she was formed. I miss knowing how she came into the world and what circumstances brought her into mine.
Grief and blessings bind me to a stranger somewhere in China. We grieve for parts of our daughter that we can not know, yet are blessed to have known her at all.