On Monday, I used my madeleine pan for the first time. During the visit, while I was warming up food, my neighbor brought over a cat toy that her cat distained—she wanted to know whether Aztec might like it. I wasn’t rude, I don’t think, but I didn’t invite her in or chat for very long because of my guests: so Monday I decided to bake her chocolate madeleines. They were delicious, and I think that I will make honey orange ones for group therapy next week; I have raw blackberry honey and orange oil and a good feeling.
I’ve been emailing back and forth with one of the group members a bit, which is more exciting than it probably should be—I just worry that I don’t belong there, so having someone be friendly is very reassuring. Too, since I don’t have any friends, it’s nice to talk to somebody. Yes, I know how pathetic that sounds. But what can you do? I work at home and don’t go to school, so I only meet cashiers—and they’re busy.
Alyssa left me a super helpful comment in yesterday’s post:
Have you considered talking to Ruth about how you’re hoping for this relationship to be a relationship between equals?
It might be a good thing to have on the table. There are obvious power differentials in your relationship, obviously, but they go both ways I think. And if they realize what your vision is for the future of the relationship between your families it might give Ruth and Nora something to aim for as they develop their expectations for visits and so forth.
It’s almost embarrassing—no, I guess it is a little embarrassing—that it hadn’t occurred to me to do this. The birthparent/adoptive parent relationship models I’ve seen so far are:
- Additional Daughter. The firstmom gets emotional and often financial support from the adoptive parents, and the adoptive mom seems to feel both maternal and often somewhat frustrated.
- Supplicant. The firstmom waits quietly in the wings for whatever the adoptive parents are willing to offer, asking for pictures or a visit when she dares…and then agonizing over whether she has crossed a line.
- Hot Mess. The firstmom, either grieving hard, continuing past behaviors, or both, makes some splashy bad decisions. She makes the adoptive parents nervous, which strains the relationship, which sometimes causes her to act out even more.
- Trooper. The firstmom decides that if she’s necessarily along for the ride, she might as well be a good sport about things, and tries to be as emotionally uninvested as possible. Sometimes this means that she seems more interested in friendship with the adoptive parents than in the child—this may worry or upset the adoptive parents, which is especially tragic when it’s a pose designed to keep from upsetting the adoptive parents with her love and grief for the child.
- Specter. The firstmom decides that she can’t handle or isn’t interested in a relationship and vanishes.
The firstdads seem mostly to fall into the Specter category. I don’t particularly fancy any of these for myself; what’s a girl to do?
Part of the reason that I haven’t thought to talk to Ruth about my hope is that I worry that it’s born out of my (unhealthy?) desire to have a relationship that does not revolve entirely around Cricket. Of course we are tied together by the fact that all four of us love him, but I daydream about other ties—ties of shared experience and support, of being witness to the triumphs and trials of each other’s lives—I guess I’m describing adult friendship. Then, of course, I hear the voice of Junior High: “And why would we want to be friends with you?” That may be another reason why I haven’t broached the subject.