Tiny Sweaters

We’re probably driving up to the Emerald City on Saturday. I am in my usual state of not really wanting to, whereas Mr. Book is really strongly feeling the desire to see the Cricket. The other night, I realized aloud that I have some hand-knitted baby stuff that I made sort of for Cricket that has been packed up for a year and some, and Mr. Book started thinking about what it would be like to have two little boys running around our apartment. “I miss him all the time,” he said. “I think about him every day,” I responded, which is the closest true thing that I can say. I wonder why it’s so different for the two of us.

I’m not sure whether I’m supposed to bring food to this visit; I always have before, but I’ve always had some conversation about it with Ruth beforehand, which hasn’t yet happened this time around. I figure some kind of hostess gifty thing would certainly be in order. Maybe I should bring a dessert? I don’t know what’s going on, but I feel like this year has been me feeling less and less connected to Cricket. Mr. Book doesn’t seem to be having that experience. I still care about him, I still want to do right by him, and I’m still plotting out his next birthday present, but. I honestly wonder whether part of it is because the visits have been so stressful and the relationship with his moms has felt so hard that he’s associated in my head with mostly bad things. It’s not like we’ve had any good times together. That’s an ugly little sentence right there, and hopefully it will be different in the future, but it’s true right now. The last visit was the best one that we’ve had so far, and if in a couple of years we can, I don’t know, go to a children’s museum or something, that could be a good experience. But as it is, if the visits weren’t so stressful, they’d be terribly boring.

I’ve been wondering too about my feelings for him after something that my mom said. She was saying on Sunday that she things that in some ways she thinks I’m much better suited to be a mom than she was—one of the things she mentioned was that she never liked other people’s children. Right now, this year, I love Cricket, but I have certainly loved other people’s children this much. When he was newly born, I was completely in love with him, but that broke me, so I stopped. But it’s been awhile, and it doesn’t seem ideal for me to care about him as much as a little girl I still remember whom I babysat as a teenager, or my parents’ friends toddlers back when my parents had friends with toddlers: Am I morally obligated to try to love him the way I did when I was his mom for real? Maybe not that much, but more than I do now? I think the Mister is having a harder time because he looks at Cricket and sees his son, and I don’t see the same thing when I look at the kid. When I get hints of that connection, I get panicky. Maybe I’d be better equipped to handle that feeling now; does that mean that I need to feel it again?

10 thoughts on “Tiny Sweaters

  1. Ack, you don’t need to do anything. You don’t NEED to feel a certain way. You only feel what you feel, for whatever reasons you feel it. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism, maybe it just started that way, but the way you feel about Cricket is the way you feel about Cricket, and that’s all there is. Your relationship with him will continue to grow and change – as will your feelings towards him. I can’t possibly know, but I think your attitude might be healthier – or at least less painful – than it would be to constantly be thinking of him as YOUR son that you lost to somebody else, or to love him like a mother every day and not be able to be with him.

  2. There isn’t one right way to do this or how to feel. There isn’t a love-o-meter that you’re ever going to have to stand in front of while Cricket presses a button. It’s enough to go through the motions and make way for future contact when you will have to rewrite your relationship anyway. Sometimes I get tired of people telling me that they know how similar or how not similar Pennie’s feelings must be for Madison & Roscoe. They are different children in totally different situations and of COURSE she has different feelings for them but how much and how detailed doesn’t seem important right now. Maybe one day it WILL be important but I don’t know, right now we’re all just living where we’re at.

    And morals? You are not morally obligated to do anything but be there for him in whatever way you can without doing yourself harm. One day I hope that you are able to have the connection that panics you in a way that does NOT panic you, you know? I hope that you two get to a place where having him in your life is less stressful than it is now but so much of that is NOT on you. You are doing the best you can and damn it, SusieBook, THAT IS PLENTY.

    • I *am* motivated mostly by the fact that when I hear how Mr. Book feels and compares it to the way I feel, I feel like a jackass. Not stellar.

  3. I’ve written this here before that my daughter’s b-mom has clearly stated that she does not love L like a daughter. She has 3 older daughters and she does not feel the same. She went so far as to say she loves her like a niece, but not as much as ther niece she sees all the time from the only sister she likes. I have analyzed this statement many times, and have kinda come to the same conclusion as Lia- it is how she feels right now and no matter the reason she feels it, it is just what she feels.

    • Funny – when I am shopping for clothes or shoes as gifts for my daughter (who was adopted at birth by some fabulous people almost 9 years ago), and I am unsure of her size, and an employee asks if I need help, I say, “Well, I’m shopping for my niece…” Not having other children, I guess I have nothing with which to compare my love for her. Sort of like you said, it is just what it is.

  4. I’m with Dawn: where you are is where you are, no comparisons (as a wise woman recently counseled me in regard to worrying about my not being/doing enough for Saskia’s mom) & really being as present as you can be that can feel almost okay, PLENTY is right.

    Hang in. Take care of yourself. Ultimately, whatever that means is better for everyone else too.

  5. I agree with everybody else about giving yourself a break. I also wonder if there’s some quasi-evolutionary push to make your whole self focus on how much you love this potential little being your body is spending so much energy nurturing now. I know Dawn had good advice for me when I had my first “But Rowan was so perfect for us and no other child will be the same!” freakout because no, no one will be the same, but you can love others differently and that’s just normal. You and Mr. Book seem to process a lot of the adoption experience differently; it’s probably no surprise that love is like that too, though I think narratives about love tend to make it sound overly similar rather than unique.

  6. I think it’s good that you’re going to visit Cricket this weekend, though I can imagine a feeling of dread (for the toll the visit takes on you emotionally). When Cricket and the little bird are older, I think you guys will have a blast going to museums, visiting various Emerald City highlights. That said, I know this is not as good as having both of your boys with you and Mr. Book.

    For now, Ruth puts you guys through the wringer in exchange for time with Cricket. I can imagine this would make it even harder to feel uninhibited in your emotions…you seem like such a loving person Susie. We are here for you!

  7. Again, resonating with what others have said… all you can do is experience what you experience. There’s no right or wrong about it- just you being honest about what’s true for you in this moment, which in itself is a beautiful thing.

  8. It sounds to me like you’re protecting your heart, which is totally normal, in my opinion. Try to be kind to yourself – there’s no test to pass here.

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