A Bit More

I should clarify a bit, I think. I had planned all along to write this post or something like it, but didn’t want to add it to my Thanksgiving writing—as I mentioned, I am finding the question of thankfulness for Cricket less than straightforward at the moment. I want to be able to have adoption not be present for some things in my life, and reading Kara’s comment made me realize/remember that that could be seen by Cricket as dismissive or unloving, which I certainly don’t want. On the other hand, I don’t want to end every baby book entry (he hates swaddling! so would I!) with a note about missing Cricket, both because I don’t want to sound like a sad sack and because I don’t want to be in that mental space all the time. I’ll have to ask Cricket and everyone else to please have faith that I am missing him and feeling guilty about him even when I don’t say.

 

I wasn’t personally hurt by Kara: I want to make that clear. In fact, part of the reason I felt bad was imagining myself in her position, and then worrying that I was putting Cricket in that position. My love is far from perfect, but he’s got it all the time, even when I’m gushing over the new baby.

Adopted Out

Kara left a comment on my Thanksgiving post, concerned that I hadn’t mentioned Cricket. I had decided to talk about adoption stuff separately, but as she pointed out, that’s a bit sad all on its own—I didn’t quite think of it in terms of “this post will be happier without Cricket in it,” but can see that, guiltily, now that it has been pointed out to me. In fact, Cricket has been much on our minds over the last week. As always.

Several times, I have almost called Joey by Cricket’s name; I feel awfully guilty about this, and ended up confessing to Mr. Book, who said that he’s been going through the same thing. Talking to my mother on the phone, she told me that we’d do Christmas stockings while I’m in California for the funeral, and that we’d even “do one for Cricket!” I hesitated before asking whether she meant Joey—after all, I’d be happy to get stocking stuff to Cricket if that’s really what she meant—and she had meant Joey, and was mortified, kept apologizing. Everything that we missed with Cricket is being played out in front of us right now, and while it hasn’t stopped us from enjoying Joey, it’s very present. Mr. Book has spent some time talking quietly to Joey, apologizing for the fact that his older brother isn’t here.

On Thanksgiving morning, Ruth sent me an email asking after us and telling me that Cricket is looking at pictures of Joey with some interest and repeating back the facts of the situation as he understands them. I wrote back the same day, talking about how things were going for us, thanking her for keeping us updated; it was good to have Cricket in some way present on the holiday. Am I grateful for him? I’m honestly not sure how to answer that one, but I love him, and I miss him. Later that night, I bought his birthday present (a cute dinosaur playset thingy) and his Christmas present: two books, How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You and Toot and Puddle. I believe my parents are sending him a book for his birthday, so while the whole may be a bit boring for a two-year-old, he’ll at least have a clear sense of his birth family’s ideas about what is important.

Mr. Book’s mother’s reaction is one I’ve worried about for some time, considering how upset she was about Cricket—she completely lost her cool when sent a picture of him as a newborn, and told us that she planned to pretend that he had died. Well, on Saturday we got a package from her, full of stuff for Joey: Christmas onesies and a milestones book and a picture she’d drawn herself of the three of us as a squirrel family. [excuse my flash!]

I’m both glad that the Dowager Book has decided to be a gramma to Joey and freshly sad for Cricket; he’s starting to understand more and more things, and I hate to have one of those things be the fact that some of his relatives can’t face the fact of his existence. He’s a sweet toddler boy, for heaven’s sake—he’s done nothing to deserve the weirdness of these grownup people. I don’t mind the fact that the Dowager Book is still pretending that I don’t exist—after all, I did do something to deserve the weirdness. But not the boys.