Blogging allowed me to do something productive with my crankiness: I messaged Ruth and asked, politely, for her to get back to me if she has the chance. And she did! The power of nag. Pretty mixed feelings about that.
It feels like such a time of change. To the north, Ruth and Nora are changing their relationship and their lives pretty drastically; Ruth is going back to work, they are living separately and dating other people, and Cricket is being parented almost entirely by Ruth. Here in the south, we’re expecting a child, looking ahead to more schooling for the Mister (some hard choices to be made around that), and our feelings about Ruth and Nora are changing, too. Mr. Book more or less hates both of them now, but is of course willing to hide that from them forever—I get angry when I think about things, although I also have some sympathy for them—it’s weirdest for me, I guess, no longer to be able to say “Well, while I regret the placement, I don’t regret the choice of them as parents.” I’m not sure when exactly that changed (it may have been before the separation), but it is certainly not true anymore: I absolutely regret the choice of them as adoptive parents for Cricket. And Ruth loves Cricket, and she is devoted to him, and I would never try to come between them. But that’s really not all that I was looking for.
In some ways, it doesn’t really matter, that last, unpleasant change; I would never tell Ruth or Nora that, and I already regretted the adoption, so what’s the difference? But it does feel like a difference, and I think it makes me a little less patient when weeks go by without answers to time-sensitive questions (for example). Nora will not be able to visit us, and she and Ruth seem to assume that we will be sad about that, when in fact we’re slightly relieved: slightly less tension in the room if the two of them aren’t together, I think. Certainly we won’t miss her for herself, which is ugly but true. I don’t think I will respond differently directly to Ruth, now, but I resent things a little more, get frustrated a little more quickly. This is something to work through and get past, because we are tied together for the foreseeable future. And I still don’t think that she’s a bad person, although I think that adopting in their situation (as I now understand it) was a bad thing to do—although they’re far from the only ones to do it. I don’t think their intentions have been evil at any point.
This has all been an odd way of leading in to the announcement that they are visiting, Ruth has bought plane tickets, and they’ll be here for a couple of days in just under three weeks. I can admit, now, that I have a small gift for Cricket—a photobook with pictures of Joey—acquired well before we knew they were coming. What can I say? I told myself that I could just mail it, and surely I would have had they chosen not to come. One of my less good qualities is that if I am not in touch with someone—talking on the phone, chatting online, emailing, visiting in real human interaction, you name it—I start to feel more and more distant. Maybe that’s normal; I really have no idea. It’s been a problem for me with my sister Tammy, and perhaps a much bigger (if less long-standing) problem with Cricket. When we don’t have contact, I feel more and more baffled about him. Who is this child to me? I have a duty to him, I want very much for him to be happy and well, and I am grieved by his absence—but anything more warm or nuanced fades to a gray. Some of that, too, is Joey; he is so incredibly present, and demands so much of my brain, that I think much less about Cricket or the Possum than I would if they, too, were here. I tried to write a blog post about that a couple of weeks ago, and Joey (otherwise peacefully eating a pecan butter sandwich) kept wandering over to get my attention: “Mama? Up!” or even just brushing up against me and smiling. And it’s great to see him, and I just smiled back and gave up on the typing. Now I’m going to see both of them in the same space—the first time that Joey will have been able to walk or talk at a visit—and I really don’t know what my brain is going to do. Right now, I just imagine myself being protective of Joey, which he probably won’t need. He’s an outgoing sort. But it’s hard to think of what it will actually be like to have my two separated sons in the same room, talking and everything. It makes me tear up just to write it, although I know that’s an easier feat with a pregnant lady than usually. I can make plans (and I am) to keep two little kids cheerfully occupied, but I can’t actually imagine them both.