Closed Doors

I talked to my mother about her wondering whether “they will give him back” now that Ruth and Nora are splitting up. I tried to explain—“Not even if they set each other on fire would we get him back”—but she told me that if he wants to come live with us enough, and asks them enough, they will eventually send him when he’s a teenager or something. I want Cricket to be happy where he is; I don’t want him to be so miserable with his moms that he begs to leave them until they (maybe, possibly) decide to send him to live with us. But I can see why my mom doesn’t feel the same way.

My mother met Ruth and Nora briefly twice, when Cricket was coming up on six months old; when Cricket turned one, Ruth sent my mother a card telling her that while she was free to reach out if she wished, she would never see Cricket. (I haven’t read this card, but both women have talked to me about it.) So my mother has no picture of Cricket in his life as it exists—she sees him only as missing from her life and ours. She has sent him a book for his birthday every year, and while these are accepted (he showed us the most recent one over Skype), my mother never hears whether they were received. This isn’t unusual; nothing we send is ever acknowledged, not because it’s unwelcome, but because that’s just not something that Ruth does. (Nora made a comment once that indicated that Ruth [who handles all of their family correspondence] never sends thank-you notes or anything similar.) She sees a picture a few times a year, but since the only pictures I can show her are the ones Nora posts on Facebook (taken with her phone, candid, and almost never including either mom), she doesn’t ever get a clear picture of his full life with temple and daycare and family dinners. Heck, I don’t have too clear a picture myself, but I have a lot more to go on than my parents do.

Ruth has told me that they are tentatively planning to visit us at the end of April, when my parents will not coincidentally be in Greece; I know that if they can, they will visit us once a year here without ever so much as passing my parents in the doorway. If they can’t come when my parents are gone, they have said that they’d like to get a beach house or something similar and just meet us there. My mother has been staunchly opposed to the adoption from the start, and, being my mom, made some comments about driving up north and getting Cricket—one of these directly to Ruth. She is, no question, a walking, talking, challenging birth family situation. And I love her, and I wish that she could see her first grandson once in awhile.

In my dream scenario, Cricket will feel a part of both (all three?) families when he’s grown, and perhaps then he’ll get to meet the wealthy and slightly batty grandparents he never knew. My mother wrote in her only card to Ruth (which preceded the “no way, never, no how” card she got back) that she hoped that one day Cricket would be able to fly down and visit them—I had told her that it would never happen, more kindly I think than Ruth did, but she would truly love that. When I was twelve, I made a similar trip to see my grandmothers: I went to Disneyland, I saw Las Vegas, I went to the beach. Pretty exciting for a twelve-year-old living in South Carolina! I know that they’d do their damndest to show Cricket the time of his life (Disneyland, Legoland, many meals out), and my mother is a gracious hostess always. But when I put myself in Ruth’s shoes, I can’t imagine letting something like that happen. On the other hand, I know that it would only be possible after baby steps—like, say, coming for a visit when my mother is here and at least having tea together before we all beat feet for the coast. Not in this lifetime, probably.