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Saturday, September 28, 2013

My Son the Godsend, part 5

My Son, the Godsend, part 5
I am going to backtrack for a moment and share some letters that my son and I exchanged, prior to meeting.
In preparation for meeting him, I wrote a the following letter:
April 29, 1999
My dearest son,
I imagine you are shocked, after 36 years, to hear that your biological mother is trying to establish a relationship with you.
When W.A.R.M  (Whatcom Adoption Reunion Movement) the search agency, asked me to write a letter to you, I sat down and wrote a ten page letter, all about my life and your biological family; that letter is ready to send, but I thought it best to keep things simple for this first contact.
What can I say?  When I held you the day you were born, I looked at your lovely long fingers and your exquisite little face and knew I was giving an awesome gift to someone.  Little did I know how intensely I would miss you.
I love you from the deepest recesses of my heart.  I think about you and pray for you every day.  I long for a relationship with you.
Please forgive me.
Then I made the decision, before he had a chance to respond, to send the other letter, thinking that he would be happy to know about the achievements of his siblings, essentially bragging about the family he was now going to be a part of.  How terribly insensitive that letter was!

His response: 
Every time I have tried to write something, I haven’t been able to.  I get angry.  Not so much at what happened in 1962, but what is happening now.
Why?  Why now?  Thirty six years later.  You come into my life and turn it upside down.  You want to be involved and you want it now.
You’re my blood and that is very important to me.  But so is commitment.  My family has made that commitment to me and for me for them. They saw me through all the bad years and stuck with me  and loved me no matter what.
You come into my life and send me information about how good your life has been, you and your family.  My life has been hard, very hard.  If you only knew some of the things that have happened to me, you would not be in such a rush to meet me.
Listen, I’m glad you are in my life now.  But I don’t know you and I’m scared.  I’m confused.  That doesn’t happen to me very often.
I don’t believe I had any hard feelings for 1962.  I just can’t understand, why now?  I’m sorry if this sounds harsh; it’s not meant to be.  
You could only guess what I am feeling, and you would be wrong.  I can’t help myself from loving you, but some days I try to. I do love you.  I do want to know you, but I make no promises other than I will try.
I have a high pressure job, a lot of stress.  I’m buying a house, our first one, at 36 years old.
I’m a drug addict in recovery and my life is great now.  It has never been better, my life.  On the other hand, I feel like I’m going through the motions.  I have a lot on  my shoulders.
I hope you try to understand.

How brutally honest he was and is!
After exchanging these letters. we met (see part 4) and one of the first things he said was “When you find out about me, you won’t want to know me.”  I realized I was speaking the truth of my heart, when I responded, “There is nothing you could tell me that would keep me from loving you and wanting you in my life.  I love you unconditionally.”
In fact, his story of addiction and recovery made me love him even more, if that were possible. He has overcome great odds, with the help of his faithful wife and supportive family.  At the time I first met him, he had just bought a lovely home and was running a successful business as a house painter.  I met his wife and son, his employees and the members of the adult softball team he coached.  I was so pleased to see how much he was loved and respected by  all of these people. 
  As we chatted at the coffee shop, drove to replace my shattered tire and drove to his worksite and ball field, he talked about how painful it was for him to hear what a good life I had and how successful his half siblings were, while his own father had left his mother and four adopted children, after suffering from alcoholism.  Things just hadn’t turned out the way I had hoped they would.  in the best adoption scenario, the child has more opportunities and stability in the adoptive family than what the single mom could have provided.  In this case, my other five children had educational opportunities that Jim did not, and more importantly, a steady, loving father. Thankfully, Jim  had a wonderful, strong mother, a nurse, who raised all four of the children alone after her husband left. 
His mom was lovely to me, and I am so happy that I had an opportunity, while she was still living, to thank her for raising my son.  I attended her funeral, at Jim’s request.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

This week!

Several people have asked me to write My Son, the Godsend, part 5, so I plan to work on that this week... but in the meantime, here is a picture of me with Jim, his wife, Teresa and one of his sons, Bobby, celebrating Jim's 51st birthday on September the 6, 2013. His older son, Zach wasn't able to join us. Art was taking the picture.   I will also be writing this week about a little miracle story about my connection to my friend, Jordanna, the subject of  "Poem for a Dying Friend."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Time of the Trillium

It was elegant, unexpected, illusionary; a flower almost hidden in a bower of fern. Three glossy leaves, very dark green, provided a frame.
The flower seemed to peek out from the ferns, as if inviting me to come closer. I bent to see if it had a scent and found that only a fresh, earthy smell rose toward me, not the sweet perfume my child
s mind had expected. My fingers stroked the pristine petals; they felt like the satin edging on my favorite blanket. The leaves were slick and smooth, the ferns feathery and light. I had never seen a flower quite like it.
But more than its physical properties, the flower I saw in the Bellingham woods one spring day many years ago imparted a sense of wonder that have stayed with me all of my life, for it was through that flower that I was first introduced to the mystery of God. In that sun dappled woods, protected by towering pines, I experienced for the first time an awareness of Gods beauty and creation. There was a perfection about the scene, the pale green moss carpeting the forest floor, the shafts of sunlight dancing here and there, that even my childish mind could appreciate. But it was my mothers voice and the feel of her hand on my shoulder, the way she bent down beside me to examine this fabulous treasure, that cemented the moment in my mind forever.
“Thats a Trillium,” she said. “Its a very special flower because it represents God in the Trinity.” We didnt belong to a church at that time and this was the first time she had spoken to me about God. Her own family had not been churchgoers, but somewhere along the line she had learned about the Father, Son and Holy Ghost and she explained them to me in the simplest terms. I saw ripe tears, like silver coins, slip from the corners of her eyes, tears that I only understood many years later, when I too experienced the holy yearning, the longing that can suddenly pounce upon the heart... Kneeling there, in her faded slacks and dimity shirt, her hand still on my shoulder, her voice softened as she continued. “Its the only flower in the whole world,” she said, “that has three petals and three leaves. It always blooms just at Easter time, to remind us of the sacrifice Jesus made for us.” She straightened up, placed my hand in hers and began to lead me on the path towards home. She walked very slowly, her lanky legs barely moving, as if to prolong this magical moment as she told me about the life and death of Jesus Christ. Her voice shook slightly as she spoke. Her large hand gripped mine a bit too tightly, but I didnt mind. I wanted that day to go on forever, with its heightened intimacy, shared mystery and sense of discovery.
And though my mother is gone now, that day did go on forever, as fresh today as the day it was lived. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Bear and the Gum Balls

By Judy Borman Harding

My grandson, who was ten at the time, had come home from a play date with one of his California neighbors, excitedly telling our daughter that “Those people are really rich!”  My daughter knew the family he had visited was a family of modest means, so she asked him what made him think that.
“They have gum-ball machines in EVERY room,” he answered. 
When I heard this story, the wheels began to turn.  “Hmmm,” I thought, “So all grandpa and I have to do to make our grandkids think we are rich is to have a gum-ball machine in every room!”  So in preparation for the grandkids’ upcoming visit, I went shopping. Somehow, though, I couldn’t imagine fooling Alex into thinking we were rich, because our Rim home only has four rooms and adding gum-ball machines didn’t make it look particularly opulent.
  Then I saw it:  At a garage sale, I found one of those floor model gum-ball machines with three deep chambers, just the thing to impress a child.  In my attempt to appear rich, however,  I was considerably poorer after investing in the machine and all of the gum-balls to fill the three compartments.  Nonetheless, I was quite happy to set the machine on our front porch, where it would make a great first impression when the grandkids came to visit.  Well, that gum-ball machine made quite an impression, all right, and not just on the kids!
After our grandchildren (and a few neighborhood kids) had glutted themselves on gum-balls for a day or two, helping themselves to the penny pot I provided, Alex and his sister, Tessa, were sitting on our couch chatting, when Alex started screaming “Grandma, come look!  Come look!”  Art and I ran to the living room, glanced out the window, and saw..... A BEAR!  He was lumbering up our steps, his beady eyes fixed on the gum-ball machine.  As we all watched in horrified surprise, he whacked the machine as hard as he could and it crashed to the floor, breaking all three chambers.  Hundreds of gum-balls came skittering out, covering the porch in a gay carpet of yellow, red, blue and green.
Needless to say, that bear feasted!  For almost an hour he sat there, happily stuffing himself with the confections.  It was fascinating to watch him pick them up, with his prehensile grip, one by one, chewing blissfully.  After  he had eaten the very last one, with the exception of a couple he futilely tried to retrieve from a crack in the floor of the porch, he slowly dragged himself down the steps, turned for one last look, gave a satisfied roar, and disappeared into the woods.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sculptured Nails

I had my nails done;
I just had the urge.
They’re sculptured and painted,
(I decided to splurge!)
They’re filed and strengthened,
Tended and cleaned,
Buffed, shaped and lengthened,
Polished and creamed.
And when all completed
And fully displayed,
I posed them before me,
Artfully arrayed,
And with a bold confidence,
Not previously known,
My hands took on a life of their own!
They fluttered and flitted,
Carelessly flicking,
Gestured and waved,
Nails noisily clicking,
And I felt like a woman 
Wholly transformed,
As my hands, like dancers,
Gaily performed!

I’ve worn sculptured nails
For a week or more.
I’ve tallied up points, 
and here’s the score:
Three nylons snagged,
Two boxes unopened,
Four pop tops unlifted,
Two nails broken!
One half hour wasted.
While touch up was drying,
Another nail chipped;
(I’m reduced to crying!)
So though it’s been fun,
I’m beginning to see,
I’m afraid fake nails,
Are really not me!

Judy Borman Harding