Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Thoughts #11 ~ The Day Before Mother's Day

Several years back my cousin got married in St. Louis, my hometown. Tom was always there when I was growing up so going to the wedding was like seeing a little brother get married. The ceremony was in one of the most beautiful churches that I had ever seen! The reception was held in the beautiful Millennium Hotel, and it was there that the butterflies started in my stomach, really started. They had been there the whole day, actually they started when I stepped onto the plane back in California. But when we got to the hotel I could barely stand up straight or stand still. Why? Because my daughter was going to be arriving at the reception any minute. That's right, Bella was on her way there and I could hardly contain myself.

You see, when I placed Bella with her family I had met them through Tom's dad John, who was also my cousin, but really more like an uncle ... (I know, my husband cannot keep the people in my family straight either. But this cousin was older and like a mentor, so I called him Uncle.) Bella's amazing parents asked my uncle John to be Bella's Godfather so that just in case anything happened to them, she would always have ties to my family. So, when Tom sent out the invitations for his marriage, he included not only Bella but many of her family members because John has business ties with her family. So now that you are completely confused, let me more on to the reception.

I found myself constantly scanning the room looking for a sign that she was there. She is hard to miss being the spark of sunshine that she is, and her laugh is loud and contagious. I wondered if she was nervous? Was she excited? When would she be there? My family was just as anxious as I was because like me they had the pleasure of watching her grow throughout her life but since she had grown into young womanhood they had not seen us together since my wedding 7 years before. (see Happy Thoughts #7) We were all trying to contain ourselves, all the while looking around keeping an eye out for her entrance. The longer we waited, the harder it was to breathe. I was so nervous, so tickled that I would be spending the evening with her.

Then, from across the room I could see John smiling, talking and walking with someone towards my direction. He made eye contact with me and I could see in his face that he was with her. I stood up to get a better look and straighten my dress and hair. He winked at me, confirming that she was right there with him. Around the huge pole they went and on the other side my eyes met hers, and I could hear a collective sigh from all my family members that were sitting next to me ... me? She took my breath away! Long flowing brown hair, round face, sparkling green eyes, freckles abound and a smile that had me feeling like I was looking into a mirror ... she was stunning. I could not stop the water from filling my eyes as I saw her walk a little faster towards me, obviously as excited to see me as I was to see her. I lifted my arms as tears fell out of the corners of my eyes. She smiled and walked right up to me and returned the hug. There was no sound. There was no one else there at that moment. In my mind I was just standing there with me and her. 'You are gorgeous! Oh, thank you for coming!' I muttered in her ear. "It is so great to see you!" she said through her tears. It was one of the best hugs ever!

We then looked at each other for what seemed like forever. I felt like I was star gazing, and her smile was blinding! I could hear sniffles and crying going on around me because of the emotional feelings my family has towards her, towards my adoption choice. It was the beginning of a night filled with dancing, laughing, chatting, staring and just being together. There were many photographs that were taken of us that night, matter of fact after we first embraced (even during the squeezing) you would have thought that Brad and Angelina were there, the flashing was more like paparazzi than everyday pictures. We mentioned it to each other and laughed, telling each other how fabulous we were.

Later, as we were enjoying the reception I had to keep passing the section that had the rest of her family, many of whom I have never met. I noticed my first time up, many eyes were on me watching me walk to the bar to get my Scotch. (Needed to calm that craziness in my heart and mind!) I was met with many smiles, many nods as if to say 'Hello, we appreciate you', but also some gaping mouths because to look at me is to look at her. WE are nearly identical in looks, and let me tell you the smile is just TOO similar! It is me, younger and with darker hair. This was the first time for many of them that they were seeing me so I am sure it was a shock to see so much of her in me. There were a couple of people who said hello to me, some that came and introduced themselves to me and some that took the time to tell me just how much Bella has meant to them and how wonderful she is to have in their lives. This, for me, was like listening to a beautiful opera. These compliments, these words of appreciation but most of all the words of praise that all of them had for Bella just made me so proud. It was a night filled with validation for me that she really was leading a happy, healthy, loved and beautifully blessed life.

Bella and I reconnected that night. We enjoyed being together that night. We had the opportunity to just hang out with each other and explore one another after some years on hiatus from other meetings. I could tell that she truly loved me in all that she did and said, not to mention the look in her eye was one of admiration throughout the evening. It broke both of our hearts to leave that evening. She and I both cried, not because it was sad but because we just did not want the fun to end. I was on cloud nine that evening, and for about three months after that. Just thinking about it takes me back and brings a smile to my face even as I write this. How very blessed I am that her family raised her to know me, to understand me and to accept me for the person that I am.

I awoke the next morning and it was Mother's Day. I would have to say that it was one of the best Mother's Day ever.


Not Just A Birth Mom said...

What a beautiful post!

A Life Being Lived said...

This post gave me goosebumps!! Loved it, thank you for sharing.