Thursday, October 19, 2006

What is a photo?

I was emailing a friend today and sending her a new photo we had received of "T" and in the email I touched on something that is very different for me about this adoption. Here I am, searching this photo of our son-to-be, and I am suddenly brought up short by the fact that unlike my other sons, there will be so much I don't know about him in the way I know Matthew and Joshua, and I'll never know him in the same way. I know every inch of Matt and Josh's body. I know that they each have a lone freckle on a finger, Josh on his thumb and Matt on his pinkie. I know that the very faint light spot on Matthew's forhead is from him rubbing it raw and getting a rug burn. I know Josh has a scar in the shape of a half moon on his side from an odd rash he had as a baby. I was in their lives for every bump and bruise, every scraped knee. I know every inch of their body intimately from bathing and cuddling, lotioning and powdering. I've been peed on, pooped on and thrown up on by each of them.

But our new son will come to us as an 8 year old boy, one who already has scars from life, both internal and external, that I'll know nothing about. I'll never have the privilege of snuggling with him when he is still small enough to fit easily in my arms. As I looked at the photo which was such a gift to have, I found myself trying to look for those details, to fill in the blanks, so to speak. I looked carefully at his face, his knees, his ears. I'd close the digital photo, only to open it once again a couple of hours later to simply sit and stare at it. I tried to wrap my mind around all that he and I have missed together. As I explained to my dear friend, it is all a part of bonding with him long distance, of trying to feel connected in the only way I can at this stage. And even as I write this tonight, I also realize that for all we have missed together, there will be much more that will not be missed...falls off bicycles, soccer injuries, and no doubt a freckle or two waiting to be discovered.

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