Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The Feminine Gifts

Side by side, in comfortable and companionable silence, we work in the kitchen. Sweep the floor yet again, wipe the table yet again, head for the dryer yet again for another monster load of jeans to be folded. There is a touch of surprise to it still, this mother-daughter relationship that is building between Olesya, Angela and I. I never expected it, in fact I have never had any preconceived notions of what life would be like after any of our adoptions. They are young still, but there is a common gender based connection that runs through the 3 of us, and as the fear and newness have subsided a quiet and subtle routine has developed. Slowly, I am beginning to understand what generations before me have experienced. The awareness and sensitivity that women bring to a home doesn't have an age limit.

The phone rings this morning, someone dear to my heart just checking in. Reading between the lines she just thought I might need to know someone was cheering from the sidelines, and had an ear should I need it.

Another message later from yet another, reaching out to say "I care".

A frustrating day has ensued, nothing serious, just the usual trials and tribulations that are part and parcel of a life like mine. The "O's" are upon me...overwhelmed, overcompensating, overanxious. Yet still ever abundant. The worst day in my "new life" still beats the best day in my "old life" of childlessness years ago. I wouldn't trade a single sweaty sock found out by the trampoline yet again for a moment of the life I used to have.

But some days are simply harder than others, and sometimes you have a series of them right in a row.

An evening call, the voice of a beloved friend soothes even in our commiserating over life's little frustrations. We laugh, we growl over children who just don't get it sometimes, and beneath the surface there is a safety in our sharing, for we each know we'd rather die ourselves than have any harm come to the very children we find ourselves grousing about...and worrying about. It is a life shared, an acceptance that is rare, a love that is solid in a world that at moments spins out of control as we hang on trying to wrangle it the best we can.

The swamp cooler blows a gentle breeze across my skin as laptop nestled in bed with me allows my first best friend to touch my life. Years cascading backwards as her loving words touch my life just as her friendship did all my younger years. I can still see the green dress she wore the first day we met, handball held out in offering as we both tentively recognized that our childhood soul mate had made her appearance. The first, sweetest and most innocent introduction to the mysterious world of the feminine connection. Perhaps the very fact that this relationship was so rich and full was the reason it took years to again find others who could fill that role, as the inevitable happened and we grew apart as our high school years waned. She mentions a bookmark she still has, all these years later. I am astounded and humbled.

There are so many others since who have invested their hearts in my life, who have provided a safe place to rest when needed, a new perspective when I have run dry, a caring and understanding heart when I had nowhere else to turn. Some have listened for hours as my emotions spilled out and over, filling the space between us. Others have been but a blip but left behind a wisdom gained through hard earned experience.

I love them all, I am grateful for them all, I am blessed by them all.

I sit with them beside me, reading from a book in which is written in my fathers hand my name and age all those years ago. One leans on my shoulder, another glances my way periodically engrossed in a drawing yet wanting to be near. We look at one another, knowing looks exchanged as Joshie says something cute. Wordless communication, the secret language of womanhood. I am being initiated into the other side of the relationship once privy only to my own mother, now the role I wear so suddenly and with great surprise. It was not eased into, it was a mad dash leaving me breathlessly in hot pursuit.

So many have helped me, have carried me to this place. It is their gifts I have received that make me whole in a way I never would have been otherwise. It is that which I gather round me, making a splendid stew of confidence and acceptance I will try and pass on, even if I didn't fully partake of it myself. I'll fake it until they make it.

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