Thursday, 27 June 2013


I imagined the day I would meet my birth mother for a long time.

Months. Years. Decades. Forever, it would seem, to my twenty-five year old self.

I had it all planned out, you see. It would be a beautiful day (obviously I planned for the weather), and we would have some sort of cheesy picnic or other reunion of sorts and we'd laugh and cry and recognize all the things that were similar in ourselves - my siblings, my mother and I. From the time I knew she was out there. from the moment I heard her voice I knew we would meet and it would be wonderful. And in many ways it was, except for one...

We met because her father is dying.

I woke to a text from my biological mother informing me that her father was in hospital, and the family had been called. She, her husband, brother and kids were driving from Ontario to Nova Scotia, in a race against time to be with her dad. I felt sick.

I didn't sleep much last night. My mind raced: how was I going to do this? Was I ready? Are you ever ready? I prepared myself for what I knew would be hard. I got dressed, did my hair and got in the car.

The drive was stressful - three hours in length. I drove in silence for a long time. Then with music blaring. F slept. I called Red. My mom called. I listened to my GPS and navigated an old highway I'd never driven before. I saw the sign to the hospital, I took a deep breath and I pulled in. Here it was.

I saw a group standing together outdoors, and I knew. I knew it was my family - even without seeing a face. Then I saw her. My mother. She turned and watched as my car pulled in. They all turned. I composed myself, and got out of the car. As she walked towards me we both began to cry. 25 years. A quarter century. Emotions and memories and so many things passed in the next seconds that the earth stood still as we hugged and cried, while family I didn't know looked on. We just cried.

Hugs. Introductions. Names. New faces. It was a lot to take in, and yet nothing at all, as I took it in stride and F did too. Strangers, and yet family. Strangers and yet familiar. Mine. Ours.

Just over two hours I spent with them, during their saddest time, as someone they loved and I would love to know is slipping away from them. It was bittersweet. I felt my heart break as Grandad looked at me and said "All the years we've missed..."

All the years.

25 years of memories and chances we've missed, so I did what I could to make up for them in that short time. As I said my good-bye, my heart shattered. I'll never get to know him. F will never get to know him. But I got to see him, and that's more than I might have had. I got to hold him and kiss him goodbye. Someone I don't even know, but care about in a way I can't explain. I can't explain any of it.

Darlene (birth Mom), Granddad Bill, Myself and F - Together, 25 years later.

I took the chance today, and I couldn't be more glad that I did. They slip away, you know. Chances. People. Loved ones. Memories. In a heartbeat, they're gone. Don't let them. Today, I saw where I came from. Who I am. Where I began and I finally found the closure I've wanted all my life.

I couldn't have done it without the love and support of my amazing parents, Debbie and David or without Red. Thank you. Without my friends, I might have lost the courage. Thank you.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013


I’ve grown to be pretty cautious over the years.

Once upon a time, I would ride my bicycle as fast as I could down the driveway – feet out to the sides, wind blowing in my face – and I wouldn’t worry a hair on my little head. It was fun, and I was carefree. I used to venture out and try things from playing a new sport to learning new information and then, one day, the fear of failure and disappointment and hurt instilled itself deep within my once carefree self.

And now I’m not so carefree. I don’t take chances any more. I analyze the bejeezus out of everything. I doubt. I question my own decisions and I won’t even get into the lack of faith I have in the decisions of others.

It was years of analyzing and questioning before I filled out those seemingly simple sheets of paper, moving frantically because I was so afraid I’d change my mind.  I was chancing it.

I wrote the letter. I took a chance – risking my fragile heart breaking again. What if there came no reply?

It’s been more than six months, and I’m not sorry I did it but I moved faster than I was prepared to and felt my comfort zone disappear as things began happening at the speed of light. So I put on the brakes. No more. I couldn’t.

Until I realized that I might not have the chance again. Time won’t wait for me to be ready. It can’t wait. Life moves on, and passes us by and chances escape us. Can I take that chance?

Can I risk the meltdown I’m sure will come from meeting my birth family on short notice – in under 48 hours? Can I live with the regret I might always have if I didn’t go in the 11th hour, when there may never be another opportunity?

These are the things that no one ever prepares you for. There’s no book on how to cope with adoption disclosure. There are no rules. No “What to Expect” literature as you venture into it all.

Unless you’ve ever looked in the mirror and wondered who you are and where you come from, you can’t understand. And the only thing harder than that, is when you look at the little person who is a part of you and wonder what parts of them you don’t know, because you don’t even recognize those parts in yourself.

What if this is my only chance to know?

Monday, 24 June 2013


Apparently, I do my best thinking in the bathroom - particularly in the bathtub, but I'm sure I've hit a stroke of genius while sitting on the throne in the past too.

Today, my stroke of genius hit me as I was rubbing coconut oil into my skin and trying to remember what I was going to do after I got dressed (I still don't remember). As I was frantically rushing around, Red ran in with F to help him use the potty, and then the two made their way to the kitchen where Red prepared F's breakfast.

Standing there, I realized why I've had so many crap relationships. I realized why I'm so happy, so in love.

I used to want a boyfriend. I had boyfriends. I was their girlfriend.

I didn't have real relationships. Real relationships aren't husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends. They're made up of partners - and for the first time, I can honestly say that I've got one.

But, every now and again I'll slum it and refer to myself as his girlfriend.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Happy "Mather's" Day

"Here's the Father's Day craft F made today," she said, smiling and holding a colourful, hand-painted card out to me. "I can tell you since you're not his father!"

I felt my heart sink into my stomach as the daycare teacher's teenage daughter showed me the masterpiece F had spent his day working on. It was the week before Father's Day weekend, and I guess I should have seen it coming. 

She gushed about how much F's dad would love it and how it wasn't the only piece of artwork the kids would be working on this week, completely oblivious to my (apparently well-hidden) pain. F's Dad hasn't been around for Father's Day in a while.

Both F and I are lucky to have other great men in our lives, like my Dad (Grampie) and Red, but my heart ached when the daycare teacher told me that F had announced that Grampie was his Daddy. Another kid's reply: Grampie can't be your daddy.

I recently saw a Facebook post by a friend exclaiming how crazy it is to not allow Mother's Day and Father's Day crafts in schools. She's entitled to that feeling as much as the next person is entitled to theirs, as much as I am to mine but I think it's a touchy subject for many people.

For the kids who have two Mommies or two Daddies, for the kids who don't have a Mommy or don't have a Daddy or are orphaned, and for the caregivers who have to deal with explaining that to their children. 

It's not easy to explain to a kid, especially with society and popular media portraying the "perfect little family": Mommy, Daddy and Kid(s). Throw in a pet and a picket fence, and by George, it's the North American Dream ... except when it's, um, not.

I'm a Dother. Or perhaps a Fom. Mather? MomDad? A hybrid, to say the least. 

Dad is a hat I've worn, right next to Nurse, Teacher, Friend, Horse, Punching Bag, Snot Wiping Station and Queen Snuggler. I didn't plan to, and maybe it doesn't suit me as well as I'd like it to but it's one of my hats now. Maybe one day I'll pass it on to someone else, but I'm not sure. For now, I'm just trying to hold my heart in one piece and help F understand what no three-year-old should have to try to figure out.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


I'm inclined to believe that society might have screwed me up.

This applies to many things, to be sure, but I've found that our youth (a group I'm rapidly outgrowing my membership of) have a very skewed perception of matters related to um, not being a youth. The dreaded G word.


Yuck, right? I know. Sigh. If I rewind 10 or 15 years, I thought 25 was old. Mature. Grownup. Probably a sweet age to be... and in many ways, I was right. I love being 25 and if I could, I might even try to stay 25 for 5 or 10 years because that's about how long it takes for you to be ready to be older than 25, from what I can tell.

I was sure that 25 meant owning a sweet car, my own home, and having a kick ass job making loads and loads of money.

Thanks, society.

At 18, I graduated high school and went to university with that in my head. I had no flipping idea what I wanted to be when I grew up, and sometimes I still don't. I went off to university, no more than a fetus, and I felt lost for six years until I decided to pursue my passion.

For the first time in my life, I leave work happy. I go to work happy. I am happy at work.

I love my job. My career. And I probably won't stay on this path forever.

If I had known this simple truth a long time ago, I could have avoided a lot of stress and anxiety and disappointment. As my friends' younger siblings, and our baby cousins and family friends' kids graduate high school, I hope they all realize this:

 It's OK if you don't know what you want to be when you grow up. You'll figure it out in your own time.

That's life, society. It's growing up as you go along.