Thursday, November 29, 2012

Songs in Red and Gray

I had an odd and revealing moment this afternoon.

I had just finished up doing some text edits and stopped off to see if my friend little X in Tucson was doing better after his surgery (amazing, isn't it, that our epistolary friendships now take place in realtime? I think we often take for granted the miracle of digital electronic communication...) when I came across a post from another friend, a young woman who has adopted not just one but two little girls from China.

Her younger daughter is dealing with attachment issues and this woman had simply had a trying morning and couple of weeks and wanted to tell us about it.

I went to her blog and read her post and, well, just felt badly for her and her daughters and her husband. Attachment disorders are hell, and there's no disguising or ameliorating that. When the normal human connection between childish needing and parental giving is broken, well...

But the sharp stick that it prodded into my back was the thought of my own little person that came with us to rainy, cold Portland these five years gone by.
That tiny burr-headed voiceless toddler is buried so deeply within the busy little wriggling girl who loves ponies and kitties and sparkly jewelry that I can barely remember her.

I know she's still in there; when my daughter collapses under my scolding that's the little girl running to cry on her wubbie. When Missy responds to gentle teasing with angry tears, that's the little girl weeping.

She had her own hardships with learning to love us and be loved. Somewhere inside that little girl still mourns the mother she never knew.
But that little girl has gone far away now. Bright-eyed Missy, with her bottomless craving for sweet sesame seaweed and Chef Boy-ar-dee ravioli, with her silly giggle, with her artless questions, has pushed that little girl far inside the rooms of the shiny playhouse life she's built since the day she met us in that chilly room in the big hotel on Shamian Dao. And I realized that her present and her future; her life as a Chinese-American girl in the United States, as a first-grader in Portland, as a daughter and sister, as...well, as herself has become the Missy that we know. We have almost lost that other, frightened, little girl that cried herself to sleep in the makeshift crib.
And I paused for a moment and flicked back over to this blog and sat chin in hand looking at the link to the China Center for Adoption Affairs; the website that almost ran our lives, Mojo and mine, back in those terrible and nervous days as we waited for news of our daughter. And realized that I hadn't looked at, or cared about, that connection for years.

And I opened the dashboard and deleted the link.
Those of you that have followed me and my daughter through the past five years know that our past is our present and our future; we carry the scars and the gifts of the past through our days as the seeds of our future.

But those scars - and the gifts that sometimes gentle and heal them - are not changeless. Just as our faces and bodies change those marks of our pasts change as well. Where we are going takes us around the corner from where we have been, and the sightlines to those places are lost.

The road my little girl travels will always lead from China and her lost mother and the life that she lost such a short time ago.
But her face is set firmly forward, and her hurrying steps are taking her on that road the leads - I hope, I dearly hope - to a busy, bright tomorrow.


Leon said...

Chief, good call. Sometimes it's bad to be living in the past.

I spotted this recently and felt you should be aware (if not already). You live in Portland right? Well here's a mayoral candidate you can support:

FDChief said...

We have a tradition of these sort of people "running for mayor" here, Leon. One year we had a clown. Not a "clown" like Willard Romney but an ACTUAL clown, some juggalo who went by "Mister Jiggles" or something like that. It says something for the state of our democracy that the bozo got something like 400 votes...

At least Amy seems funny and cute.

FDChief said...

Aaaaaand here he is:

"Extremo the Clown". Fucker got not 400 votes but over 1,000.

Man, WASF.