About Me

My photo
I placed my daughter in an open adoption in 2002. I started this blog in 2004 as a place to journal and eventually I became part of a community. The community has moved on, but I have decided to come back.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Peeling Potatoes (NAR)

You should know that I don't cook. Most of the time, cooking makes me want to cry- I hate it that much.

Still a few times a year, I find it in me to make a meal- meatloaf, usually (if you ask anyone who knows me, they'll tell you it's the only thing I make- in fact, when my daughter visited, several people asked if I was making meatloaf).

It's been awhile, so over vacation I got all the necessary ingredients.

When I do cook, it's always my mother's food. I've met few people who would turn down mom's cooking even if as an adult their tastes went their own way. I got the recipe some years ago, added freshly chopped onions and peppers, and made it my signature dish. When I cook mom's meatloaf, I also need to include the same sides, prepared the same way. So with meatloaf comes canned corn and super-creamy mashed potatoes.

We never helped prepare meals as children, but we did watch. My mom used to peel the potatoes over old newspapers. My sisters and I would stand nearby so we could grab the scraps that didn't have a lot of peel- we all loved raw potatoes. On a good day, my mom would let us have a thick slice and we'd shake on some salt and savor each bite.

I peel my potatoes over the trash can and try not to slice my knuckles (I usually do), but I always pick a slice of potato to eat. In my home, I can get a slice every time.

And so last week as I peeled potatoes, I found myself brought back. It's funny the memories that stick. And yes, I always get sad that I'm not passing the experiences on to my daughter. Still it wasn't the focus of my thoughts- the peeling was- the ritual.

These days I don't use a recipe for the meatloaf. I throw together ingredients (always too many peppers) and hope for the best- it ends up different every time. It wasn't my best this week, but the potatoes were perfect even if I can't be bothered to pull out the electric mixer like my mom used to. And so I sunk into the much-needed home-cooked meal and even found the energy to wash dishes.

I should peel potatoes more often.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

On Telling

I was at a nearby craft store with a friend of my fiance's recently. We were wandering the aisles while we waited for my fiance to show up.

I love craft stores and like many other mothers am particularly sucked in by the scrapbooking section.

This guy I was with is someone we game with. A group of us get together every other week. He has also been to our apartment which happens to be filled with pictures of my daughter. Both of these things led me to believe he knew.

So after admitting my weakness for scrapbook stuff, he asked what I scrapbook.

"My daughter."

"Your what?"

Um, he didn't know.

There was some filling in. A bit of awkwardness- he didn't know what to say-I didn't know what to say- these are not conversations you generally have in the scrapbook aisle.

It was fine- it wasn't that he was going to judge me- it's just that it's so uncommon and so unspoken and so go-against-everything-we've-ever-heard that no one knows how to react to the news that you placed a baby for adoption.

It always feels so heavy to tell.

Monday, April 10, 2006

How Many of You Have Children?

An innocent question.

Yet it makes my stomach queasy.

I attended a conference last weekend and several of the speakers asked this question.

Even in the relative safety of a large, anonymous crowd, I was frozen.

It isn't enough that I stop suddenly whenever a parent or coworker asks me this. It isn't enough that with every denial I hear the women who came before me expressing long-held regret at those times when they denied their children.

I have denied her every time I've been asked.

And so in those large meeting rooms, I suppose I should not have been surprised that I denied her again.

Stand up if you have children of your own.

I stare at the floor.

My eyes burn.

I don't know how to respond. I am scared to respond. I don't want to answer questions. I am a teacher.

The woman I was traveling with asked me a question at the airport. She worked with a teacher who became pregnant out of wedlock. She asked my thoughts. I wanted to scream, "I was that woman." I wanted to tell her that I've been there, that my out-of-wedlock pregnancy led me to the place I am today, that the professional woman she was choosing to mentor and encourage and speak highly of to the powers that be was once that teacher who stood in front of impressionable teens, pregnant, no ring on her finger.

Instead I shook my head and mustered up words for this sudden question and finally told her that openness was the key.

And yet I was closed.