We were talking about college the other day when she said, sort of off-handedly, in that off-handed-I’m-dying-to-know-the-answer kind of way, “Where will I live when I go to college?” I responded quickly, “Well, right here, of course.” She smiled and laughed and got that relieved, excited look. “Really? I can stay here?” Of course. Of course. Honey. Child. Sweet Love. You are always welcome here. You can live here for the rest of your life if it pleases you. And I am so happy that you want to, that you want to know if you can be here because you’re comfortable here, because it feels like home.
I am so grateful. I have so many thoughts about this past year. Last summer was so new, so full of raw emotion, uncertainty. It was a blood, sweat & tears kind of summer. We held tightly to each other, as though if we let go we’d fly into opposite directions. Vectors. She’s learning about vectors right now, and that’s what I think of. What happens when two things are bound together tightly, but they’re pushing at the cords? When you set them loose they fly apart so hard they’ll never find each other again. So, we held tightly, with persistence. We held tightly even though we were scared and worried and tired. We cried.
And then the cords loosened a little and we could walk away from each other still attached. It was hard and scary, and we weren’t always sure that the connection was still there. She held loosely, with her face turned, buried in school work, not always interested in connection, not full of the gratefulness that first filled us all in this journey, not always conscious any more of the gift we were giving, nor of the gift we received in her.
And then, slowly, painfully, and somewhat surprisingly we discovered that closeness exists through time and space, that connection can happen after separation, that somehow we can flow in and out of each other’s space in a comfortable sort of way. I guess we became family. It wasn’t so much a decision any more. The focus is not the adoption. We simply belong to each other. We didn’t think about the strangeness of it all the time any more. We just live together. We just live together. Now. In the moment. And maybe now it’s in her heart, in her emotional memory, ingrained in who she is that she will always be family. Maybe it’s moved out of her head and into her existence.
And she wants to stay. I could not ask for more.