Sometimes it takes a long time to realize the impact or role someone has played in your life. Sometimes you don’t realize it until you find yourself in a similar situation. When it comes to all of my adoption stuff, it seems like it takes an even longer amount of time to allow all your memories and emotions come to forefront. It seems like life events are constantly triggering memories, and epiphanies.
This week, as I was rearranging my house to accommodate my brother who was kicked out by my parents, my mind tripped and I was taken back to the day where I sitting in A’s tiny room, trying to make two drawers work for my clothing (his mom had told him and his brother that I needed more space then both of them because I was a girl). I remembered how A slept with his little brother, and I got the top bunk. I remembered how his parents went out of their way to make me feel loved, and connected.I remembered the summer nights sitting by the fire with them, playing in the forest with A and his friends. I remembered my jobs when I lived there, and the music I listened to that got me through the hard points. I remembered his Mom’s pasta salad that I have never been able to replicate. I remembered never having to worry about food, or shelter. I remember feeling like it was my home too.
And I remember being a jerk. I remember being selfish and rude to them. I don’t recall ever truly taking the time to thank them for their generosity. I mean, sure I was 17- we know what that means in terms of gratitude. I had been in and out of my parents house since 16, because of the abuse and constant fighting. I was officially alone in the world. separate, starting out a life without my parents at an age where I was far too young.
Save for A’s family and the home they offered to me in a desperate time of need.
I have been exceptionally angry at my parents this past month. Angry because I’ve watched them play games with their own son, angry because they know the position their situation has put me in, yet they refuse to help us out in anyway. Angry because in ten whole years, they have learned not a damn thing and that both disappoints me and disgusts me all at once. I knew they had remained stagnant in their behavior, but this situation with my brother was a slap in my face. Just in case I wanted to forget how ugly they can be. Just in case I wanted to believe that they could have evolved. They haven’t changed, and the reality is, they won’t. When parenting gets tough for them, they relinquish their parental rights to their children.
Or make their own children do the same. How can you be a good grandparent with a sense of responsibility when you abandon your own children at the drop of the hat?
This, however, is not about them.
The gravity of what A’s family did for me has never really hit me. Until this past week. Tears welled in my eyes as I thought how much I was having to change and how much I didn’t want to do it, but knew it was the only option my brother had. Then I thought about how much A’s family would have changed to accommodate me. And how terribly I treated them when things didn’t go so well. They turned their life upside down for me in ways I couldn’t have begun to understand, and I repaid them by saying terrible things to them, then later refusing them the right to have access to their biological grandson.
Today, I wrote them an email and I apologized. Then I thanked them for giving me the gift of being able to get on my feet. Sure, I didn’t realize what an amazing opportunity it was at the time, but now, I realize they gave me what I needed even if I didn’t think it was what I needed. They gave me what my parents refused to give me out off religious fanaticism- love, kindness, a roof over my head, and a feeling of family.
It’s been a lesson learned ten years prior that I have been able to apply to this new situation, and one that has caused me to reflect on the helping hands I was given when my parents gave up on me as a teen. I wasn’t a bad kid, neither is my brother- we just chose to believe in something different than that of my parents, because that’s the point of parenting, right? To grow your children to be separate from you, different from you, with views of their own, and a different perspective of the world.
I can’t undo the hurt I likely caused their family, and the chaos I created when I threw the news of my pregnancy at them like it was a bomb. But I can apologize and I can say thank you for giving me what I couldn’t find in the walls of my parent’s home. Even if it’s a decade behind schedule.