My mom tells a story of a letter she received from me when I was young. I’d requested to play 20 questions with her only I wanted it to be 100 questions. In my letter I proceeded to ask all the questions that crowded my small mind. Like always, I wanted too much. I expected too much. I was asking for too much.
She never replied. Now she wonders if not answering was a catalyst for me cutting off our contact for so many years. (It wasn’t)
I want to play 100 questions again. I can’t know if my questions today are the same as those I asked all those years ago, but these are the ones in my letter today. A letter that will never be sent.
I love you so much and I have so many questions. I fear that asking you to answer these things will take you on a journey back to a time you’d rather forget for many reasons. Regardless, these are the things that weigh on my mind.
What was it like when you were pregnant with me? Was it a similar pregnancy to those of my older sisters? Every time I see a woman who is pregnant, my mind wonders what it may have been like for you. I don’t know if there was a portion of your pregnancy that was ever celebrated. Did you stay inside as much as possible to avoid questions from strangers? When did you first feel me moving in your belly? Was each movement a reminder of our impending separation? Or were you still considering keeping me at that point? Did anyone give you any gifts when you were expecting me? Did anyone offer to help you keep me?
What was it like on the day I was born? How did you know you were in labor? Who took you to the hospital? Did labor last (what felt like) forever? Were the nurses nice to you? What was it like when I was born? Did I cry? Was I silent? Did you hold me? Did you cry? Or did you fall asleep? I know I’m asking you to remember so much and it’s hard to remember small details when a person is in crisis mode, but I’m asking, was it a sunny day? How much hair did I have? Did we stare at each other? Did you sing to me? Where were my sisters when I was born? Did I get to see them? Did anyone take any pictures? Did anyone bring you anything? Flowers? A blanket for me? Did anyone offer to help you keep me? Anyone at all?
Did you nurse me? Did you feed me formula? I don’t mind either way. I was just wondering. I know you changed your mind about giving me away while we were still at the hospital. I saw it in the social worker’s report. At that moment you changed your mind, did you feel at peace? Scared? Did you feel like you could hold me more after that? Did you feel more bonded to me? Like you could let yourself go? Was I a happy baby? My little girl only cried when she needed something like a bottle or to be changed. Was I like that? Was I a calm baby? Or did I demand too much?
Between the social worker’s report, what you’ve told me and what others have told me, I’m a little fuzzy on where I spent my first few months, but I know that you and I were reunited when I was about 5 months old and we stayed together until I was 11 months. Can you tell me, exactly what happened that made you decide you couldn’t do it anymore, you know, mother me? Was it anything about me that was too much work? (Most likely you are going to say no, but I ask that question honestly wanting an answer. Some kids are difficult.) Or was it just too much to mother 3 kids? Who was helping you at the time besides your mom? Was anyone making it easier?
The day we were separated permanently … the day I was taken, what was it like? Sunny? Rainy? Cold? It was December. Was it snowing? Did you have a Christmas tree? I know you probably didn’t.
Did you get me dressed to leave? Were you crying? Was I? Were my sisters? Did they even understand what was happening? What was the last thing you said to me? Did you give me something to hang on to that smelled like you? Did you send any of my toys with me? Did I have any toys? Did anyone take a picture of us? Did you watch us drive away? Did anyone in your family or any neighbors at the motel or your work or church offer to help you keep me? If they did, did you think you couldn’t ask for the help? Did people make you feel ashamed?
After I was gone, what did you and my sisters do? Did you try to get your mind off it (me)? Did you feel like your heart had been ripped to shreds or did you feel at peace that one more problem had been solved? Did you wonder the same about me? Did you think having my physical needs met or having more things would make up for the loss of you and my sisters? Did you know that on that day, I lost my world? Did you know that it is a loss that I will never recover from? Did you know that I will forever carry that loss and that it impacts me daily? Did you know that I will forever be obsessed with your love? Did you know that simply being in your presence makes me feel anxious like a school girl with a crush, but not secure as to whether the other person feels the same? Each time I see you, I’m not sure if it’s butterflies in my stomach or if it’s my heart breaking once again.
I’m sorry that I’ve asked too many questions and once again wanted too much.
As always, you have my continued love and adoration.