100%

May 11, 2013

I got a letter from my older son today, I’m not entirely sure it’s apropos of Mother’s Day, but he goes out of his way to express his appreciation.  He wrote it a few days before I saw him on Wednesday, but I didn’t get it until today, and he didn’t talk about this part of it when we visited then.

He says, among other things, that I’m the only person he has found to be 100% reliable [and no, that doesn’t mean I give him everything he wants].  I ran this by my younger son, the one who still lives with me, prefacing it with, “I’m not sure about the 100% part, but your brother says … ” and he said, “Well, I have to agree with him [not his default position], and if it’s not 100% exactly, it’s pretty close.”

As adoptive parents, we were told that adopted kids really need reliability, and the agency that helped us with our first placement told us that Brazilian adults (I have no idea whether this is actually true) use deception as a means of child management, saying, for example, “We’re going to the candy store” when the destination is actually the dentist’s office.  So we were counseled to mean what we say and say what we mean, and to follow through, with our Brazilian children.  As a widowed parent, I became all too acutely aware of how abandoned my kids felt, and I made sure they knew they could reach me, that they knew they were not all and completely alone, as alone as they did feel.

So to be appreciated for being “100% reliable” means a lot to me.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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8 Responses to “100%”

  1. Richard Says:

    This IS a great Mother’s Day message! HMD

  2. Matthew Brooks Says:

    “Some are born to sweet delight,
    Some are born to endless night.”

    We do the best we can.

    I was raised with 4 adopted black kids from age ~5 – age ~10. It gave me a window into this type of dislocation. They weren’t just separated from their biological family, they were separated from their entire tribe (we lived in a (largely white) suburb).

    This situation, I realised later, is something of a metaphor for most African-Americans in this country.

    People who are like us like us. The inverse is also true. Note that kinship and kindness share the same root. “Birds of a feather fly together” is something I learned from some black friends of mine once talking on a similar subject. One of them started the sentence, and the rest of them finished it (except me). I found that somewhat appropriate.

    The life process and the whims of fate are often seemingly mysterious. It seems, at times, capricious; but that’s just because we can’t see all the “strings”. Then again, “is and isn’t produce one another”. Maybe our life’s experiences prepare us for the next. Maybe suffering is like a spiritual forge – “no pressure, no diamonds”. Maybe we get lost in order to be found again, eventually. It’s all just part of the process (~Samsara).

    • Diana Moses Says:

      “I was raised with 4 adopted black kids …” What does that mean?

      • Matthew Brooks Says:

        When I was 5 my mom remarried to a man who had adopted 4 black kids in his previous marriage. By age 10 or 11 the two youngest had gone back to live with their (adoptive) mother, the oldest had graduated high school, and the second oldest was in prison.

      • Diana Moses Says:

        I think I actually have most difficulty with people who are sort of like me but not quite.

      • Matthew Brooks Says:

        My step-brothers and I got along fine (the one female and I didn’t really interact much). All of us had a common adversary in our step-father 🙂 (tho I later came to accept him more as well).

        I was particularly close to the second oldest and the youngest boys. The youngest was only a few months older than me. The second oldest was a role model of sorts; after the two youngest went back to live with their mother and the oldest had graduated, he and I spent a lot of time together. He was kind to me, but also tough and courageous. He also taught me how to play sports.

        I’ve often felt somewhat a sense of alienation too from common society, but he had to endure widespread hostility that I don’t.

        In any case we’re paying for the legacy of slavery; tanstaafl, and the full bill is still outstanding.

      • Diana Moses Says:

        Living with people we love who endure deep and widespread hostility I think teaches us a lot — including a humility about judging results in other people’s lives, because we realize that we may not really know what goes on in them, what their experience of life and other people actually is.

      • Matthew Brooks Says:

        There is a place for apologetics, compassion, and grace; on the other hand, if we’re careful observers we can also see tendencies that exacerbate distortion and suffering, and we can work to minimise these (thru both acts of encouragement and constraint (positive and negative reinforcement)). In other words, there is a place for judgement; tho I agree we should undertake it with humility.


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