On Magic and Memory

On Sunday, Mothers Day arrived for me. At last. All day I waited for the tears to
come, the wet grief of eight years to wash up, now reformed, and reshaped into a soaking celebration that would glaze my cheeks and chin. But they never came.

Instead I spent the day studying Julia, as she held her tiny hand into a strong, bold ray of sunlight shaped by the cityscape and the westward sky that shone into the living room of our apartment, brimming with the knowledge that she is mine and I am hers. Nothing to cry about from that equation, I thought, as my first Mother’s Day came to a shiny, golden end.

Earlier in the week, truth be told, the tears came in other ways, by other motivations. My brother Jeffrey got in the opening salvo.
“Mom called and reminded me to send you a Mothers Day card,” my younger brother said over my office phone line from his car  in Redford, Michigan. “But I told her I wasn’t sending a card. And neither was she….that I remembered when you didn’t even leave the house because you just couldn’t take people wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day. So I suggested we send something more substantial.”

With his remark, instant, acidly tears dappled my black Formica desk and my gray plaid trousers. Some how, like a 72-hour-gnaw-your-lower-lip off-labor, once the adoption was completed, once  I’d received my bouncing, beautiful daughter, the dark days of waiting to faded. But not completely. The scab, still soft at the center, yielded a bloody wound, underneath.

Wednesday morning, with Sunday in the rearview mirror of life, I realized maybe that wound, hadn’t really healed at all. And ike the mighty Mississippi, the memories waited to breech its levees and rise up.

Yet, while my prima Mother’s Day with its tide of texts and emails, and wave of well wishers cards, including the touching Hallmark variety my nanny left in Julia’s crib addressed to me, produced no tears for me, I wept a flood for others.

I wept as I read the text of a good friend notifying me that she and her husband, two of the finest, loving people I know individually and as a couple, have separated. I wept at the news that a good solid friend, has learned that her diagnosis of stage zero her breast cancer is in fact, after further study,  at stage two. And the BRCA gene had been detected. I wept at the morning news that a newborn was tossed into the trash can inside the restroom of St. Elmhurst Hospital in Queens like a half eaten bagel, and was now fighting for its tiny, yet unlived life.

Maybe on this blooming, shining, pollen-polluted May day I shed tears for all those around me and their losses, surprised for once, they were not falling for me and my far away daughter.

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