Not fair to leave you hanging but the back story to my re-involvement with my parents isn’t all that grand. My mother was in the hospital a couple of months ago to treat a recurrence of diverticulitus. She was very sick and in a lot of pain. I believe that this particular bout was severe enough that she faced her own mortality in a real way for possibly the first time in her life. We were all sick at our house so were unable to visit her, but I did call her while she was there and brought her a gift when she got home. She was frail and for a long time after.
The incident shocked her into some sort of mind shift. She talks a lot about wanting to “make amends” and to wanting to “set things right”. I am not sure the depth of change she is capable of but, at least superficially, she has been easier to be around. What is different about this attempt is that she has not wanted to re-hash the past, hasn’t wanted to play the blame game, hasn’t been hypercritical of me, and hasn’t overestimated her relationship with me and us. What the latter means is that she isn’t calling me, isn’t sending me emails, isn’t showing up on our doorstep at all, isn’t expecting us to have them over for Sunday dinner or vice versa. This has all translated into a willingness on my part to engage in a cursory relationship. For me, that means that I can call over there if/when I want to, will allow the kids to see them if/when I want to, will oblige the occasional family event if/when I want to, without expectation that the dam has been busted open.
It also means that I am able to be nice and not be on guard all the time. This is going to prove to be critical as I am battling an issue with my adrenals and their relay with my pituitary. That is something I will write about at another time as it is still unfolding (I’ve had two types of tests and need one more to diagnose the cause). In short, my cortisol is low and another hormone, adrenocorticopic hormone (acth) which should be high as a result of cortisol being low, is also low. Whatever is going on is contributing to my inability to lose weight. I won’t be surprised if I have adrenal fatigue and, frankly, as bad as that is, I hope it is nothing worse.
If you are a long time reader you know that I’ve never mentioned to my mom that I have been in touch with my birth mother. Given our estrangement over the last four years, it just hasn’t come up. I happened to be over at my parents house with the boys and my mom commented that it was a shame that my birth mother didn’t know that she has these grandchildren. In a nanosecond I made the decision to tell her that she did know and that her knowing has meant nothing to her. I could see the wheels turning as my mom tried to determine if this was information she somehow already knew. I continued to take the assumptive approach, letting her think she must have known that I’d been in touch with her and went on to recount the various notes I’d gotten from her.
At any rate, my mom asked if I’d be OK with her writing a letter to my birth mother, allowing me to preview it, first. At this point, given that my birth mother has been unresponsive to my last two letters, I figured there was nothing to lose. My mom drafted what is likely the most thoughtful, heartfelt thing I’ve ever seen her write. In deference to her (shocking, I know!) I won’t post it here, but if you’d like to read it, shoot me an email and I will share it with you. The gist was that my mother did as my birth mother requested (raised me catholic, gave me piano lessons), that I’d grown up into an accomplished woman, that I lost my brother at a young age and that providing the name of my birth father would go a long way toward healing any void I may feel.
Time only permits me to write this much. Oh, my birth mother’s birthday was yesterday. I decided to send her flowers. They’ll be delivered tomorrow.