Lineage

When I was very young, one of my favorite movies was The Rescuers. The story, if you don’t know it, is about an orphan girl who lives in an orphanage, who keeps running away and being brought back, is abducted by two thieves who use her in a plot to get rich. A colony of mice find a bottle in the sea with her note asking for help. This story left an incredible impact on me. I didn’t fully appreciate the impact it had on me until I recently watched the movie again, and my heart was thrust back to those times when I was young and felt abandoned by family and felt as if I were an inconvenient burden and a commodity to be traded and pawned off. It pierced me, to see that movie again. It also made me realize this was probably the earliest I had considered adoption as the only means by which I would ever, if ever, raise a child. Both Hubby and I, being raised in the complicated family structure of divorce, blended families, and severe brokenness that results from any sense of family or tradition or even safety, knew that we did not want to bring any children into this world. There are as many reasons for this as there are threads of story woven in our lives. Besides this long standing view of child-rearing, the ability to provide for any children was and is always at the forefront of my concern for bringing new beings into the world, or into our lives by accepting the responsibility of adopting. I have never felt I have anything to provide to a child. I have seen how dreams of a traditional, stable life become shattered and leave a life of poverty in its wake. At my core, there is a part of me, a very tender part, that desired a traditional family, a life of holidays that could be relied upon for sharing joy and making memories, of crafting art projects with a youngster, taking them to the dentist for the first time, stroking their hair and wiping tears as they wake from nightmares, flying kites, baking cookies, assisting them as they ushered in young adulthood and help them to celebrate this important milestone of transition…all of those things are tender memories I will never make, and it grieves me deeply to speak of it. This choice came from knowing that life has other plans for us. My family is broken. There is no repairing the pain, even if glue can put something back together in a way, it is never whole again. And I am not saying this for pity. I am saying this because I think, in a lot of ways, I deluded myself for many years into thinking I could have my life whole again, that I could somehow make my family see how to be better with each other, how to find the love that once must have existed (the hope of this hurts me to contemplate) and at least find forgiveness, to have at least one goddamned family celebration that isn’t tainted by hate, a hope that fades more and more every year to the point that I would rather spend holidays alone than plan a get together that inevitably crumbles to shit. To face the fact that I was an inconvenient truth, that I was not wanted by my father, that my mother, while she loved us and cared for us with fierce devotion, could not always be there and thus I was alone for many painful situations, or ditched and sometimes hated by my sister who was just a kid herself and not wanting to be a mother to me. There is a shattering of the self when these things happen at a young age, and I have spent the better part of my life trying to make it into something it can never be. I have been faced with certain memories that came back in order to show me the situation as it was, not as I pretended it was. My hubby has similar memories and a more complicated and bitter shattering of his family than I experienced. We always knew we didn’t want to bring more people into this fucked up world. And what could we give them? Is it fair to bring children into dysfunction? Is it right to bring children into a family lineage that is so broken?

So anyway, the window for this possibility is closing quickly as I will be finally going through with surgery to remove the part of me that can grow life. This pierces me in that same way, knowing that it is right for me (and in terms of my health, better for my survival) but also knowing that in some ways this act removes the possibility of something that deep down was a precious thing to me, something that in other circumstances might have even been my life’s purpose. But the cycle of brokenness will not be kept alive by me. That is my choice.

 

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