Every night for the last seven years, I laid with my boys to sleep. Please don’t judge the family bed, for us it has worked amazingly well. While the bed-hopping still continues, they have been sleeping in their own room, their own bunk for quite some time. And of course, once resenting the idea of laying there wasting precious alone time, I find myself missing the stories. I told lots and lots of stories of magic gardens where insects talk, of stars and galaxies far away, of adventures by Toot and Puddle and the great feats of dragon taming two boys P and G would dare to try. I tried to resist the temptation of morals at the end of the stories, some were just plain fun and silly. No two stories were alike and I realized I needed to stop when my big boy started to finish the story knowing where I was going. Despite our conflicting endings and my exasperation at times to “Just go to sleep!” my boys loved ‘made-up story time.’ It has been a revelation to me as I was always told that I was rather boring and unoriginal, gullible and uncreative. Parenting sure does salve old wounds and old insults.
Of course, there were times when a story got repeated. The taming of the dragon and saving a town got lots and lots of replay. The one that got the most replay though was the stories of each of my children’s births. My first born had a rather dramatic coming into the world and he insists on hearing it far more often than my little guy. True to form, like all children, they never tire of hearing how important, delightful, hard, dramatic and wonderful their arrival into our family was.
One night, my wise big boy asked me my birth story. I was dumbstruck. He had known my Umma and knew she was the woman who gave birth to me. And he knows I am adopted and have someone else I called “Mom.” But I could not share with him my birth story. I don’t actually know it. It has never occurred to me to ask my Umma. I would like to say that it was out of protection of breaking an old wound, but I believe the wound is mine, not hers. I am sure as a mother, she would love to share any dramatic moments of my arrival, but I don’t think I am ready to hear it still.
Instead, I decided to make up my fantasy adoption story. This is pure fantasy in so many ways, but I know it is a growing reality for many younger adoptees. I am glad of that. So, here goes my made-up, fantasy, once upon a time….
Once there was a little girl who came from a far away land. She loved this land for all it’s smells, music and dancing. But the little girl wanted very much to be with a family, a mommy and daddy she could call hers forever.
One day, she got on a very big airplane all by herself and landed in a land that she never heard of before. Standing before her was a man and a lady who said they were her new mommy and daddy and they would be a family forever. And the little girl was very happy.
But at night, the little girl would cry when she thought of that far away land. She missed her friends, the smells, the music and most of all the beautiful dancing. And the little girl was very sad.
Time passed and the little girl soon forgot her far away land and her memories were replaced with new smells, new music and new dancing. And the little girl was very happy.
Soon, the little girl grew up and she was a lady herself. She thought of that land far away and wondered if it was still there. So, she got on a very big airplane all by herself again. When she arrived, the young girl was welcomed by the wonderful smells, music and dancing she remembered from long ago. At night, the young girl would cry because she forgot so much of her far away land and she wondered if it was all a dream. And the young girl was very sad.
Time passed though and slowly the smells began to water her tongue, the sounds again beat in her heart and the dancing would thump through her body like a beautiful full drum. And the young girl was very happy.
But at night, when she was trying to sleep, she missed the smell of her mommy and the musical sounds of her daddy. And the young girl was very sad.
So, the young girl decided to return home to share her story with her mommy and daddy. Her mommy and daddy were so glad to have her home again and hear of her adventures. And the young girl was very happy.