My little one has gone off to first grade! I thought I would be used to this leaving and growing up thing, but it still tugs at my heart. No tears this year, so I must be growing up. After all, I did this before a couple of years ago. But the thoughts are still there. I cannot imagine my G going off to another country at this age let alone to his own big boy bed next door to sleep through the night! From the second G was born, he didn’t know a single day without Mommy right by his side and well within his sight. Like his big brother, G went to work with me often and only after a pair of Buzz Lightyear wings years afterwards did he finally feel ready to leave my bed!
My boys love being home. Even when they are having the time of their life, they need little encouragement when it’s time to go home. They have yet to agree to a sleepover to a friend’s, even Grandma and Grandpa’s house. They have no qualms about letting me know they want to go home. They have no need to adjust their ways. They have no reason to adapt to a new situation no matter how impermanent.
I realize comparing what my children are living and what I have lived is like comparing apples and oranges. By the time I was almost six years old, I had been in the care of at least three different strangers, an orphanage and a Buddhist temple. There is still the question as to who they all were, I have no memory of names or faces. By the time I came to America, my birthmother was gone, out of my head. I made her dead a long time ago. At what point did she die? I have no idea. It pained me to tell her that I thought she no longer existed. She seemed to get it though. “You were only a baby, what else were you going to think if you never saw me again?” It’s not like someone sat me down to tell me what would happen next, where I would go, who I would see or how many sleeps it would be. I was told to be good, to be caring. That is all I could remember.
By the time I was almost six years old, I had a lot of practice taking care of my inner thoughts. I had relegated my fears to dreams. With practice my smile became permanent. So by six, I had the wearwithall to take that crazy plane ride and embark on a new journey, no questions asked. Like many others, I walked into my new home and never looked back.
It continues to be a personal journey to figure out just what I am entitled to. I had somehow parsed out “entitlement” from the definition of “right” as if they were different. I keep thinking I have a right to know my past, my absent years. But I stop just at the point of saying I am entitled as if that is too much to ask, too wrong to desire. As if I could alter the English langauge on my own!
Practice makes permanent. Still practicing.