but I’ve never seen her face
in full bloom.
I remember only the weight of her
presence on my tummy and soul.Her head was bruised
from the forceps that pulled her
as I signed papers with grown-up words like “unfit” and “relinquish.”
I was sixteen; her eyes never met mine.
She was quickly shuffled away into deserving arms.
I remember how tightly her slender fingers clutched mine before they took her.
Today I sit down to write another of many letters
I’ve been allowed to send her these past three and a half years
(words, until recently, confined to my heart and journals).
It’s a dream-come-true that they reach her at last.
A miracle, really. And I’m grateful.
I’ve written her earliest stories…all of my whys and ways taken,
shared everything I imagine she may want to know about her birth mother
…carefully ladling generous portions of my heart into her bowl.
It’s like choosing Christmas cookies to place in a too-small mailing box,
each one stuffed full of love and hope that she smiles and feels it.
I wrestle over which ones to include and which to leave out.
The package I gently wrap in respect for the person she is and the life that is hers,
for the woman who is her mother and the legacy that is hers,
and for the choice that is my birth daughter’s: to respond…..or wait…..or do nothing at all.
I’ve released her; my love will not wobble with her choosing.
And I ride the brakes of my own heart until it’s burning and smoking and reeking
with the smell of ancient ache and the muzzled voice of my younger self
as all of the loss and longing and love come screaming from shut down places.
As I pick up my pen and begin to push it,
slicing off another serving of the tender portions of me,
I bleed out words to Dear Amanda,
and arrange them with hands that shake from holding back the surge
of my long ago voice,
silenced and buried alive,
that erupts with such fury
my heart rips a bit with each pulse.
And as my swallowed words tumble onto paper,
un-forbidden and staring back with fiery rebellion,
I let them be
…..let them say themselves.
And I feel them…..feel them all the way down to my broken places
until I’m spent with their leaving.
Then I wad up that paper and start with a clean one
that will be filled with grown up words…….sturdy ones that lift and carry my voice
grown bold and strong.
I’m grateful for this grown up voice
and use it now to give wings to the words I couldn’t say before:
I wanted you.
I WANTED you.
I want you still.
On behalf of the child I used to be, I hurl those words into the universe
and with pain soaked in joy
I begin to write….