Super Tall Guy and I were in the battle. Lines drawn. Armor on. Advancing and retreating. Serious and big emotions. We’re matched weight for weight and almost height by height. And it was physical. Wrestling. Pushing. Yelling. I stood my ground. He pushed the buttons, clamoring for more power. Arguing for agency and the right to be his own boss.
“You are not the boss over me,” the argument continued.
“I am your mother,” I repeated countless times.
In the heat of the anger, the tears, and the chaos, I finally calmly asked, “Do you need to see your birth certificate? It has my name on it.”
Immediately he quieted. “Yes,” he whispered and followed me upstairs.
He sat on my floor against my bed as I pull out the fire-proof safe and got the key. He sobbed that kids at school had said there’s only one way to be someone’s mother and that’s to birth them. He railed against adoption.
I pulled out The Little Guy’s birth certificate. “See, under ‘Mother,’ there’s my name.”
Same for Mr. Ornery’s birth certificate.
Same for you.
“Well, I’m just going to tear it up,” he yelled. “Tear it up a hundred times,” I countered, “It will still stand. Always and forever, I am your mother.”
We’re going to wrestle about this quite a few times, I have a feeling. In every kids’ life there are times that we challenge our parents’ parenthood or angrily state that we want to go live with someone else, you know, because their “Mom is so much nicer.” But when it comes to adoption, the stakes are even higher. It was a choice I made in a court of law to “become” a mother but it doesn’t change the fact that the child has a sense within that there’s “another” mother out there somewhere. Another mother that “could” be Mom or “should” be Mom or is somehow missing from their life. Even without meeting their birthmom, my boys have to come to grips with the fact that they are being raised, and cared for, and loved by a woman who doesn’t look like them, doesn’t share the same genes, didn’t actually birth them.
Super Tall Guy is the first to express this internal wrestling. It took an all-out physical fight to uncover the core of his distress. Each boy will need to deal with the issue in their own way, just as I find myself needing to deal with it.
I woke up this morning on Mother’s Day, listening to the sounds of three boys stirring. Three boys who call me Mother. Three boys who have new birth certificates with my name in the “Mother” line. What a journey this has been.
Some days I can’t figure out how I got here. Some days I know that I haven’t assumed the mother role completely. The sacrifices. The exhaustion. The endless nagging and battles. The toys that creep across the floor in the middle of the night and sprout between the cracks of the hardwood.
Some days I look at my friends’ comments on all the great trips they are taking, the movies they are watching, the hot coffee they are sipping. I warm up my coffee for the third time and pick up another toy to put it in another spot from which it will sneak out another time.
But some days I cry with pride at the orchestra recital, cheer myself hoarse at the soccer field, and fill my heart with joy as I watch boys tear through Christmas wrapping paper. I wouldn’t change this for the world!
Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms, but most especially to those who have raised their right hand and sworn to be Mom through the ups and downs and received a brand new birth certificate with their name on the “Mother” line!