Those of you who know me, know that my table is a bit…spacious. We have had as many as fourteen sitting around it at once. There is nothing that makes my heart happier than a table full of students, friends or family with food to nourish their bodies and conversation and laughter to soothe their souls. I’d say my birth family follows suit. Nearly every moment we have had so far has landed us talking and laughing around a table somewhere. I left off in my last post with Sandi arriving at my Aunt Linda’s home and our first meeting. Here is a bit more of that first day.
Sandi lives just outside of Kansas City, MO and loves to do nice things for the people she loves. Let’s just say she brought enough food to feed a small army with KC BBQ, brisket, baked beans loaded with smoky pieces of happiness throughout. (I know, they are just beans…but these were over the top!) Little did she know that she was speaking Tom’s love language with all that smoky happiness. Ha!
As the first three hours of easy conversation with Sandi, Grandma, Aunt Linda and myself passed, Tom and Abby, along with my uncles Brian and Kevin, and Dave (Linda’s boyfriend) all joined us at my Aunt Linda’s farm around the table for lunch. Shortly after they arrived, she handed each member of my family a Christmas gift while we sat around the table. Abby received a stunning pair of earrings perfectly suited to her personality and Tom received a baby soft cashmere scarf he has worn constantly ever since. (The next day when Emily met her, she also got a gorgeous pair of earrings she loved that matched her taste.) Mine was next…but you have to get a visual of what was happening the whole time.
As we noshed on the food, there was much laughter and head tilting as Sandi and I answered people with the same words, with the same tone and voice inflections, with the same hand gestures (mirroring each other often, she is left handed and I am right). My uncles would look at each other with raised eyebrows, Aunt Linda laughed when I made a comment because Sandi had just told her the exact same thing shortly before when I was in another conversation. We were sitting side by side and would respond with the same words, look at each other and just laugh. It was the weirdest thing I have ever experienced in my life! It felt like I was having one of those Back to the Future experiences talking to myself in 18 years! The similarities were astounding.
Hold that thought….and indulge me for a little back story.
When I was a little girl, mom always wanted to get me a locket and I always really wanted one. Circumstances were often that I needed something else when she was thinking about it each time and we just never found or spent the money for one for me. As my girls came along, I told her not to think about that for me anymore. We decided together that she would choose one for each of them and give it to them when they were responsible enough to take care of a nicer piece of jewelry. They always loved theirs and it made me happy that she and dad were the ones who gave them such a special piece of jewelry.
Now back to the gift giving….
Sandi said that this gift was just something she really thought about and wanted me to have. She handed me a sweet square box with a little velvet pouch inside. Little did she know that the delicate locket I was about to unwrap would have such profound meaning. It was what I would’ve chosen had I chosen it myself, with dainty little flowers on one side and my engraved initial on the other. This might sound silly to you, but in my heart it felt like my Mom Carol, just reached out and said, “Jill, this is everything I would have wanted for you, relax and just enjoy this….it is okay to call her Mom too, she is why I was able to be your Mom.” I had struggled with my love for my family and calling Sandi “Mom” as some sort of a loyalty or betrayal issue. It seemed so natural very fast, yet I didn’t want anything I did next to make anyone who loved my adoptive Mom uncomfortable. Adoptive Mom, birth Mom, Bonus Mom….regardless of anything else…I now have two Moms that each loved me from the very start. Each one of them sacrificed beyond measure in their own ways to make me who I am today. One had me close for 43 years and one carried me for nine months to bring me life and whisper, “Happy Birthday” to me each year of my life. Both are deserving of the love of a daughter.
I think I will put a picture of both of my Moms in the locket, it just seems the most right. (It’s the silver one on the right.)
From here forward I will refer to Sandi as Mom, because that is exactly who she is and exactly who Carol is too. I know Mom would’ve loved watching this unfold. Gosh I wish she was here to see all of this! Can’t you just see her helping me figure out all the details of how I am related to everyone? She loved playing detective. Hey Mom, this is one pretty cool mystery SOLVED. Thanks for raising me to love this Mom too.
Grace and peace…