I was shopping for clothes when it happened.
I grabbed my phone and checked my email out of habit. In the middle of the mundane was an email so unobtrusive I almost missed it.
Hi, Elora. We had a hospital birth. We're showing your profile.
I remember shoving the phone in my pocket. I didn't even react until I got outside and was able to call my best friend. I couldn't handle all of the emotions at once and told her, "so this happened. I don't know how I feel. I think I feel nothing. But ask me again in about 30 minutes because I may be losing my shit."
That was a year ago.
And I did lose my shit. I knew it would happen because it always does. These are the moments where if I could, I would pluck my answer out of the ether. And there are times where it feels as if the energy around me is so electric that if I try hard enough, I can make it happen. Obviously, this hasn't happened yet. But it's a strange feeling to experience and leaves you feeling lit from the inside with a flame that can't be quenched.
I didn't sleep for days. Instead, I paced the apartment. I got paint on my fingers. I tore up books and taped the pages on our bedroom wall. I etched prayers into canvases and covered them with acrylic and tears.
It took a week for us to find out that the mom would be keeping her baby, but the effects of the week lingered long after the news. This doesn't surprise me. When you've gone so long forgetting / denying you're even part of the process, the surprise of hope can sink into your molecular structure and change you when you're not looking.
I've been thinking of those days lately. Maybe it's because we're approaching another hard season. This one is ripe with anniversaries.
Anniversary of our placement.
Anniversary of the birth.
Anniversary of the birth mom keeping him.
Every year, from about mid-March until about July, I remind myself to breathe.
Eventually, the breathing gets easier. The spontaneous weight of grief also seems to grow easier to bear.
Yesterday, I woke up at 3am. One of our dogs decided he needed to drink enough for two camels, and whether it was the pull of the new moon or an internal shift or the amount of naps I had while sick last week, I never went back to sleep.
In the midst of my tossing and turning, I remembered a name that popped into my head the night before. Rather than counting sheep, I took to rolling the name around my tongue to see how it felt. It only seemed to make me more alert. Eventually I got up and walked around our apartment, whispering prayers and giving in to yoga.
Help me find the story, I prayed while saluting the sun.
Later in the day I texted Russ.
"What do you think about this name?"
"I like it," he replied. "Do you have a feeling?"
I almost started crying right there at my desk. How does one answer a question like that? And how did I find myself with someone who understands the cemented way these feelings wrap around me like certainty?
"Not really," I said. "I just can't stop thinking about the name so I thought I'd get your thoughts."
Today though...today I have a feeling.
We were listening to a guy tell a story about a wedding when she leaned over and handed me a necklace.
"It's Mary," she whispered. "From the Vatican."
I held the chain in my hand and ran my fingers over the raised medal.
"For me?" I mouthed.
She smiled. "Yes."
I put it on immediately and felt the way Mary pressed up against my skin, a constant reminder of her presence.
I thought to myself as I turned my attention back to the concert, did you know He was coming? Before they told you — did you know?
There are a lot of things I don't know.
I think in some ways, I thought this would get easier as I got older.
Figure out a life plan...check.
Buy a house...check.
Reach relationship goals...check.
I'm finding out it's pretty much the exact opposite. None of these things are a given, and they definitely aren't easily understood. The only thing I really ever know for sure is the feeling I get when something is happening with the adoption. It's like the gift of intuition times a million with the added bonus of fireworks and goosebumps because it has to do with your future child. And I wish I could explain to you the way it feels to have your heart suddenly shift in focus and kneel down, ears to the ground, because the vibration of promise is moving closer and closer. It feels like a metal rod poking your gut. It feels like you can't help but twist and kneel on the ground yourself. It feels like a pressure building in your throat. It feels like I need to go quiet and get still. It feels like I need to get out in the wild and scream and run through the fields.
It feels like hope and fear and anticipation and grief and love and sorrow and joy and peace and it's all wrapped up in an excruciatingly confusing skin that doesn't know how to handle the restlessness inside.
Tonight I texted the one who gave me Mama Mary to wear around my neck.
"My intuition is going a little haywire re: adoption. Will you pray with me?"
She responded almost immediately that she would, and "is he coming for Easter?!"
I told her I didn't know. And then I tried to explain how I felt, because i knew she would understand, and I told her all I knew was that I kept finding myself touching the indention of Mary on my necklace.
Hail Mary, full of grace....
The Lord is with thee.
And then I started to cry.