Just for a Moment
My family is one that always loved the seasons. In the spring we put on bathing suits and danced in the rain. In the summer we spent hours at the pool embracing the sunshine and heat. In the fall we created traditions of apple picking and pumpkin seeds. And the winter – I grew up on the top of a hill, both the houses I lived in as children had backyards that were large hills. And we took full advantage. The first signs of snow we’d start building ramps from our deck and start sledding. The door in from the backyard was a pile of boots and snowpants. We would go skiing and ice skating. We would build snow forts and snow men.
When I moved away from home winters felt different. I no longer had a yard to play in, I no longer lived on a sledding hill, I no longer could afford a season pass to go skiing. I suddenly was walking everywhere so the icy sidewalks felt less fun.
As I aged I slowly became more a curmudgeon about the seasons, especially winter. I would complain after too many days of snow or cold.
This winter has been a hard one for a lot of the US. It’s been cold, it’s been lots of snow and ice, snow days and frigid temperatures. And yet I’m loving it, each day of snow I’ve been excited, and each time I get to go out in the snow there seems to be a bounce in my step. Don’t get me wrong, this morning as I trudged into another day of jury duty through the freezing rain only to find out that we wouldn’t hear any witnesses because they didn’t make it in, I wasn’t exactly excited about that. But then I walked home and made snowballs and thought about how much fun J would be having in this snow and it all still felt magical. We’ve had a lot of snow and every time I hear about another storm in the forecast I still get excited, it sort of makes me feel like I did when I was little.
I know sometimes it’s easier for parents to remember the magic of childhood than those without kids around. I’ve heard my friends with kids talk about that, how the excitement of Christmas or the magic of a snow day is so much easier to appreciate when you can see it through the eyes of a child, when you can enjoy it with them.
I sometimes catch myself getting lost in something like this and wonder if I see it this way now because I had J, because I am a Mother, even if I’m not parenting. But it’s not that simple, it never is with adoption. For every moment that I feel tied to motherhood in some small way, there are thousands of reminders of all the ways I’m not. Most days I just feel the void of not really being a Mom. And those days not only do I not feel like a Mom but I feel guilty for the moments when I almost did feel like one. I know that seeing the world through the eyes of a child, or knowing the milestones a three-year old hits, or worrying about my son as much as any parent, these moments are just that, moments. I’m not parenting my son. So even when I feel for just a moment like any other Mom, don’t think it means I ever for a moment forget all I’m not.