I wrote this shortly after my 22nd birthday trip to see my son for the first time after he was born..
This weekend I saw my son for the first time since days after he was born. It was a feeling that I can’t put into words. I had waited four and a half months to hold him, to smell him, to hear him. I walked into the door of his home and there he was. It was the moment I dreamed about every night and day dreamed about every day. I did not know how I was going to feel or what I was going to say, and I was speechless. His grandma was feeding him on the couch and I just sat there next to him, looking at him as if he was the King of the world, and in my world he is. His bright eyes looked at me and I looked back at not just him but to his soul. I could feel him over power me. I could feel the depths of his stare in every inch of me. I knew that he knew me and I knew he felt what I was feeling, as if in that moment in time the world stood still and we were the only ones in the world. I embraced every second, as if it was lifetime.
The months leading up to this moment I felt like I was missing his most important milestones and I was. He was in California and I was life times away in Minnesota. I wanted to be there to hear all the noises he was making and learn what his faces meant. I dreamt about the moment I could hold him through his cries and laugh with him. I dreamt of the in between moments. The moments where he slept peacefully and I listened to him breath or held him and felt his heart beat on mine. For 10 months he felt my heart beat, it was a consistent rhythm that helped him fall asleep, helped him through whatever he was feeling, a comfort for him, and now his heartbeat was doing the same for me. His heartbeat alone is what keeps me alive, it is not mine, it is his. I live for him and I live for those moments where no one else matters but him and I.
I spent that first night watching and helping with his nightly routine. Feeding, baths, massage, dressing and then sleep. I watched in awe as he so peacefully went through these motions. I watched in awe, as he so perfectly, simply, existed. I watched in awe as he stared at his mom, Kim, with every move she made. He watched her, observed her and I knew in those moments that she has given him so much love and care, and that I would never need to worry about his wellbeing and love. If I had ever had a doubt, although I didn’t, it would have been gone in that moment. I found myself wishing that he would look at me that way. I hoped that I could make him see me as someone who would always love him and always be there. I wanted to make him laugh like she did, and I knew that by the end of my short visit, I would.
After it was time for Jesse to go to bed, Kim drove me to my hotel. At first, I was so angry with her for thinking it was the best idea for me to stay in a hotel, but I quickly learned it was everything I needed. Although, I wanted to spend every second with my son, I needed those moments alone to debrief and be with my thoughts. My mind was over powered with thoughts of gratitude and relief. I felt gratitude for the life he was living. I was so happy that he was being so loved and taken care of so well. I felt relief with that same thought. Relief that I knew I had picked the right person and the right path. Along with gratitude and relief, I felt sorrow and jealousy. He was so perfect, everything I knew he would be, and I found myself thinking, “Why did I do this”. When I allow myself to think this, it is a downward spiral. Sometimes I can bounce out of it, and sometimes it causes me to spend days in a depressed state. In this moment, it followed with, “Why couldn’t I be more like Kim and ready for this”. I was overwhelmed with jealousy of her. I sat on the floor in my hotel room crying, alone. It was a feeling and setting I was so used to, from these past few months.
To my surprise, this was one of those times where I was able to bounce out of it. I pulled myself together and said the phrase I have said to myself thousands of times, “You did the right thing. You are following your dreams and Jesse is living the life he deserves with a woman who will put him first and love him unconditionally”. After repeating it out loud a couple of times, I felt myself going back to those feelings of gratitude and relief. I felt myself feeling thankful again, being taken over with positive energy. I like to think that in those moments, Jesse, Kim and my soul are uniting at that exact moment to provide comfort in those moments I need it most. I feel asleep that night, very anxious to wake up and spend the day getting to know my son.
That next morning, I found myself wide-awake at 6 am. I wanted to get my day started as soon as possible, so I did not miss a second with Jesse. I went outside to embrace the air and embrace the day I was about to have. I waited till around 8:30 to text Kim because she had told me the day before that is when the day for them usually officially starts, if she is lucky to get the few extra hours of sleep after the 5:30 am feeding. I started my walk to Kim and Jesse’s home. I decided in my head that I would spend every moment of that day looking and talking to Jesse, and learning everything I can about him from Him and Kim.
Finally, I arrived at their home and instantly Kim gave Jesse to me to hold him. This moment was one of those where I felt complete. I embraced him and held him so close, touching his face and taking in his scent. He looked at me with his beautiful, calming eyes, and in that moment I knew I would start every day reliving that moment in my mind.
I spent that day doing everything from feeding to rolling around on the rug to making faces back and forth and laughing with each other. I pushed him in his stroller, taking him to all my favorite places. Studied him as he moved and smiled. Most of all I took in everything. I didn’t just exist that day, for the first time in a long time; I lived that day. I lived every second and embraced every second as if it would be my last. I laughed louder then I had laughed in months. I smiled brighter then I ever have. He was so beautiful.
I kept thinking all day in awe that I created him. He was part of me. Jesse would make a face and I knew that I had made that exact face before! I thought about how I have always went through life with a smile on my face, and I passed that to him! He will grow up and gain traits from his mom and the people around him but he will always be part me. I feel his soul every day, and we will always be connected, whether I am there to see every face or hear every noise, he feels me and I feel him.
As it came time for me to leave that night, I didn’t feel sad. I didn’t instantly hit that deep dark depression I was preparing for. Before my arrival I thought I would leave feeling worse then I had before, but I did not. I cried but they were tears of gratitude and love. I felt so happy. I felt so honored to be his mother and to be in his life. I felt so grateful to be able to bond and connect with Jesse in ways that are not possible over Skype. This visit justified what Kim has told me from the beginning, I will always be welcome in my son’s life. Adoption is messy. It is complicated. It causes pain and anxiety. People lie, but Kim and I created a situation, in my opinion, which made all the hardship that comes with it be in the shadow of all the good we created. Our adoption was full of love, life and openness, and I live every day to its’ highest potential, knowing that Jesse will always know me, and I will always know him.