Give me your hands, if we be friends

Three years ago today, my past and my future came together in a lush Oregon patch of land, brimming with wine grapes and berries. My family and closest friends from childhood, elementary school, college, work, yoga and wherever else you meet your soul connections spent three days dancing, eating, drinking, and then crying the copious tears only an Irish family en masse can produce. (One of us starts crying, or talking about a dead relative, and then we’re all puddles and blubbers. Within seconds. It’s really quite amazing. You should invite us over and ask about our uncles.)August 28, 2010, I got married. I hitched up futures with the man who would partner with me and follow me on my adoption journey. Remember how in A Midsummer Night’s Dream Puck smeared everyone’s eyes with magic flower juice and they all fell in love long enough to make a story? It was kind of like that with us. Nearly nine months to the day after we married, we became parents to the sweetest, coolest, most magical child, our Grace Magnolia. And we made a home for her. And as Gracie became more firmly entrenched on the earth, we stopped evolving together, and faced some issues that proved to be insurmountable.As I posted before, we’re splitting up but still a family and the definition of what that means, exactly, is not quite clear. For a while we were eating dinners together and watching our show after Grace went down. If Grace and I were at the playground we’d call and see if Steve wanted to join us. So far we’ve been accommodating in terms of scheduling anomalies (Can you pick her up Thursday? Sure! Do you mind of we take a road trip to Arizona? No prob!).

Today the Thanksgiving plan was unveiled and I wasn’t part of it. Worse, he wants to take Gracie to see his son across the country. I imagine myself on that day a lonely, old woman, crying into a tin of half-eaten cat food. And maybe watching Dr. Phil. I don’t know, call me on Thanksgiving and I’ll tell you what I’m doing.

Grace asks about where everyone she knows is, all the time. Even if I’m lying right next to her, she’ll ask, “Where’s Mama?” which can mean not only where am I at this exact moment, but where am I going next, or where have I been. Kind of like the Hopi tribe, who have tenseless language construction.

Tonight we met her birth parents at the playground near their downtown apartment, which is becoming common as she builds her relationship with them. (Yes, they are lovely and Grace knows her whole story. No, I am not afraid that they’ll want her back. We are just a different kind of family.)

In the car on the way home, Grace kept asking, “Where’s Maggie? Where’s Mike?*” and I felt bad that I was taking her away from them, in a little way, even though we’ll get together in a couple weeks. And that I’d be the bad guy if I said she couldn’t go to Thanksgiving, keeping her from Steve’s family, who are also madly in love with her.

I work full time so every second with her is brimming with mad love and wanton mommyness. There’s that little irrational part of me that worries I won’t be her A-No. 1, her shining star, because somehow it’s just not enough time that we have every day.

When we came home to our hot apartment past her bedtime, we sat on the couch, snuggled next to each other, and slurped down some cold watermelon, talking about the day and how we have no TV anymore. And then we Eskimo kissed for a while, which is kind of amazing because she never sits still for too long.

Think but this and all is mended, 
That you have but slumber’d here 
While these visions did appear. 
And this weak and idle theme, 
No more yielding but a dream, 
Gentles, do not reprehend: If you pardon, we will mend. 
And, as I am an honest Puck, If we have unearned luck 
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue, 
We will make amends ere long; Else the Puck a liar call: So, good night unto you all. 
Give me your hands, if we be friends, And Robin shall restore amends.

 *Names of Gracie’s birth parents are changed

Vanessa McGradyGive me your hands, if we be friends

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