Friday, August 28, 2009

Lucky


When I first met my twins, they were six months old, in an orphanage in Vietnam. They had inflamed eczema on their faces and, on their shaved heads, a two-day growth of spiky black hair poking up through the infected scabs covering the tops of their heads. You'd press on their little crusty scalps and puss would ooze out. I remember holding them proudly in our arms on the plane to the US and telling the stewardesses brightly "We just adopted them!" while they looked back at us with pasted-on smiles and deep pity in their eyes. Those babies were truly and seriously funky looking. And when we got home, we were told again and again how lucky they were - because they were a different race, from a third-world country, had been in an orphanage, and were, admittedly, kind of grungey at first. But I'd been trying to have babies for for a few years, had some miscarriages, and to me they were the instant cure for my broken heart, the happy ending to all my tears, splotchy infected little miracles, and I knew I was the lucky one.

They cleaned up pretty nice, didn't they?

They started talking (English) at seven months old, shortly after they arrived in the states. They learned to read and write very young, they draw astonishingly well, play the guitar with talent and flair, make mostly A's in school, and they're gay. Because of this last little detail, a lot of people have been telling me, once again, how lucky they are to have me as a mother. Yesterday was my birthday and, in a card she'd drawn herself, one of my twins wrote, "I owe you for everything I am today. I'll love you always." She was so embarrassed she had to run and hide while I read it. She is sixteen after all. But when I was sixteen, I think the deepest thing I had to say to my parents was "I'm going out. Can I have some money?" or "You just don't understand!" (It was the 70s. We had a generation gap to maintain.)

So I just wanted to say what a privilege it is for me to be the mother of these lovely, talented, kind young women. Just as it has been a privilege for me to know all the gay men and women I've known over the years. Because people who know that shit happens - that life doesn't always follow the script we're handed when we're kids, that "normal" is a myth - are the very best kind of people to have at your side through the ups and downs of life. They're the ones who don't get scared when things are rough, who stay with you every step of the way. Having people like that in your life, however they come to you, now that's lucky.

16 comments:

Willym said...

two beautiful girls with a beautiful mother... in all senses of the word beautiful...

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Beautiful girls, wonderful mom, sweet post. I love you all. ;0)

laurent said...

Auguri and Complimenti to you all!

retrogoddess73 said...

What a lovely post! Thank you for sharing this with us.

JC said...

Your girls are lovely ...

mrpeenee said...

Congrats on creating such charming women.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

my goddess.how beautiful they are..
and i think the 4 of you are very lucky to have each other..

Elizabeth said...

Thanks all!

jason said...

Gorgeous!

sageweb said...

Wow they are gorgeous and they are very lucky to have you!

Kathleen said...

Er, I'm speechless. You have an amazing and beautiful family.

Kim Hambric said...

Yes, they did clean up well.

I am the mother of a 7-year-old. I do not know her sexual orientation yet. I'm betting on straight because she is obsessed the princesses, hair and even little boys (good god). I find it so frustrating that in describing someone, that, if they are gay, that is the first word used to describe them.

Like you, I am a lucky mother. I was able to adopt a wonderful child from China. She cleaned up pretty darn well, too. She was put into my arms at 8 1/2 months. Dressed in the saddest outfit ever. Drenched in urine. As soon as the caregiver left, we stripped her out of her clothing. Immediately, she began scratching the scabies sores that covered her skinny body. It was so bad that blood was dripping on the hotel room floor. After a few shitty hours, my husband and I proclaimed ourselves lucky parents.

I still have people come up to me (and her) and say how lucky she is. I just tell them how lucky I am.

I am privileged. I hope that no matter what happens in the future (unless she turns into a right-wing-nut-job-gun-toting-talk-show-host), I will think of her as an intelligent, caring person. Can't say that I have a lot of gay friends (can't say that I have a lot of friends anyway). However, one of my oldest and closest friends is intelligent, caring, friendly, amusing. And he's gay. He and his partner are two wonderful friends and "uncles" to my daughter. Guess she's lucky after all.

One of these days, I would love one of those cards from my daughter.

Anonymous said...

I too am the lucky mother of an adopted child. He loves me deeply and isn't ashamed to show me even at 21! We never part without a hug or an "I love you". He shows much more gratitude than my bio son - I guess he assumes I love him.
DF

Dauvit said...

The more I learn about you (in tiny snippets) the more incredible and wonderful I find you.
The above is just plain delightful and most of us can only ever hope to approach this level of humanity and love.

Elizabeth said...

All - Thanks for your lovely responses. For those of you who are gay or lesbian, I hope that your families know how lucky they know how lucky they are to have you in their lives. I certainly do.

Kim And DF - One of the wonderful things about adoption is that it makes all of us who are touched by it less likely to take our loved ones for granted.

Kim - I know you'll get some version of that letter, even if it's only a word or a gesture!

Dauvit - What a lovely thing to say! And as we say in the States, back at you!

ayem8y said...

They are gorgeous but can they write poetry about Acid Rain Barbie?

It’s wonderful that you have created your family and that they love you. I have a terrific Mom, but I can’t share everything with her. I want you for my Mom. Keep up the good work.