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yesterday, i went to my son’s First Communion Mass.

let me tell you this first – for the first six years that i visited ‘my son’ with his family, his parents and his brother and his grandma and extended family, alone in the house with only a few, at events with most or all of them, at Christmas or at the beach in the summer – he wanted little to nothing to do with me. he teased me, enjoyed choosing everyone over me and the frozen expression on my face.

you see, i was something that he didn’t understand. his brother didn’t have a ‘BirthMother’ that came to see him. he already had a mother, a mom, and so he didn’t get it. no matter how many times he said – ‘I grew in your belly b/c my Mom’s belly was broken’, he didn’t know what that meant. he had no idea what that meant really, for him or for me. all of the strength that it took to get there, all of the strength that it took not to let the effort show.

but now, he understands. he completely understands. he knows that him growing in my belly means that i am his mom. he knows that birthmother means that he is a part of my family, that everything that he looks like and writes with and ails with came from me, that he is a part of me in a way that can never be changed no matter who are his parents or his grandparents.

in the past, his brother has chosen me, clung to me, needed me. his brother was born five months before he was…premature, his mom not telling anyone she was pregnant because she didn’t know who he belonged to. she continued to smoke, drink, do drugs. she gained only 9 pounds and had him early. she came in to the hospital, had a 4 pound baby, looked at him and said, ‘I don’t want him.’ and left. she left without knowing that this part of her that had grown inside of her would be okay, would live, would have someone to go home with, a home to go to.

i have hated her for that. they called me, my son’s parents, and asked if it was okay if they adopted a special needs baby that had just been born at the hospital where his dad was a doctor. they told me his story and told me that if i still wanted my son to be their first, their only for a while, that they would say no to this child. it was my decision, whether or not this little fighter had a home to go to, people to go home with. i was growing a little me inside of me knowing that he would go home with them. every day i reconciled it again and again. every day i thought about how i had quit smoking and drinking at 21 for a baby that i had never seen, the result of a man who threatened to have me eradicated if i didn’t abort him, and i chose my pain for his future. how could i say No to this child? i couldn’t.

and so, they picked him up and brought him to me. i held his tiny body in the palms of my hand, cried for him and gave him a bottle. i went to their house often and held him, fed him, laid with him on my giant belly and watced sports or ate salmon. i went to his Baptism hugely pregnant with his brother, around all of his extended family who thought it was crazy that his parents had the relationship with me that they did. i formed a tigther and tighter still relationship with his mom, my older sister, my mom, my son’s mom. a relationship that only a few can understand or even try to.

i pulled away for a while, because it was hard to be treated the way i was by him and leave hurting and sad, thinking that someone that i had grieved and sacrificed for thought that my pain and love for him was funny. even at 6 he was fierce and smart and they called him Mini-Angie. but, in my time of need, he is what i have needed most.

when his father picked me up from the airport, he cried telling me about him. about how loving he is and amazing. but he cried the most saying to me, ‘when he’s talking to me, sometimes i close my eyes and it’s you that my mind’s eye sees and hears there. he is the mirror image of you, he always has been and he always will be Ang, he is your son.’

even though my flight had been messed up and i got in very late, he had waited up for me. as i walked in the door, he came barreling down the stairs screaming, ‘she’s here she’s here she’s here!’. and then he came into my arms. he has followed me around, demanding to sit by me. he asks me questions about being my son, about being left handed, about how i got pregnant if i wasn’t married, about looking like me. he says over and over again, ‘i have my BirthMom here.’ he asked all of his teachers to come and meet me and formally introduced me, ‘Mrs. _______, this my BirthMom, Angie. she’s gonna stay as long as i want her to!!.’ he has kissed me – which you don’t know how big that is! just like me, he is a germophobe – refuses to share his drink or kiss people who aren’t family/close because of germs. but he said that he could kiss me because we have the same breath. he introduced me to all of his friends, called me his mom & his other mom. woke me up in the morning with his face (my image) pressed against mine.

his grandma – old, stoic, Republican – is here for First Communion as well. i’ve spent Christmases at her house, have known her for over 8 years now, and she has never approved. always wondering when i’m going to turn the tides and try to take him back again. she stood behind me while we were getting ready and spoke ill of the dress i was wearing ($1300 silk Jovovich-Hawk dress, a gift from the designer) but too scandalous because strapless. she sat down and for no reason started speaking ill of tattoos and the people who got them. she refused to speak to his mom or me for the pool parties. (that part wasn’t bad)

but, here’s the thing. my son knows that he is my son. he knows that he looks like me, that he speaks like me. he understands what it means. he asked me if he is the most special to me since he is my son. the thing is that just because i gave him up for adoption because it was the best thing for him, it doesn’t mean that he’s not my son. he’s still my son. i still love him and melt when he hugs me. i still feel like i’m looking in the mirror when he looks at me. i still laugh when he makes eyes and me and am aghast at the things that can come out of his mouth. i thought that i wasn’t a mom, didn’t have what it takes to be a mom, because of the way i was talked to when i did what i did with him.

but i am a mom. and i’m still his mom. and just because it took me some more years and experience to get to this point, doesn’t mean that i’m terrible. the words that i can’t say out loud are that i’m good at being a mom, i’m happy to be a mom, and i’m entirely in love with my son – i’m just really glad that my son has great parents and a great life!

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