so i’ve been really, intensely sick. i got Strep Throat from a little girl, that morphed into Strep with a side of Scarlet Fever. i couldn’t swallow or breathe, i have a rash that itches to infinity, and merely moving at all sent me into the most major joint pain imaginable. it has not been pleasant.

i have, however, got a couple of positives out of the situation. first – for the first time in my life, i’ve been shown familial love when i was down. the couple that adopted my son have been amazing during this time. yesterday, i woke up to her being there to check on me and tucking me tighter into my blanket. she told me, “i brought you some surprises…” and she had peppermint patties, Dreamgirls on DVD, soup and a pair of tall, striped socks with rubber duckies on them.

to understand how awesome this is, you’d have to understand how different they are than me. whereas i’m a liberal Democrat who volunteers at Planned Parenthood and is going to marry a black man, they are conservative Republicans who listen to Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity and live in the whitest neighborhood around (and they always, as their big joke, serve me my coffee in a Rush Limbaugh mug)…so when i first came here and would go to ball games or events with them, she said, “what is this, with all of the tall & funky socks?” and i said, “they’re my thing, my fetish. i love tall & funky socks!”, to which she replied “okay. then.” Her tone telling me that she, once again, thought i was a total weirdo but she loved me enough to not talk about it.

so, to have her go out and shop for tall and funky socks when i was ailing so badly and bring me all of my favorite things, to wake up to her tucking me in tighter…this was a true first in my life at the age of 30. to have someone who loves me like the storybooks say that family does. and it made me feel so amazing.

the thing about birds is, she loves them. she always has and she knows everything about them. she can identify them by their calls, she knows what they eat and how long they nest and all their details, and she has tons of birdhouses and feeders and the like. so, as we’ve been working in the lawn, i’ve been asking her about the birds. she has tons of trees and forestry and stuff and it’s like a bird heaven, and sometimes i catch her sitting out there just absorbed in them. so, she tells me all about them – their habits, what they eat, when they come, how they behave, their incubation. and, i’ve found myself absorbed in it. i am pulled to the screened in porch to watch and i tell her new things that happen.

this morning, we were both standing side by side, watching all of the activity, when suddenly we saw a Wren feeding his girlfriend. i didn’t realize that birds formed such nurturing relationships, but they really do care for their mate. we would watch him swoop down and catch bugs and worms and get seeds and bring them to her and feed her. the Bluebirds come every day and she sits in a high branch and he gets things to build their nest in the house they use every year – last year, he figured out that the squirrels could get to the house that they were going to use and freaked out, so she put them their very own free standing house up that they use now. they always come back. there is a Woodpecker, some Morning Doves, Cardinals, Hummingbirds, Hawks (the other day, we watched a Hawk catch a snake from the sky to the ground in mere moments and it was amazing!!)…and so much more. today, we sat down and she showed me in books about birds and this state so many things about the birds that we adore each day, and we highlighted the ones that we have seen together and read things that we should add to their feeders.

the bond that we have created through watching birds has been amazing, and one i only realized today. i have never in my life had a ‘mother figure’ or family figure who came to check my fever in my sleep, who tucked me into my blanket as i, fevered, sweat and shook in my sleep. i’ve never had a mother figure who got my favorite snacks, who encouraged my exercise and weight loss and wept for my disease, who spoke to me about grown things in relationships – sex, love, difficulty, arguing, religion, children, depression, major change and the working together through all of this. and, i’ve never had a mother figure, a family person, who shared my happiness for my relationship and whole heartedly welcomed my mate into their family, into our family. she and her husband, my son’s parents, went off to celebrate their anniversary and left their children, one of them ‘my child’, in our care. we took them to movies and swimming, to the beach, to mcdonalds, we let them stay up late and watch a movie in the ‘off limits room’ while having a snack picnic on the floor. i laid in the floor, flanked on each side by a sleepy child, with my outstretched hand being held and stroked by the one i love, and had a vision of my future that i have never had before.

and i spoke to her of these things while we were watching the birds. while the Wren fed his mate a worm, while the Bluebird found a piece of mulch acceptable for the home for his mate, while the Hawk scooped breakfast for his family and screamed the news…i told her how much their love, their nurturing, their care and trust, had changed me. how much being a part of a family had made me want a family of my own and made me willing to see it for the joy and fun that it can be, rather than the danger and venom that i had grown up with…i spoke to her about how them adopting me as well as my son had made it possible for me to open my heart and mind and find someone who had room in his heart not only for me with all of my past, and my son and his family, but also for the adopted child{ren} that are our option, and how happy it made me that they had opened their hearts and love to him as well. we have a bond that can’t be explained by being the giver & receivers of a very special child.

but, through the birds, we have formed a different kind of bond. through the birds, we have come to know each other in ways that we never did before. through the birds, we have become sisters, confidantes, secret holders, best friends and more. while looking at the birds and marveling at how they care for each other in this society that i have never known about, while she tells me things that i didn’t know i wanted to know, we have come to be something to each other that neither of us knew was possible, and that i didn’t know could mean so much. because of the birds, i know what it’s like to have a mother now, as well as to want to be a mother – and, to feel as if i have what it takes to be one.

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i am Angie, i am 30 and i am learning my place in a family.

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