Ah Sweet, Love.
We’ve been talking a lot lately about when you were little and growing up. I look at you and I see so much of me. Our personalities. A little goofy, a lot silly and a whole lot loving. It’s amazing to me how much alike we are.
You and I.
Once upon a time, I was a little girl and I made friends as easily as I breathed air. I never hesitated a minute to ask for a new friend. As I grew older, I became more cautious and a little shy in my friend finding. But back in the day, before I knew how to be shy I was boisterous, all encompassing and anything but shy.
When you were little, you never knew a stranger…to you all people were simply friends you hadn’t met yet. You’re favorite thing to say was, “I made a new best friend today.” And you meant it. Everyone was your best friend, even if you didn’t know their name. Now, you have reigned yourself in a little. You’re a little cautious and more than a little shy.
I never wanted that for you. I wanted you to stay the same friend-finding, boisterous, all encompassing and anything but shy boy. But like me, you turned inward a little.
It shouldn’t surprise me that you turned inward a little. As a baby, you were content to sit in your swing and entertain yourself. You enjoyed your own company. Every morning I used to stand outside your bedroom door and listen to you talk and talk and talk. To yourself. Not to a teddy bear, or a blanket, or a toy. Maybe you were talking to your hands or your toes. Your sweet little babbling voice went on and on and it always made me smile. It didn’t matter what you were talking to, you were just content to talk alone in your crib.
So it really shouldn’t surprise me that you became a little introverted. But I wanted you stay like you were. Don’t get me wrong…you’re still the same goofy, boisterous and supremely fun loving young man who strives to be the comic and clown, but you only show that side to those who know you well. Now people have to earn their way in because time and circumstances have altered things a little. You’re a little more reserved and quiet around those who don’t know you. The time and circumstances weren’t anything big or bad, just growing up stuff. And growing up causes changes.
A couple of years ago, you and I were driving to school and we were talking about grades and school. We were talking about your ADD and your meds and how that is a part of you and your life and your learning style. A look came over your face as we were driving. You let your funny boy mask fall just a little and I saw the struggle. I felt it when I looked at you. It was the look of a young man who might see himself as a little different than his peers. I saw the look of someone who can look at life from the outside. I thought I saw the look of someone who sometimes feels a little like they are on the outside. I thought I saw myself in you, yet again.
And then you cemented what I thought I saw when you said, “Mom, sometimes in class I just don’t get something. I look around and I see everyone else understands what the teacher is saying and I just sit there. And I feel so…”
Your shoulders slumped a little, the light dimmed in your eyes and my heart ached for you as I said…
“Stupid?” And I finished your sentence for you.
You and I went on to talk about how smart you really are. We talked more about your ADD and our similarities. I told you I struggled the same way. I still do. There are times when I look around and see everyone else nodding in unison at something someone has said and I just don’t get it, whatever “it” is. And I feel stupid. Maybe that’s why I pulled back from being that boisterous, all encompassing and anything but shy girl I used to be. And maybe that’s why you have too. But I have to say, I’m glad we have each other to lean on in those times when something just goes right over our heads, for those times when we feel just a little on the outside.
Fast forward to a few days ago. You came strolling into the kitchen while I was in the process of fixing something to eat and I asked if you’d like something. You responded by saying, “No thanks. I just put wax over my bracket.” I understand. Boy, do I understand. Once you get the wax over the offending bracket you don’t want to do anything to knock it off. The pain of brackets and wires slicing into sensitive cheeks and gums is a pain I never want to endure again, nor something I would wish on my worst enemy, let alone you. We talked about warm salt water rinses, the best wax to cover sores and I told you to let me know if it gets worse or doesn’t heal. I told you I’d make you an appointment to have something done or at least get you a prescription of the magic medicine I used when I had my braces on. I told you what a miracle drug it was for me and you said, “Mom, we’re almost the same person, I can just use your prescription.” And my heart smiled.
I like having someone who is almost the same as I am. I like it a lot. I’ve waited a long time, to have someone almost the same. As an adoptee, I always wanted to hear that someone looked like me, talked like me, walked like me, acted like me. My biggest wish was to know someone who is almost like me. My wish came true and I’m glad it’s you.