I got a present from my daughter in the mail today. It was perfectly thoughtful: full of things I like – a book and a blank journal, homemade bookmarks and waterproof bracelets. And a very sweet handwritten note. I sank to the floor and wept – there is this constant ache because of Gracie’s adoption. It never goes away, but I have grown accustomed to this pain after nearly a decade. But in situations like these – when I am flooded with her, it reverberates.
Brandon was across the hallway and came over and gave me a long hug. I decided this was as good a time as any to tell him about her. So I explained to a nearly-three-year-old why I was crying:
“Before you were born, I had another child. She is a girl, and she is nine years old. She is your half-sister and maybe one day you will meet her. She sent me a birthday present and wrote me this note. I’m crying because I’m not raising her like I am raising you and Holden and that makes me sad. And I don’t want her to think that I’m not raising her because I don’t love her because I love her very much.”
And there it was. My sadness in a nutshell. Saying it aloud to a two-year-old made the complicated ache sound a little less complicated. Brandon didn’t say much; instead, he went and picked out a teddy bear and brought it back to me and gave me another hug. And that was that. About twenty minutes later he asked if I was sad anymore. And although I was, I told him I was all better.