I was sitting at a table in a Starbucks seven hours away from home. We’d come under the pretense of wanting coffee, but the real reason was we needed to feel normal for an hour. After ordering, we crowded tightly around the table. Our seven-year-old was watchful as I gently pulled the week-old baby from his car seat so I could feed him. To anyone watching, we were just a family of four enjoying a Sunday afternoon at the coffee shop. Except, my husband didn’t smile once, and from the time we’d buckled the kids into our van until the moment the barista shouted that our coffee was ready, I had been unable to stop weeping.
I was broken inside, shaken by yesterday’s call that announced how rapidly everything was falling apart. For hours, I had been unable to stop the flow of impending grief from running down my cheeks. Pretending to sip my coffee, I watched a couple in their late sixties at the next table over ask one another awkward questions. “Where did you grow up? What’s your favorite hobby? Do you drink decaf or regular?” They fiddled with their coffee cups and looked at the floor when conversation lapsed— the telltale signs of what was clearly a first date.
“What would it be like to start over?” I wondered. “What is it like to be on the other side of adulthood only to wake up one day and find you’ve got to start completely over?” I looked at the baby in my arms. Would I be starting over again tomorrow? If it all fell apart, would I be willing to start over again tomorrow?
November is National Adoption Month. My family has grown through adoption, so I was pleased to be asked to write about this tender subject for Kindred Mom. Look for a follow-up podcast interview where Kindred Mom founder, Emily Allen, and I dig a little deeper on the issue of mothering without guarantees. The podcast interview goes live November 7.