Not bad for a fat girl


Who Am I?

My colleague at work has found her birth family. 8a8f8826d98c426854f0caa18b8478c6--genealogy-quotes-family-trees.jpg

People are stunned at how quickly it has all happened, but as she says, quickly aside from the 45 years leading up to it.

It’s not all roses and sunshine. There are things she’s learning that are difficult. But there are things that are incredible, too. She’s already met some of her birth relatives in person. Ten days ago she didn’t know they existed. Remarkable.

Naturally all of this excitement makes me think about my own situation. Do I have birth relatives one state away? Are there pictures of people I’ve never met, as children, who look like my own child? Or me? Do I share a nose with someone, or a laugh, or a love of Cadbury mini-eggs? And could someone please explain about these ridiculous fingernails that bend? Whose fault is that?

I’ve been looking around at 23 and Me, trying to make sense of my DNA relatives. So far the closest link that’s shown up is a second cousin, and she seems to be a dead end. I’m thinking about Ancestry DNA next. That’s what my friend used.

Maybe after all this time someone out there in the big wide world is looking for me. Maybe they wouldn’t mind be found by me. Maybe they haven’t forgotten me. I don’t think they have. How could you?


An Open Letter to My Birth Mother on Mother’s Day

Dear Birth Mother,

I realize I may be too late with this message. I’m nearly 50 years old, and you, of course, are older. I realize your life may have already come to an end, but I hope not. I hope you are alive and well and surrounded by loved ones. I hope life has been good to you and for you. I hope you have made a contribution to the world and you are satisfied with your place in it. I especially hope you feel at peace with the decision you made to give me up.flat,800x800,075,t.u1

I don’t know much about the events surrounding my birth and adoption. They are closely guarded secrets, although I don’t know exactly why. Even if I am the result of the most scandalous events, they are beyond my control, so why do I need to be shielded from them? I’m just the end result, not the cause of any bad behavior or pain.

Birth mother, perhaps you could shed some light on my origins. Am I the result of an affair? A rape? Incest? Or am I the product of a bleary one-night-stand or an abusive relationship? Maybe you struggled with mental illness or lived in poverty. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t change who I am. I just wonder. I just want to know.

Maybe none of those scenarios apply. Maybe you were in love with my birth father but the situation was impossible, for whatever reason. Or maybe you just didn’t want to be a parent at that point in your life. I can accept that too. I can accept anything, because the truth is better than not knowing.

I wonder about you, birth mother. I wonder what you look like and what makes you laugh. I wonder if you have an unhealthy relationship with food like I do. I wonder if you have other children-my brothers or sisters. I wonder if you like to create or if you have an inquisitive mind. I wonder if you’re Irish or German in origin and what type of music you enjoy. I wonder what your voice sounds like, and what your smile looks like.

I wonder if you would like me.

I wonder if you think about me on Mother’s Day and my birthday. I think about you on those days, and on many other days.

Birth mother, do you know who I am? Did you ever see me as I was growing up? Did you know my parents before they became my parents? Did you live in the same town and shop at the same stores? Did you see my wedding announcement in the newspaper? Have you checked out my Facebook page or my Twitter feed or even read this blog?

Does anyone in your world know about me? Or have I been kept secret all these years?

Nearly 50 years of secrets. That’s a long time.

I just want to thank you for being my first mother, and for allowing me to have the life I’ve had. I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, know I’m thinking of you and I wish you happiness and peace.

Happy Mother’s Day.

With love, your daughter.




Shopping Revisited – Trauma or Triumph

plus-size-fashionLast summer I had a horrible shopping experience with my mother. We were clothing shopping for me, and it was the most demoralizing, degrading, unpleasant experience you could imagine within the confines of an upscale shopping mall. Seriously, it sucked. I felt lower than a rat that day. Lower than a flea on a rat. I swore that would be the last time I went clothing shopping with my mom. I was done.

It was nothing intentional, I’m sure. It’s just that when my mom was my age she weighed approximately 110 pounds. She currently laments the fact that she has an extra 5 pounds that she just can’t get rid of. She is a tiny person. I am not. I am a very large person. I am fat and have been fat for a long time. I was bigger and heavier than my mother by the time I was nine years old. I am adopted. I am different.

Fast forward to last Thursday. Mom called and asked if I wanted to do something “fun” on Saturday. This is a trick question. I always want to do something fun, but mom’s idea of fun and mine are often quite different. What kind of fun? We went back and forth and settled on a movie of her choice as the “fun” activity (I think it has subtitles). Great. The other option was shopping for a special occasion dress for me. Nope, I wasn’t going there.

I love my mother. I really do. We are just really different from one another. Our likes and dislikes, our outlooks on life, and our personalities are at odds with one another. Still, she is my mother, and I want to spend time with her. I was ready to willing to sit through some weird artsy movie (that honestly I might have loved under different circumstances) when it occurred to me that I would have to turn off my phone for two hours in the middle of a Saturday.

Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but since I’m trying to sell my house realtors call me as a courtesy before coming to show it. What if someone called and I didn’t answer? Would they skip my property and move on to another without a second thought? I wasn’t willing to take that risk.

I called mom with my dilemma and she immediately brought up her first plan, dress shopping. Oh goody.

My sweetheart gave me a stern talking to about how she is who she is, and she doesn’t mean all the mean things she says and does, and she’s old and set in her ways, so suck it up and deal. Something like that. It was probably more tactful than that, but that’s what I heard.

I decided to put on a good attitude and see where it took me. I picked her up and suggested that we try the Macy’s near my house, where I’ve had some success in the past. Nope, too far away. We would go to the Macy’s near her house. Sure, that would be great. She insisted that we park under Nieman Marcus, because she always walks through Nieman Marcus. As we entered the store, we immediately headed to the fragrance counter. I fought back the urge to sneeze as mother made a bee line for her favorite scent. That task taken care of, we headed to Macy’s.

We found the women’s department tucked away in an obscure corner (as usual) and quickly walked though the racks. There was not one item in that store that I wanted to try on. There was not one item that my mom wanted me to try on. We were in complete agreement. Amazing.

We left and mom announced that soon she would be ready for a coffee and a chocolate covered biscotti. She thought we should go to Dillard’s (next to Nieman Marcus) then get the coffee at the opposite end of the mall. My sense of logic prevented me from getting on board with that timeline. We would do this strategically, first the snack, then back to Dillard’s. She agreed and we headed to the coffee place. On the way we passed Godiva, and mom pulled me in for a sample. I did not argue. After that we turned the corner and headed down a very long, very busy mall corridor. At last we reached the end and the coffee place. We got our pick me up and spent some time people watching. It was fun. Really.

As we finished, mom suggested we go into Nordstrom’s, since we were right there. I have never purchased anything from Nordstrom’s. Ever. But true to my good, agreeable attitude, I said sure. I didn’t even know if they had a plus sized department. They do. It’s really nice. And it isn’t crazy expensive. We chose several items and made ourselves comfortable in the huge, beautiful fitting room. We enjoyed complimentary water bottles and good conversation, and mom didn’t make that “I just stepped in something” face at me even once. We found the dress, and it was a size smaller than I expected to buy. We also found two blouses off the clearance rack that mom insisted on buying. I was tickled.

The only thing they didn’t have was a suitable sweater or jacket to wear with the dress in the synagogue (it’s for my niece’s Bat Mitzvah), so off to Dillard’s we went. Jackpot! They had so many beautiful dresses and separates, and even two options for my jacket/sweater. Oh, and lots of their stock was on sale! I could have bought five dresses, which, if you are a woman my size, is unheard of. I was blown away. I was thrilled. I was dumbstruck. The whole experience turned out to be a lot of fun, and I came home with several very nice new clothing items.

I guess the lesson here is never give up on your family, even when you think you’ve reached your breaking point. Through conversation, a pleasant attitude, and the addition of well timed chocolate and coffee, we had a wonderful day.