I’ve been thinking about my birth mother lately. Maybe because thinking is all I really can do. She doesn’t want to be in a relationship with me, and even if she did, she’s not in very good health. Maybe I’ve been thinking about her because her 91st birthday is around the corner.
My birth mother never wanted to meet me. I’ve known that for a long time. I tried to find her 25 or more years ago through an intermediary and she refused to meet me. When I got my birth certificate 5 years ago this summer, I wasn’t expecting one of those reunions you see on TV shows where everyone is excited and thankful for the reunion. But I still persisted in trying to get her to meet me.
And I’m glad I did. I was able to ask her questions I’d always wanted to ask (even if some of the answers were kinda painful). I was able to thank her for giving me life and for giving me up. I was able to see what my hair will look like in 40 years.
I realize now, a few years later, that one of the reasons I went to meet a woman who didn’t want to meet me is that I thought I could ‘win her over’. I’ve got lots of other friends and loved ones. Other birth family people have welcomed me to the family. I can be pretty charming. I’m a good conversationalist. And doggone it, people like me.
A few things have occurred to me lately about all this.
First, while I am, no doubt, charming and all that, it isn’t why I have friends and family. The rest of the birth family has welcomed me because they have discovered I am family.
And my friends, colleagues, and congregation welcome me because human beings seek connection and community. It’s who we are. And I’m thankful to be surrounded by so many people who love me as I am–charms, failings, and all the rest.
We don’t have community because we audition for a role and get the part. We have community because that’s who human beings are.
Yes, relationships develop and deepen, or don’t, based on effort, compatibility, willingness to be vulnerable, etc. But seeking connection is the human condition.
Second, the role for which I was auditioning for in my mother’s life is not one that is on her cast list. It didn’t matter how good I was, or how delightful a conversationalist I was, I am not going to win a part that isn’t in the script. She is the Director of her life’s play, and there is not a role in it for “daughter she gave up for adoption”.
I’m sad about that. I wish it were different.
Alongside my sadness, as it’s traveling companion, sits gratitude.
I continue to find new birth family members (now mainly through DNA), and I keep getting welcomed into their lives. I’m abundantly grateful for each and every welcome. One of my new cousins recently gave me a few more family pictures, including one where Alden looks so much like my birth father that I gasped when I saw it.
How about you? Are there roles you are auditioning for in any relationships? Or are you able to receive the relationships that occur more organically? However it is for you, I hope you know that you are worthy of connection and relationship. Already. Right now. As you are. And if you’re needing to try out for the role, it likely isn’t the relationship you’re hoping it will be.
11 thoughts on “Auditioning for Roles”
“It didn’t matter how good I was, or how delightful a conversationalist I was, I am not going to win a part that isn’t in the script.” These are wise and profound words! I am not in your circumstances, but they resonated strongly with me.
Thank you for reading. Yes, I’m certain I have auditioned for relationship roles before this one.
Marci, I understand how important mother-daughter relationships can be. I lost my mother to cancer when I was around 11. What I remember was a close relationship, but a very short one. Although, I guess she has always been with me through all these years. My wish and prayer for you is that you know you are loved and appreciated by everyone who surrounds you. I, for one, appreciate your sermons, your ‘charming personality’, and your sense of humor. Thank you, also, for guiding us in being an all inclusive congregation and welcoming to all. You have made a difference in this world.
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Thank you, Harlene. Your words mean a lot. Moreso your presence in my life is a gift. Thank you.
This really moves me. My reunion story is different, with a different kind of pain about it, but it is also a mismatch in roles, hopes, and expectations. I wish it were different. I am so grateful for the vulnerability with which you share this journey. Peace, friend.
Thanks, Pat. I suspect even the best reunions have mismatched hopes, right?
Of course you don’t have to answer this: But I wonder what was the relationship with your father. I guess that’s something we will never know. I’m impressed/surprised that she agreed to a photo — and even smiled. I wonder how she would respond to a “thinking of you” card, now and then. Would these cards be returned, unopened?
I do see a resemblance between grandfather and son. If both photos were in black and white, it might seem more so.
It’s interesting how sometimes a child will resemble a grandparent more than a parent.
The birth father died a while back. He never knew she was pregnant with me.
I do send my birth mother birthday and Christmas cards. I call her on her birthday. That seems enough for both of us. She’s not in great health these days. If she were to change her mind, decide she wants to see me, I’d probably go to her. But I don’t really think that will happen.
While I feel sadness about the way it is. I don’t judge her for the way she feels. I didn’t have to go through what she went through when I was born.
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I am sorry to read this. She is missing so much – daughter, son-in-law, grandsons. If only our longings for others were always reciprocated, but: reality intervenes.
I have read this blog several times. In my own life, my mom is the one I would like to ask some questions. We have a weird relationship. You see my second step father started abusing me at the age of six. He always told me if I told anyone he would kill my mom, and unbeknownst to me, he was telling her if she left him, he would kill me. I have spent a great deal of my life looking for answers or a way to let go of my questions.
Blessings on all of that. It’s a lot to carry, isn’t it?