Surreal. Foggy. Shadows. Snapshots of Jana catch my breath. I see a younger, "me". Both girls are head over heals in love and they don't recognize my smile as a vivid memory of me and their dad as "young love". Braden is a mixed up reflection of my dad and his dad, the two men who hold both my little girl and grown up heart. All of these years and I'm still a "Mommy" to a six year old, a "Mama" to a ten year old. I live with the shadow of other faces, echoes. Most days I struggle to embrace the "now" for living in the "then".
If I ever write a book, I have the name..."Shadow Mama". I should probably rename my blog. It suits me. I'm doing it all again except this time, in the middle of forty. Two decades later I'm repeating kindergarten and fourth grade, Jesus Loves me and baseball, dance lessons and chores...laundry and more laundry, "because I said so" and mama love. Why does it seem like I did it all much better the first time? There's another definition that sits below the surface. I'm taking someone else's place. This shouldn't be me. My little girl should look into a face that resembles hers, reach for a hand that is ebony,strong and solid. There would be no need for constant reassurance. In this world as it could have been, my little boy would not yearn to look like us. He wouldn't hate it so much when strangers sneak a second glance and a third. He wouldn't be anxious and angry about things he can't remember.
Perhaps the reason that I struggle with this so much is because I have the mixed blessing of motherhood by both birth and adoption. If I had only birth children, we would be a unit - past, present and future. If I had "only" adopted children, I would glory in the "present", thankful for a future. I feel caught somewhere between undeserving and not enough.