Monday, January 24, 2011
When I was about eight years old I went with my mom to visit my uncle. I loved visiting my uncle. He worked on a railroad and he always had great stories about all of his many adventures. This particular visit to his house he had a video for my mom and I to watch. It was a video of a vacant building being imploded. For whatever reason, he was invited by a friend of his to watch (and record) this spectacle. I was captivated. I sat and watched the camera zoom into the structure. I waited patiently for the crowning moment. I listened intently to the hustle and bustle of the workers as they prepared to detonate the structure. Then just like that, it was done. What was once a tall building was now a pile of dust and rubble.
Looking back I can’t help but wonder why I was so captivated by such an event. Maybe I was just a little kid who wanted to see something blow up, or maybe it’s just human nature to enjoy watching things fall. Either way, I can’t help but wonder. What purpose did that building serve? I was never told what it was actually used for. Even if it was just a warehouse used to store items, surely someone somewhere had fond memories of it. What about the people who built it? How would they feel if they knew I took such pleasure in watching the fruits of their labor crumble to the ground?
As birth parents we face unique challenges that other parents do not. While other parents are watching their children take their first steps, we will watch this moment from a distance and some of us won’t watch at all. We also face spectators who want to see us fall. People who are so put off by the idea of adoption what they write us off as dead beat parents, lazy, or just plain heartless. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not claiming that we’re the only group of people out there who face these spectators. From my experience, however, it certainly seems that these people are allowed to stand a little bit closer to the front lines.
As I move through life as a birth mother, I look for reasons to stand tall every day. One look at the photo of my son that sits on my desk can turn an otherwise crappy day into the day I decide to live life like it’s my last day on earth. The thought that one day my son will possibly be proud of me can give me the burst of energy needed to pull myself through the week, month, or even the year. Most recently, I’ve decided to think of the spectators. That ugly little group of people who stand on the sidelines, waiting for me to fall. I will never let those spectators see me fall.
Besides, whenever a building of some significance is scheduled to be demolished, there is always a whole other group of people fighting to preserve it.