All About Me

Memoirs of an Adoptee

Runs like a Girl

I didn’t realize that my adoptive father was a chauvinist until I became an adult. I  hadn’t known any better, although I was fully aware of the signs in the household growing up. After dinner, when my adoptive mother would get up from dinner to clear the table, he would immediately say, “The maid is off today!” A signal for my adoptive sister and me to jump up and start helping, as he continued to sit. It wasn’t that I didn’t think we should participate, it was the manner  in which he ordered us, as if we were to serve him, simply because he was a  man.

I was in my early teens when I recall hearing him exclaim, “She runs like a girl!” while watching a women’s track racing on television. This deragatory  remark implied to me that he didn’t think women should be involved in that sport. He’d also made it clear that he wasn’t fond of the L’Oréal commercial that stated, “Because you’re worth it.”, which was meant to empower women. He verbalized often how he despised vanity, and even told me once that God would give me a pimple if I were too vain. He always seemed to me to be extremely arrogant, and I wondered to myself if there was very much difference in arrogance and vanity.

I’ve always felt that was partly his reason for joining the LDS church, because of the subordination of women to men. He had been raised by his mother after the death of his father at a young age, along with two older sisters. I pondered at how he developed such attitudes, when his mother seemed like a strong and independent woman, who owned her own business. Someone pointed out to me that maybe he resented their dominance over him. He was also much older , and more like a grandfather to me, with a generational gap. My adoptive mother was twenty-one years younger than he was, and was probably more submissive than his previous wife, who had two daughters that were geared more towards woman’s liberation. He had referred to that wife as very social, a woman that enjoyed a party, as if that were a bad thing.

When my son was about twelve years old, I found him watching women’s track racing on tv, and I said, “She runs like a girl!”, just to see his reaction. He replied, “Mom, she is a girl!” “You are right son, she is a girl.”, I replied, and then I just smiled.

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Temptation and Heartache

The year hasn’t started out so great. I was sick from Christmas through New Years, and then came the car trouble. New Year’s Eve consisted of a girl at the club telling me that she has gotten very close, although not as close as I am, with my husband, who works there.  She also referred to me as {my husband’s} wife a couple of times, instead of using my name, which was annoying. I’d like to think that in the whole scheme of things, I am much more than just somebody’s wife. I suppose that thinking of me this way helps her to reconcile her wrongdoing in pursuing a taken man, to think of me as a thing, rather than an actual person. I’m guessing by her words, that they never consummated the relationship, even though it is not what I would consider appropriate. Several months ago,  I came upon some messages they had been sending to each other, where he seemed to be treating her with a kindness that is rarely shown to me. I pay attention to the signals now, when my mind is telling me that something is not quite right.

The following day, after fully processing everything that had transpired, I promptly let him know that he should go be with this girl,  if he so chooses. I’d already made him aware that I knew about their messages, which weren’t terribly incriminating, yet still hurtful. I told him that he was giving her the good parts of himself, and I was not going to continue to be made a fool, while they carried on, being certain of the fact that everyone he works with knows of their relationship. It was a kind of fantasy world that they had created, leaving me with only the sour side of him. All that I’ve ever wanted in life is happiness, and I certainly do not want to be in the way of his. I didn’t get a response to my earlier text to him, only extreme niceness throughout the evening, when he returned home from work.

We’ve been through a lot in the few years of marriage. Some would consider us still newlyweds.  It’s not always easy, and it gets ugly at times. It’s difficult, and there have been many, many times where I’ve wanted to throw in the towel. Somehow, I keep forging on, hoping for better days. I think the whole point of marriage is sticking by each other, through thick and thin, hell or high water, never giving up. Everyone has their limits.

One of the things that attracted me to my husband was the fact that we do have a lot of fun together. We enjoy going to concerts, and sometimes when things get especially tough, we plan dates together. We’ve experienced births, and death; ups and downs. I can truly be myself with him, and he accepts me for all that I am. I’ve pretty much based my whole life around him. Sometimes I feel that he wants to selfishly keep me all to himself. The drudgery of everyday life can be monotonous. Maybe this younger, attractive girl was building him up more than I do, boosting his ego. She showed him a different, more exciting side of life as seen through the superficial and shallow eyes of a barfly. I’ve witnessed the worst of him, and I’m sure that she has not.

I want so badly to write to her; to give her some womanly advise. It is possible that I am old enough to be her mother, so I’ve been around the block several more times. I want to let her know that I’ve got her number, that depth of character will always trump youth, and that maybe she needs to take a good hard look at her own integrity. I don’t consider myself as the jealous type. I’m not up for chasing men, or begging them for attention and love. Being alone does not scare me. I know that my husband loves me, and I doubt he wants to leave. There will be temptations; we all have weakness. It wasn’t fair that he was giving another women the attention that he should have been giving me. It all was making sense, and now everything is out in the open, and has been addressed.  I’ve never thought that secrets were ever a good thing, unless maybe they led to some kind of pleasant surprise, such a party or maybe even a present.

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Yesterday, I Cried

 

“Did you see the paper?”, Ms Betty said as I was getting ready to leave. “Yes, you showed it to me this morning.”, I said. I stood there with her for a moment in front of the piano, where the article was displayed. She told me how proud she was of her son, who had made the front page of the local paper for doing an extraordinarily good thing for someone.  I’d known Ms Betty for many years before I found out that one of her sons had been adopted. She’d never mentioned it.

“Let me tell you the story.”, She continued. “When he was twelve years old, my son brought him to our house, he was on one of the twin beds in my son’s bedroom. I found him crying, and when I finally got it out of him, he said that he wished that this was his family.” I felt the tears coming to my eyes. “I’m going to leave, Ms Betty, before you make me cry.” I told her, as I turned towards the door, at the end of the hall. “His mother had died, and he was living with his grandmother. He’d had a really hard time of it.” I patted her on the back, “You are such a good person, Ms Betty, I love you.” I said, as I tried desperately to hold back tears. She looked at my face. “Oh, look at you.” She said tenderly.

We said our good byes, and I went to my car, and headed home. Tears were steadily flowing down my face the entire  drive. I met Ms Betty fifteen years ago, when her daughter answered my ad in that same newspaper.  The first time I was at their house, I remember feeling right at home, and thinking to myself, “I wish this was my family.” Ms Betty proceeded to do so much for me throughout those years, things that I could never possibly repay. She never expected anything, she didn’t judge. She always had something to give me before leaving, after a long day of work. She still insists on feeding me lunch. I used to tell her that she was my angel.  She’d made me feel like I was part of her family, given me unconditional love, and had restored my faith in people. Through her example of good heartedness, she taught her children, and now they continue to pass on her legacy of kindness.

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