I found myself in the middle of a glacier fed lake, fish jumping around me, the sun setting over the beautiful mountains that posed as my background. I paddled my way to the furthest end of the lake, where the ripples cascaded from the slight breeze. My hair was still wet from my adventurous, and successful attempt to swim across the lake earlier that evening. My legs ached with a burn that you only feel when you’ve pushed your muscles further, and my chest was full of pride for doing something I thought I would never be able to do. I guided the kayak with confident, graceful strokes, and it glided through the glass like water, and slowed as I placed the paddle on my lap.
I was alone. Completely alone. I could hear the voices of campers treking around the lake, I could see people casting their lines, but I was alone. I could be seen from some angles, but with the sun silently setting, I was almost invisible.
Alone. Wonderfully, alone.
I took a deep breath and took in the beauty surrounding me. My eyes scanned the mountains within view. The trees stretched to compete with the mountains, covering the hills that acted as a pillow before they erupted into the enormous majestic forms of rock and snow. Rays of the setting sun glimmered off the lake, and bounced off my hair, making it seem redder than it really is. I shivered inwardly, not really cold, but feeling smaller in that very moment. It didn’t matter how I got there, I didn’t matter where I was last year, in that moment, I was right there, breathing. I was there, present, whole, and completely aware of every movement, every sound.
With my eyes closed, I placed my hands, palm down on the icy water allowing them to float, and feel the current pass gently underneath them. I let the moment soak in through my finger tips until I could feel my heart beating slower and slower. I heard the gently swishing of the trees moving in the wind, and for a moment, I felt as thought I was floating, free from worry and care.
Slowly, I opened my eyes, and readjusted them to the soft evening light. I took my thoughts, one by one, and I met them, deciding if they were necessary, or if I could throw them into the depths of the lake, to be forgotten. I thought of the chaos I had faced and somewhat conquered these past months. I thought of the friends who have whispered encouragement and love in my ears. I thought of the day I made the decision to finally get better, to take care of me, and to get the help I needed. Two months, almost, since I made that choice, and how far I have come.
The kayak had drifted closer to the shore, and I steadied it, forcing it to turn back to face the peak of a mountain peering out from behind a foothill. Words that I had read earlier this weeks regarding The Kiddo echoed in my mind. I sighed, and began to paddle hoping it might sway my thoughts, and minor frustrations. I pushed the water as hard as I could trying to speed the kayak up, hoping that these were thoughts I could leave behind. But they followed me, unrelenting. I slowed myself, and allowed the kayak to face the other side of the lake, bringing a majestic mountain into my view.
Tears fell quietly from behind my sunglasses. These were thoughts I never thought I would contend with, but there is always more in this adoption world. More compromising, more sacrifices, more time needed. Waiting.
The landscape of my adoption was supposed to stay the same. It was supposed to be smooth, and it was supposed to be unchanging. That’s what I had been told. I was to silently hide in the wings, and resume the role of the silent heroic birthmother. I should have told them I’m no hero, and that I would never be able to fully sustain that role. Then it all changed, and reality slipped into my view. Suddenly, adoption was not an easy landscape of paved paths, and easy views. It was work, it was falling down, it was trusting those with you. It was lonely, and isolating. It was surprising, and challenging, but it has never been easy, or stagnant. Sometimes, amazingly, it was love, and happiness but for the reasons they said it would be. It has always been rolling, and moving, evolving, and growing. Even in those moments, when I feel like it’s not moving forward, it is. Time has away of inching forward, even when we think it’s standing still.
One last time, I closed my eyes, this time, my hands tightly wrapped around the paddles. I breathed in the fresh mountain air that now had hints of fire’s roasting from campsites. What I would give to be sitting with him, sharing this time with him, seeing him take in the beauty of nature. My heart ached with the emptiness that only a mother like me would understand. To the rest of the world, I was just a girl on a blue kayak in the middle of a beautiful lake. In that moment, I was a girl who had overcome great odds, found peace, and yet, realized that some parts of her would never be at peace.
I wiped my eyes, and whispered, a tiny smile etching itself on my face, “I love you Kiddo. One day, I’ll share this sort of moment with you. One day.”
Edging forward in my seat, I braced myself, then furiously dipped my paddle in the water, determined to race to the end of the lake before the sun completely set on the lake. The motions propelled me forward, and I realized that I could sit and wait for that day when I can share a laugh with The Kiddo, or I can ready myself in the best way possible. I can move and evolve like our adoption has been without me realizing. And one day, hopefully, we’ll shift to the same place, at the same time, and we can share time together.
Hope. The only thing that hasn’t changed over the years when it comes to my adoption. It’s keeping me breathing, I swear.