Sunday, April 30, 2006

Simple pleasures

Tonight my husband played his first baseball game as an adult. I got to attend my first baseball game as a baseball wife. It was a beautiful spring afternoon-turning into evening; honeysuckle, slight chill to the air, the sound thwack of the baseball hitting leather gloves. Across the treeline, someone had a brush pile burning which filled the air with the fragrant scent of wood smoke. The Tennessee Rambler, an old-fashioned steam engine gave us an intermittant gorgeous eerie soundtrack in the distance. Above, an occasional small piper twin engine crossed the sky, it's engine reverberrating in the low pressure system, evoking the feeling of a summer afternoon. We were treated to the music of an ice-cream truck, as it passed through an adjacent neighborhood, not once, but three times. The whole scene was an endless stretch of green sparkling trees and grass. I tell ya, it doesn't get any better than this.
(Plus, my husband made some amazing plays and is having the time of his life.)


I have an atrocious memory. Seriously. Like a goldfish. Facts and details just do not want to adhere to my gray matter. I'm a smart girl who has been deprived of credibility because I can't summon up enough of my accumulated knowledge to hold up my end of a discussion. I have a degree in anthropology, but avoid saying so, because I can't discuss the most basic premises of the field. I wanted to become a landscape architect at one time, but gave up on the idea because of the overwhelming amount of memorization and categorization involved.
What has stuck with me though, and shaped the course of my career, are children's books. I don't know why, but I can remember authors, illustrators, storylines, and characters. I can go to a booksale and quickly sort through hundreds of books, pulling out the 10 that have merit in the world of book collectors. And that's what I do. And I love my job. I love helping people reconnect with their favorite books from childhood and I'm pretty good at it.
Unfortunately, the subject of childrens books is not one that comes up often outside of work. It's not like I walk into my favorite pub and have friends and acquaintences call out "Hey, it's about time you got here, I have a question about Peter Sis that I was hoping you could answer for me!"
Maybe I just lack the passion it takes to recall exactly how the U.S. court systems are structured, what Argentina's primary industry might be, or who the lead singer for a popular band in the seventies was.
On the bright side, I'm happy conversing with anyone who seems to have a wealth of facts at their disposal, and enjoy "re-learning" things I've known at one time or another. Maybe my purpose is to help other people feel a greater appreciation for the things they know.


Funny that I begin my first post with this subject because although I am adopted, it isn't something I think about very often. But there are some aspects of my personality that I feel might be attributable to having been adopted in the sixties. In those days and before, the mother was given three months to change her mind and during that waiting period, the baby would be placed with a foster family. The laws have changed since and as I understand it, now the baby goes home with their new family after only three days (my adoptive sister was subjected to this process).
So my question is about impermanence. I tend to filter most experiences in my life through a perspective of impermanence. I was taken from my birthmother immediately, probably kept in a nursery until the foster family took over, and then placed with my adoptive family after three months. Then only two months later, my new family moved us to a neighboring city. So my first sixth months of life, the period that experts argue are the most important for establishing bonds and a general sense of security, were fraught with flux.
For years I was plagued by dreams in which I would travel to a home or a city in which I felt happy and at peace, only to be forced to leave after six months. Something subconscious in me seems to be hardwired to view intimacy and happiness in six month intervals. I've broken off several relationships and friendships almost on the nose without realizing the significance of the time frame.
I don't have the six month dreams anymore, and I'm now happily married to someone with whom I've been with for two years. But I still tend to shy away from getting close to people for the most part, and find myself sabotaging good potential friendships. While I love my parents dearly, I rarely call or visit them. I think this is because I know they'll be gone soon, and I don't want it to hurt as much as I know it could. Twisted logic to be sure.
My question is for other adoptees who were adopted when the three month rule was in place. Do you find yourself having problems forming close bonds with other people? Do you sabotage your opportunities for happiness and success? Any other patterns you notice in your own life in which you feel adoption might have played a role?