Archive for October 25th, 2011

October 25, 2011

The Girl and the Mailbox: A Standoff

Sometimes, it’s the most simple physical actions that are the most difficult to do. I found this to be particularly true this morning, just moments ago.

While I run regularly, practice yoga often, have biked up some pretty steep hills, and can still throw my little Bean up in the air (and catch her)…this morning, I found the simple act of opening a mailbox almost impossible. Not any mailbox either, but the post office’s mailbox…in which you cannot retrieve what you put in. Once it’s in…it’s in.

This blue metal container was like a vault made of steel, with the possibility of Indiana Jones-like booby traps attached to it at every approach. Staring at it, I couldn’t even imagine pulling the receptacle open…just as days before I couldn’t imagine picking up a pen. The reality of possible disappointment, and heart-wrenching pain, was just too real.

Taking a step back.

Yesterday afternoon, I found myself here…

    

…searching for just the right card, mainly to serve as small place to write a note, and a spot to contain a picture. Turns out…there’s not really a card for this type of thing. Even if there was, I don’t know that they’d sell very well.

I ended up with this…

… included a picture of the Bean and I, and wrote a short note. I hoped it was straight-forward enough to explain who I was, but cryptic enough to not cause any craziness in her life if someone else got a hold of it.

I was planning on mailing it this afternoon, because I’d forgotten a stamp…but…just as everything else in this crazy story, what I needed showed up earlier than expected. While looking for a pen in my car, I found an old book of stamps.

This morning, I stood outside, in the darkened walkway of my local drug store, staring at the mailbox. After a few moments, I realized…I was still staring at that mailbox. Still. Staring.

I’ve not known a lot, over the past 7 years of searching. I’ve not known who my birth mother is. I’ve not known where she lives. I’ve not known her address, or even if she was alive. I’ve also not known how she would react to knowing that I was searching for her, or that I wanted to know who she is…but, in all the other not knowing, the last two unknowns really didn’t matter.

Standing at that mailbox this morning, I realized that now, they did matter. I realized that it also now mattered that I don’t know if she ever told anyone about me. The possibility is there that she did not. Slipping that card in the mailbox could force her to have to tell her story. The very real possibility of seriously affecting her life, by the simple act of opening a mailbox, is huge. The same possibility of her completely rejecting me because of that affect on her life, is also huge.

Can’t I go back to not knowing…just for a little bit?

Can’t I go back to living in complete ignorance…choosing to believe that she’ll be nothing but happy to see my face, learn about my life, and allow me the same things.

Can’t I know that absolutely no part of this will be painful for me, her, or either of our families?

It’s the “what-if’s” in life that tend to lay me out.

Can’t I know what will happen?

The truth is, she’s probably already made her decision. I’m sure she’s thought about what she would do, if I ever contacted her. Realistically, she’s probably already accepted, or rejected, me…at least in theory.

With that in mind, there, in that dark walkway of Boyd’s drug mart, I made a choice.

Just as I had chosen to pick up the pen, that had days ago seemed so treacherous, this morning, I chose to open the mailbox, put the card in, and shut it.

I smiled, as I heard the faint, muted thud of the card hitting the bottom.

I chose to give myself the opportunity to know. I may not like what I learn, or I may love it. It may cause laughter, or tears…possibly both.

The mailbox wasn’t so scary after all.

Now, I know…it’s the waiting that is truly terrifying.

Come what may.