Still chewing his pancake (“Close your mouth when you chew, sweetie” is the refrain of my life right now), Levi asked, “Hey Mama, whose belly was I in again?” This is a conversation we’ve had often, and he knows the answer. I think he just likes to be reassured that it hasn’t changed. So I answered him again. And this time he had follow-up question.
“Can I see a picture of her?”
I met Paul’s eyes across the breakfast table, and I knew he was feeling the same way I was. A little bit like I’d taken a gut punch. Because the answer is no. I can’t show Levi a picture of his birthmom.
I think I can understand why she made that choice, not to give us a picture. I don’t know what that experience was like for her, carrying a child in her body for so long, and knowing she would not raise him. Meeting the people who would, and hoping against hope that they really are okay. Not crazy, not mean. Not too strict, maybe. (Oops?) But not being able to bear glimpses of that future life, even if they were on offer. Because how painful would THAT be? I don’t know, but I think I can imagine a little bit. And it might feel a little weird to have a picture out there without being able to “see” him back. So this is not a complaint about Levi’s birthmom, and I don’t want anybody to think so, especially Levi, should he ever read this.
It’s just me saying ouch. It hurt a little to tell him no. He was disappointed. And there will be more little disappointments in the future, as he has more questions and not so many more answers. And that’s hard to understand, even for grownups. I’m afraid that those little disappointments will roll up into one big ache that I can’t fix, no matter what I do.
But I told him what I can. She is shorter than me, like this (hand held about at my eyes). She has hair about the same color as Miss Beth’s hair* but curlier. She loves you very, very much, and she always will. Just like me.
I hope it is enough.
*Hey, Beth? You might get some questions about that. Just so you know.