My cry for help answered, a wave of excitement rushed through my body. Could I finally lessen the mother void, find the edges so that the overwhelming loss no longer felt never-ending? I reread the letter so many times that I memorized it. Without meaning to, I became captive to this idea of a mother waiting for me and so powerless in its grip that I wanted to flee as much as I desired to surrender. These have always been my instincts--to seek and then hide.
Her words were a lullaby, mesmerizing me with promise and abundance, and the notion that I could manifest all that I needed. Curious didn't usually read ads but happened to that month and even after putting the classifieds aside, I returned to her mind. Was it possible then that I already held some presence in her life? She wished to have a daughter. As she was reminded of her mother, her thoughts returned to me. Her words knit me to her and though I allowed the threads to hold me, my mind guarded against the very thing that I have always wanted.
I printed up my treasure and recited it to Aaron like a campaign speech, my voice full and happy, resonant with an idealized version of how this miracle could unfold. I watched him as I spoke each word, his face attentive, steady, reassuring.
"Wow," he said. "I can't believe it. You may be onto something here. I didn't expect this. Now what?"
"Now I respond."
Back to the computer, my hands could not keep up with my unrelenting thoughts. What was this new thing? Would it progress? How much to communicate now, how much to hold back? I couldn't weigh these considerations rationally as my fingers were too eager to reach her while she knit a pattern for us to follow. Could this be exactly what I have been looking for all of my life--some peace from this central loss?
Never truly having a mother has been my greatest longing in life. My mother was ill for the duration of our time together and my care fell into the hands of my grandmother, who was naturally very consumed with tending to her dying daughter. After my mother's death, my grandmother was not able to be a mother to me for many reasons
As a child, I was always seeking someone in need of a daughter. I was vigilant but silent in this search. I knew that there must be a woman out there would would desire me in her life. As I grew older, this need became more of a mother yearning than an active quest. I occupied myself with my education and fell in love with a wonderful man, who has been my partner for the past 20 years. His adoration soothed that ache in me, but it was always there ready to remind me of what I was missing.
A few years ago, I watched a mother, daughter and granddaughter stroll Lambert's Cove beach in Martha's Vineyard each day just before sunset. As entertaining as my husband was romping in and out of the water with my dogs, I could not be torn from them. First I watched from a distance and then I began to walk behind them, closer and closer, eavesdropping, studying each gesture of their hands--how one would stroke back the other's hair as if it were her own. Longing and longing.
One evening, the granddaughter followed me down the beach as she was as completely entranced by my dogs as I was by her entourage. I'd noticed her grandmother had an accent and asked whether or not she was from Ireland. She told me that she was. Then she added that she was her grandmother and mother to her mother but hadn't always been. Of course this intrigued me. She told me how her mother's mother had passed on and that she'd met this woman, who had never had a daughter, and they decided that they would be mother and daughter. And now they were a family.
This dominated my thoughts constantly. It was what I had dreamt of since I was a little girl. Hearing this, I imagined that fate would somehow put me in the right place to meet such a person. And so I put it out to the universe that I was still waiting.
A few months ago, my husband surprised me with a quick getaway for our 15th wedding anniversary. Though the resort was romantic, it was more of a family place. At every turn, I encountered mothers and their daughters and granddaughters and that longing stirred again. Would I ever have anyone that would call me daughter? Someone who would look at me with such joy and tenderness even if I was foolish or wrong or having a hard day? Someone who would feel a pride in just seeing me walk into a room?
It came to me that I could no longer just leave it up to chance. I told my husband that I would advertise for a mother. He thought I was crazy. He said that no one could place such an ad. That people would think me strange or unstable and in turn, I would attract the same. People advertise for many things--soul mates, nannies for their children, jobs--I didn't know if I could try to create such a bond through this type of introduction rather than something more organic, but I was willing to risk it. It felt right to me.
It sounds like your reading those classifieds was not the norm. Maybe this is a little act of fate working for me. I was delighted to see your response. Your letter was lovely. I started to knit a few years ago and then dropped it. I learn better by example than from books and as much as my husband tried to help out, reading the books himself and then trying to show me, it wasn't exactly what I was looking for.
I have a lot of yarns and needles...it would be wonderful to know if we would hit it off.
I allowed myself to believe and hit send.
When I returned downstairs, I shared the letter with Aaron, all the while studying his face for some sign that I had made a mistake.
"I like it," he said.
"Will she find it weird?"
"If she does, she's not for you. You're looking for a mother for you. The one that will be crazy about you just the way you are. Even if that's a little bit crazy."