When I read curious mom's proposal to meet, I didn't know what to think. As much as I wanted to attain my dream of a mother, I was terrified to move beyond just writing. I saw this correspondence time as our courtship and wanted more time to get my bearings.
Perhaps after a few more letters, I reasoned, we might talk on the phone for a time, at least a few conversations so that we could hear one another's voices, create a familiar rhythm in our dialogue, lay the groundwork for our first face-face-meeting. And then we could meet. But the unfolding of our relationship seemed no longer under my control. If I said no to this dinner, why would she ever want to continue?
I studied her face on her website. She looked kind and open like her words but how was I to know? Who was this woman who was drawn to my ad and opened herself up to me? She said she was intrigued by the possibility of a real mother-daughter connection? What is a real mother-daughter connection? Would it be as I imagined? Is it even possible for me to have such a wondrous thing when I do not know how it feels to be a daughter in a mother's presence? I began to wonder if we even needed to meet to make it real relationship? How many relationships are carried on exclusively on-line and would the people who engage in such connections tell me they are real and meaningful? I knew what I was doing--trying to find a way to play it safe as I always do. Hiding behind words is easier for me. The energetic exchange that happens when you are in someone's presence is powerful. This is what allows you to feel their essence. I wanted to keep dreaming that a mother in the world for me was possible. I believed that this woman could destroy me by showing me once and for all that I was not just unwanted by the women in my own family but by all women.
This was the heart of my problem---overwhelming fear. As much as I realized it, I didn't know how to conquer it. How can you be so close to something that you want and not have the ability to reach out and take hold of it? This scenario is so familiar to me that I was not surprised to find myself become the lonely waif who watches and waits and sucks her thumb and loses the ability to signal over here. I am without the skills of a daughter and these skills are vital. So much is informed by this relationship. How a woman relates to a woman. How a woman perceives herself as a woman. How a woman creates herself as a mother. How a woman reacts when someone is teaching or evaluating her. How much I was able to learn and attempt and understand throughout my life was shaped by my fear that whoever was in charge of me would chose to ruin me rather than guide or nurture me. Because of this, I did not take the risks I needed. I avoided one-on-one mentorships as much as possible. I could not allow myself to be so exposed knowing that I could be torn down to my core.
So I had a dilemma. I was not afraid to dream big but was obviously too scared to see what would happen if I let myself be seen. Wouldn't someone just let me off the hook, tell me that I had dipped my foot in the ocean of mother and that was enough for now and I could just dry my foot and go home and crawl under the covers and forget that I had even sought out such a crazy notion--a mother for me--who was I kidding? I tried to envision curious and I sitting down to dinner in some restaurant. I wondered if she would see right through me and know that I am not brave. Would she see my nightmares and my grief and my failures written across my face and try to find a way to eat quickly and politely thank me for a fun experiment? Would she see what I may be capable of someday with just a little support or would she see a helpless newborn girl left to sit in her own shit?
I shared the news of the invitation with my friend, Lori. Perhaps she would give me the counsel I needed to grab hold of this mother floating above my palm. I heard the excitement in her voice as I told her about the three potential mothers that had written me over the past week. Instantly she liked curious and flora.
"Clearly curious is very intriguing because she has a longing also. Not just a desire to help you." I agree with her.
"The idea that we are both in need of something is what makes it feel like it is meant to be. It is not just someone feeling sorry for me but someone saying I have a yearning as well. Maybe we will fit."
"Are you nervous?"
Was I ready to divulge the thoughts that had been racing through my mind? Not completely. Instead I aimed for truth shared through amusement. "Hell yes. But in a falling in love sort of way. So much unknown and scary but also thrilling." And then the essential fact that I did believe. "I feel like I am going to grow and change no matter what comes of it."
"From the tone of your voice, it doesn't sound like you think anything will come of it. You know twenty percent of couples who get married meet strangers through ads. It's how people get together now. If you'd been on Martha's Vineyard and got to chatting with curious as you strolled that beach of yours, you'd probably already have been out to dinner. Right? So if you don't hit it off, then you don't. But she sounds very cool. I like her style. Just try not to have too many expectations. She's not the only mother in the sea."
When we hung up the phone, I felt empowered, not unexpectedly. Lori always seems to have that effect on me. As far as friends who have a wise mother hidden inside them, she's a heavy hitter. But still I sat in front of the computer, waiting. I discussed the whole thing once more with Aaron.
"Is this right? Should we meet or should I just propose a phone call?"
"Keep to the quest. You're up for this. I believe in you. And you'll know if you're a good fit. You don't have to settle just to have a connection."
"But what if she hates me and then I am embarassed and I can't keep doing this and the whole thing is over before it's even started. I don't think I could keep going."
"You said you knew what you were doing when you placed this ad. You said you were ready to really explore this desire."
"I know. But..."
"Once you have grown balls, they're yours."
It would be wonderful to meet this week coming or next. Where do you live? I am in Pound Ridge, NY, a few miles from New Canaan, CT.