Tonight I took my friend's daughter to see a movie in our small town "theater" (just a big screen in the museum). It was the first time I had been there since moving and the kid friendly atmosphere took me by surprise. There were fold out chairs set up, and kids brought their blankets for "picnics" with snacks. Everyone seemed to know everyone else, their kids growing up together since birth.
As a toddler about my son's age darted past laughing with glee, it hit me. This would have been an amazing place for his first movie. He would have loved running around with the other toddlers. I can see him making friends, hiding under blanket forts, and only watching parts of the movie. My breath caught in my throat when that familiar pit of darkness and grief started to creep up. I managed to push it down and focus on the movie, but it crept up over and over again.
Once I dropped my friend's daughter off, I pulled the car over and sobbed. The grief wouldn't let me go one mile further without acknowledgement. It burned my eyes with tears and choked me with sobs. Finally, I cried myself out and went home. Exhausted from grieving, I immediately went to bed.
This is what the life of a first mother is like. You finally get the energy to leave the house and go do something fun and then BAM, reality hits you in the face. Adoption isn't a one time loss, it's the loss of everything that could have been. It leaves you wondering what your life and your child's life would be like now had you parented. You grieve your motherhood, wondering who you would have been as that child's mother.
What would I be like now? Would I fit in with the other moms there? Would I have sat with them instead of sitting off to the side like an outsider? Would we talk about teething and toddler antics? Would I feel "normal"? What would it be like to actually feel like a mom instead of just a birth mother?
Maybe one day I'll find out.