Tuesday, January 18, 2011
THE STORY OF O: AN OPEN LETTER TO JENNY
You have the right to choose whom you want to love.
You even have the right to choose not to love them anymore, to erase them from your heart, from your memories, from your life.
But just because our political system is inept, just because in this particular state at this particular time, just because you currently CAN, does not mean that you SHOULD be able to abduct the child you birthed and move all the way across the country with her just to spite the child's other mother.
I can't say that there wasn't a part of me that didn't empathize with you -- for just a half a second -- when my own relationship fell apart and the thought of not being with my children for a minute, or a day, or a weekend, just about drove me insane.
But the fact is, Jenny, the actual, tangible, take-it-to-the-bank fact is that she does belong to BOTH you and L. And it doesn't matter, not for one second, that you don't like it. It just is.
She is her mother, too. And no amount of courtroom vitriol will ever be able to refute that fact. And your daughter has not seen her other mother in over 342 days. Three-hundred-and-forty-two days, Jenny. Can you imagine? Can you even for one teensy second try to imagine from a mother's perspective how that must feel? No phone calls. No Skype. No photographs or video. No communication whatsoever. She's missed every holiday, her last birthday, and this past Christmas. It's just not possible that you can't imagine the roles being reversed. That this just as easily could have been you.
And it just. needs. to. end. now.
To deny your child the unconditional love and support and comfort that she was getting from not just her other mother, but her other mother's entire family. Her own grandparents, Jenny. A thriving, loving, generous network of aunts and uncles and cousins and friends that you've pulled O away from. To prove a point. To ease your guilt. To pretend that for those 7 years you weren't gay. And the thing is, the real honest-to-God truth is that you probably aren't. But that's irrelevant. Completely and utterly irrelevant to the issue at hand. Your daughter has TWO mothers. Period. It doesn't matter how you got there. The fact is that you're there. And now, where do you go from here?
What path do you choose -- not for you -- but for her? What lesson do you teach her about doing what's right, and standing by your commitments, and upholding your promises, and about what it really means to love?
Yes, O came out of your womb, Jenny. But she is a vital part of a community of people that love and adore and miss her. And no matter what your personal feelings are about L, about homosexuality, about the donor, YOU CAN NOT DEPRIVE HER OF HER RIGHT TO LOVE BOTH OF HER MOTHERS.
Jenny, I know you're afraid. I do. I know you're terrified that you're going to lose her. That if you allow her to be with L and with the other side of her family, that she's somehow going to love them more, want to be with them more, and choose them over you.
But you have to believe me when I tell you that it's truly every mother's fear. It is.
And you couldn't be more wrong. O will love you more for giving her more to love. She will respect you more for your difficult choices. She will trust you more for telling her the truth. And she will thank you most for letting go.
No one is trying to take O away from you, Jenny. No one. That's not what this is about. This is about giving O the family she was promised before she was ever even born. This is about giving O every opportunity in the world to be happy and strong and centered.
This. is. not. about. you.
And whether or not this case drags out for another 14 years, L will still be trying, and waiting, and pushing, and searching. And if the system in all its wisdom never does right itself, when O turns 18, she WILL know. And then what? And then where will you be? How will she ever be able to trust you again? How will she ever be able to forgive you for what you've deprived her of?
But we all make mistakes. Every day, we make mistakes. Some bigger than others, yes, but hardly ever any that are so irreparable. And you can fix this, Jenny. You can still fix this, and do right by your daughter. You can start living your life again, and release everyone that you've held hostage for over a year. And maybe in that process you'll learn to release yourself, too. All the secrets you were trying to hide are out now. There's no reason to lie anymore. It's time to move past this, to move forward, to start living.
The one and only question you really need to be asking yourself now, Jenny, is not what kind of mother you have been, but exactly what kind of mother are you going to be?