Sprinkles

Why Didn’t Her Real Mom Want Her?

January 25, 2017

OhHappyDay.com This Old Mom’s first birthday Party-Where-Things-Got-Awkward featured a handmade trough, maybe 20 feet long and 6 inches wide, narrow and silver- the size and shape of a rain gutter one might install on a house. But this gutter was filled with scoops and scoops of every imaginable flavor of responsibly colored, cruelty-free ice cream, artfully dotted with ethically sourced sprinkles and dollops of fresh, organic, raw milk whipped cream. As 25 toddlers scream and boy-band-rush the trough, they grab tiny pink spoons and turn into a furiously focused Altima assembly line, whose sole task is to inhale as much ice cream as possible. As Baby G power-eats, spilling nary a drop, a feeding trough instead of a high chair begins making all sorts of sense to me. A lovely girl wafts over. Slender, pale, with glossy wisps of golden wheat-colored hair teasing her beautiful young face, she appears eight but exudes the world weariness of a fourteen year old. Lovely girl is the sort of child who’s too old-souled to be a child actor. Like Charlotte Gainsbourg might have been at eight, but this one rocks a Serena & Lily late-spring-early summer linen tunic. Either her dad is an actor-producer or her mom’s a supermodel-thought leader or both. Lovely girl and I watch my kid eat and look around suspiciously, as if packing as much ice cream inside herself before someone can yell, “Hey, stop eating ice cream outta my gutter!” Lovely girl studies me with huge expensive blue eyes and an expression not unlike that of an agent about to drop you from her talent roster. Lovely Girl: Why did you have to adopt her? Even while wobbling, I love and respect how abrupt kids are. They suffer no tedious propriety. No chit-chatty wind-up. No, “Hello, I’m Poppy. Who are you and what’s up with this child you are pretending to parent?” Still, somehow, explaining my withered uterus, perimenopause, or unplanned pregnancies doesn’t feel like appropriate ice cream party chatter to have with a sub-tween. Smiling too hard like a grown-up does at problem children that aren’t her own, I hate the defensive tone in my voice, yet can’t help but sound defensive. Me: Well... I couldn’t have a baby... and we wanted to be parents, so we adopted her. Lovely girl doesn’t nod or smile back. She just forges on, like Megyn Kelly digging beneath the talking points. LG: Why didn’t her real mother want her? Blanching, I protectively eye my kid, who is unaware she is being discussed, as she is far inside Sugarland Express, and unavailable for questions at the present time. My mind coughs. What’s my pat, polite party line about the searing pain of giving a child up for adoption, especially in front of my kid? I think harder than anyone should have to on a Saturday morning. Realizing how California I’ve become, I am sooooo the Slightly-Stammering-Center-for-Non-Violent-Parenting. Me: Well, I am her mother, but her birth mother loved her so very much but, and, but... uh, sadly, wasn’t able to take care of her so she made the awfully difficult decision to give her to someone who was desperate to...

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