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  1. #1
    Dawn Dickson

    Get out your poison pens - a sample

    Tiny hands slowly reached up to touch my hair. I kissed, then gently caressed Kyra's cheek, marveling that this small Chinese baby, who until a few days ago had been in an orphanage and never had enough to eat, could still have such round cheeks. It was early morning on November 1, 2001 in Guangxi province, China. Kyra had just finished her bottle, and it marked the first time in the three days we had known each other that she allowed me to hold her after I fed her.

    Unaccustomed to attention, she hesitated, appraising me with eyes too serious for a one year old. This might,in another time and place, have provoked laughter at what I would have deemed her "old soul." Perhaps it would have sparked debate on a personality that might be at odds with my dry sense of humor.

    Her search for some sign that she could trust me, however, unleashed a powerful torrent of emotions; tears coursed down my cheeks during our silent exchange.

    "Hi there," I finally choked. I was rewarded with a brief, uncertain smile.

    This first connection between Kyra and I made me think of my mother, who had lost her 4 year battle with bone cancer several months before our adoption was finalized.

    "Look!" My mother waved a magazine article when my husband and I entered her hospital room during one of her many stays. "It's an article about Chinese adoption. The nurses are getting sick of me talking about how I'm going to be a grandma to one of these beautiful babies." I took the magazine from her and scanned the article. "Is that how come they're all running down the hall away from your room?" I asked. "I thought the place was on fire."

    My siblings and I had always had this kind of relationship with our mother. We found the humor in everything. It was also how we coped growing up in a house filled with tension and anger between our parents. It came in handy during her illness when her impending loss overwhelmed me. When the end was near, my mother's friend Vicky told me that if there was anything I wanted to say to her, now was the time. I was torn. We were not demonstrative. I had some time alone with her before other family arrived. I sat beside her hospice bed where she lay, unresponsive. I wanted desperately to bridge our difficult relationship with some word magic that would make it all better in the nick of time. However, immersed in sorrow too deep for words that had never been spoken, I managed to croak out "I love you, ma." I accompanied this inadequate declaration with a brief, awkward stroking of her hair.

    After she was gone,I felt guilty because we did not always get along. I recalled arguments, putting emphasis on her looks of rapprochement, which to me signaled how ungrateful and uncaring I was. I began to talk to her. I vented my private grief in the form of words and emotions I had been unable to convey before she died, but which now flowed with surprising force. I described how I missed her and wished she could have met Kyra. Bereft over her loss, I listened and watched for signs that she heard me, and felt cheated when they didn't manifest themselves in the form of flickering lights and chairs that rocked when empty.

    These thoughts came unbidden as my newly adopted baby girl decided to place her trust in me, a stranger who did not even resemble her. Although she had just marked her first birthday one week earlier, she was able to understand that she was being given away and had spent the first two days of our lives together with her arms crossed over her eyes so she did not have to bear the pain of seeing so much that was unfamiliar. The realization that she was trying to get past her own grief and shock and allow herself to be loved and cared for made me understand, when she bestowed on me the first flicker of a tentative smile, the resilience of her spirit, and how brave this little girl was. At that moment, we began a journey that has healed us both. Along the way, I learned to cherish the intense, fiery bursts of happiness and bliss that adopting this child, our only child, has given me.

    My love for Kyra released me, finally, from the guilt and pain of losing my mother. I gained perspective. I was neither uncaring nor unlovable. My mother knew I loved her. I did not have to wait until Kyra turned into the feisty seven-year-old gymnast and freelance fairy princess that she is today to realize a maternal bond lasts until the final breath is drawn. Our declarations of love ignite an uncomplicated joy and tenderness my mother and I rarely shared. I am glad I found the courage to change this.

    I finally felt my mother's spirit that day in China. She came through an opened portal and took her rightful place inside me,lying just beneath my heart. She resides there to this day, alongside the living force that is her granddaughter. On the third day of our lives together, my new daughter taught me that I have more capacity for love, forgiveness and compassion than I thought possible.

  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt

    Re: Get out your poison pens - a sample

    Who told you about my poison pen? This could compromise my operations in Cuba and North Korea.

  3. #3
    marta cajiao

    Re: Get out your poison pens - a sample

    Poison pen? A sharp tongue to match my keen mind and stilettos but my pen I dip in poison only when having to read the bad stuff but yours...Gee,I actually like most of it. It needs work but,I have read worse. I LIKE it dawn...makes my hard little heart--just pitter-patter...love the seintimental quality of it--I do so envy writers who carry their hearts on their sleeve and bleed all over the page...I almsot teared up...no really. Sweet and touching...I may get a cavity. Seriously though--keep writing you are off to a good start...guess,I will have to use my poison pen to deflat someone else's little I-want-to-be-a-writer dream balloon,thanks.

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