So, the visit with K and her mom.
First, for my own memory's sake: K brought her new dog, a tiny little thing. Puppy chased the dog all over the yard, squealing the whole time. I think the dog was a little freaked out by the crazed creature running after her. When K finally crated her, Puppy kept telling us that the dog had gone "night-night". He would look through the holes of the crate ask, "Out? Out?"
She told me about her plans for two last tattoos, one Puppy related. We talked about her friend drama. We started coordinating her trip up to see us in the fall.
Every time Puppy said, "Mama," I felt self-conscious. I can't remember, but I'm pretty sure he wasn't saying it yet when she visited us this spring. So it was the first time he had called me that in front of her, or at least the first time I was aware of it.
Puppy kept trying to engage K, especially after we went inside, bringing her toys and touching her leg. K's mom played with him and read him a book. K read him a book at the end, after I put Puppy in her lap for a picture.
As K's mom left, she turned around and said, "K doesn't have this with her biological family. It's hard." And then she walked away.
I don't want to go too much into what was so difficult for me about Friday evening, simply because I don't think it's fair to K. And, frankly, I realize how lucky I am to have these concerns, to be analyzing the quality of contact instead of yearning for any contact at all. I traipse around saying that open adoption relationships have their blessings and difficulties, just like all relationships do. This was an example of that. External, unrelated circumstances affected people's moods and left us less prepared to show grace to one another.
Even though we communicate with K a fair bit by phone and internet, being together in person pokes different adoption-related hurts. That can take a good deal of emotional energy even when everyone is at their best. But I believe spending time together is also an important part of dealing with those hurts, so it is worth it. I'm also wary of trying to analyze what is going on for K, beyond what she shares with me. I try to be aware of the possibilities, in order to be as sensitive as I can. But who am I to say what she may be feeling?
I had a house mate right after college who would say relationships are like potted plants. If you keep pulling a plant out of the pot to study its roots, you will eventually kill it. You need to tend to it, and feed it, but also just leave it alone to grow. Quit looking at the roots and let it thrive.
I think of that image often, but especially this week. Sometimes you have to stop analyzing the relationship and just continue living it. Sometimes you need to trust the roots are there. Keep the plant in the pot and give it room to grow. So for now I'm leaving this plant in its pot.