As part of the series I’m writing on my adoption and birth family story this entry grew in my heart from the experience of growing up in an unfamiliar family. The previous post was the beginning of my story but I’ve decided this may be a better start to the journey.
As I look down the bleachers, they sit there, hot and dusty. The sweat beginning to appear at their temples as they watch the scrimmage with intensity. There is no official attire, only mismatched shirts with the pants to random uniforms. Each parent cheering on the team, hoping their child does better than the last. It’s almost as fun to watch the parents as it is the players.
Beyond the metal seats, past the parents and coaches, I see him. Through the fence and in to the dugout, there he sits. The mask on the ground beside him, rocking as he dropped it to his feet. The dirty black chest protector hangs on his chest, with the straps falling over his shoulder revealing how big they really are on his little body. The knee pads are half strapped on, revealing the struggle of keeping them on when he is behind the plate. His dark wiry hair disheveled and wet from the sweat, he brushes it aside as his looks out onto the field.
At the moment I saw him, my glance only for an instant, I fell back in time. It was all too familiar, this player sitting there in the equipment that swallowed him like his passion for the game. Remembering back I saw his father sitting there, just as determined and zealous for any chance to play in the game. His knees bent slightly and his backside on top of the seat back he would jump at every exciting moment of the scrimmage.
With the cheer of the crowd I was brought back to today. I wondered, was there anyone I favored? Would anyone look at me and say I looked just like my mother? For as long as I can remember I longed to look like someone. I would walk through the hall of my friends’ homes and see their family portraits. They would all look alike, having eyes that favored or chins the same. Never leaving a doubt they belonged together.
I have a vivid memory as I watched my adopted father check out of the grocery store many years ago. The checker being overly nice, asked my father if I belonged to him. He smiled and confirmed I was his daughter. She looked me in the eye and said, “You look just like your daddy!”. If only for the moment I felt as if I belonged. I remember the feeling as if she could see within my soul. She said the words I had longed to hear.
The satisfaction I felt and believed to be true was short lived as my adopted mother laughed when my father told her the story after we returned home. She reminded me of just how dark my skin was and how I looked nothing like him. She described the very white world we lived in and how I was not like the others. I’m not sure she really knew how this cut me to the core, or maybe I would like to believe she didn’t know. But it is a memory I’ll never forget. It was in that moment I decided I would never look for where I began.