20 September 2010

A First Kiss

Over on my personal Live Journal, I'm doing a 30-Day Meme to get me back into the habit of writing daily. It's been working well for the most part, but today's question, "Your First Kiss, In Great Detail" stumped me.

It took me a while, and in the end I drew inspiration not from a torrid and wonderful, love laced past or doe eyed adolescence, but from an amazing few days in which I've been thanked for a perspective on adoption by a local adoptive mom...and cried on during a chance and wonderful encounter with a birth mom. She is a woman I've known for a while, a woman I never knew had a son she gave up, and who is back in her life, as her son in adulthood. Our stories are different, but needless to say, both encounters gave me serious pause to reflect, once again, on this topic.

So, I'm sharing a version of my meme response here today. It's pertinent to the topic, from my perspective as an adoptee.

Read on...

Your First Kiss. In great detail?!

I think that the immediate conclusion one feels they should make from the question posed is that they must dredge the recesses of their memories to find the file marked, "My First Time Kissing a Boy/Girl Based on Sexual Preferences Exhibited in Early Childhood".

I disagree. A kiss is a kiss, unless it has a meaning behind it. Truthfully, I have memories swimming in the miasma of time of kissing a boy in pre-school when I was about 3. He ran up to me and stole a kiss on the playground. We were toddlers. It was also the day that he came to pre-school wearing his sister's barrettes in his hair. I'm not even sure that such an encounter could possibly count as a first kiss. After all, how seriously can you take a boy with barrettes in his hair?

Trudging ahead, there is a memory, but I'm not even sure that it's truly real, of kissing my neighbor when I was probably around 12. He must have been 13 or so. It was a "real" kiss. But even then, my memory tells me that I thought it was rather meaningless. It was an experiment. We had passed the Making Out With Our Pillow stage of adolescence and wanted to try the real thing. We'd known each other since childhood, but we weren't close and didn't play together as young children. Yet, it was a safe kiss. There were no sparks. I don't really remember ever kissing him again.

I could even say that my "first" kiss was one I'd already written about in another entry in my Live Journal. It was a first kiss from M. It had meaning. There weren't just sparks, there were lightening storms. But it wasn't my first kiss ever. Just the first one that I remember meaning much of anything at all. And in some way I can't help but wonder if every first kiss, in every past relationship doesn't somehow count as "your first kiss".

Maybe I'm just stalling because I never really liked kissing before I met M. Maybe my body knew what my brain did not fully realize (that I didn't care for kissing) until I met M and my life changed forever, and so before that point, my body chose to give me a mildly repulsed reaction to the act of kissing?

Ultimately though, I know when my first real kiss was. This is it, in great detail. Brace yourselves...

It is a day in April 1975. I have spent almost a month between a hospital and then, a foster home. I am brand new to this world and I don't think I've found a home or a bond that will last. I don't know what my foster mother or father look like. I don't know if I've kept them up each night, as newborns do. I don't know what room I am in, what my crib or bassinet is like, or even where I really am.

I know that I am fed formula. A lot. And on this day in April 1975, I am bundled into a blanket, and then into a car. 

I am taken somewhere else. There is a hand over to someone else. And then another one, again.

A woman takes me, with something like tears in her eyes. She looks into my blanket and I look back. She looks happy, shocked. And then she kisses me softly on my forhead and says, "Hello, little girl. I'm your mother."
 She is not the woman I was born to almost a month ago. She is not the woman that has been feeding me and changing my diapers for the last month. She is, in fact, my very own, real mommy. For the first time in my short life, I am kissed by own mommy. It is the most enduring first kiss that any child will ever have and it lasts forever.

I don't know that it actually happened that way, but I like to think that it did.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...


As an adoptive mom, my experience wasn't exactly like that. I felt that my kids didn't see me as anything special, just another intruder into their lives. I probably kissed them lots of times, and maybe they thought that was kinda cool, but I don't think they felt "love" from that particular act. I think it was weeks if not months before either of my daughters saw me as someone who was to have a deep and ever-lasting, loving bond with them. But, it did come, and like all good things, it was worth the wait.

I had a lot of ideas about how it would be like to become an adoptive mom. Most of them were a bit over-enthusiastic. For example, my kids could say "ma-ma" for a long time before they actually called me "Mama." Most of what I felt in the beginning was exhaustion, disappointment in my inability to understand or communicate with my kids, and endless hope that things would get better soon.

I hope the above doesn't sound too negative. Adoption is a beautiful thing, and I'm so, so glad that I did it, and my kids are happy and loving. It's just that the beginning is not what many people imagine it to be. At least, it wasn't for me. (Then again, my kids were closer to a year old, so that makes a difference.)

Thanks for sharing these thoughts with us! - SKL

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