Today was the big day: meeting Ana Mercedes, Will's birthmother. She was to meet us here together with S, the searcher who is nothing short of a miracle worker when it comes to finding and connecting with birthmohers.
They arrived promptly at 10:00 am. Jay and Will had been waiting by the gate and Miss M ran in to tell me "they are here". I walked up to meet them and there were lots of hugs all around. I hadn't realised how tense I was until those first few moments were passed and the world was still spinning on its axis.
I don't like to build up anxiety so I had spent a lot of subconscious energy dismissing any "what if" type questions which had arisen over the last few months. Today, looking at Ana Mercedes, holding her hand, felt comfortable and natural and any anxieties I had allowed to build up dissipated instantly.
We sat around the table in our sunny courtyard and talked, asking each other questions, laughing. S's relaxed, confident, friendly yet professional translation made the whole experience much easier than I had anticipated.
Ana Mercedes has the most twinkly eyes and she loves to chat. Knowing what a tough life she has led by anybody's standards makes this a marvel. How does someone live through all that and still smile, laugh, talk openly, open herself up to total strangers from the other side of the world?
After a while Miss M wanted to swim so we moved our entourage to the shade of the tree beside the pool and continued our chatting. Soon it was lunchtime and after a quick discussion we decided the local Italian restaurant was just what we needed.
As the only customers we had the whole second floor area to ourselves, which meant we were both cosy and private. Lunch was ordered and eaten and the talk never stopped.
I have to say Will seemed like a cat that had swallowed the cream, quiet and content. He sat next to Ana Mercedes everywhere we went and was happy for her to hold his hand or rest her hand on his arm or leg. There was a simple, unspoken bond there which broached the language barrier; it just was.
I don't feel any jealousy about this, if anyone is worried on my behalf. We don't own Will; he came to our care through the incredibly mysterious alignment of our fetes. It is what it is. I feel nothing but love and awe and appreciation for Ana Mercedes. He is our son and he is her child; those are undisputable facts. Love is not a jug of cordial which is reduced when poured into multiple cups, there is enough for us all.
There were lots of things said today which can't be reproduced here because they are private between those who need to know. I'm not the secretive type but there is no value in sharing what was discussed today in a public forum.
All I know is that today was a beautiful day, enjoyed by all. Will is happy that he has made a connection with his mysterious "birthmother", somewhat saddened that the same thing wasn't possible with his birthfather (at this point). Knowing Will I'm sure there will be much under the surface processing going on and questions brewing which will pop up at the most unexpected times. He is not a boy who will have a lot of words to say about today's experience but that doesn't mean he isn't thinking about it all.
After lunch we walked all together to Parque Central where we watched Miss M ride a horse around the square. We said goobye to S and her assistant C and walked around a bit more with Ana Mercedes. Then it was time for her to go. It was a simple goodbye: hugs, kisses, tears, smiles. But it was the most difficult part of the day.
I know that as a family we are doing something (what is enough? or the right amount?) to help Ana Mercedes whose life is unimaginably more difficult than ours. But there is still guilt or something like it. I'm not responsible for her life. But I believe her life is entertwined with ours and no matter how hard I try to logic it it still hurts to think we'll be spending more on our take away dinner than she might earn in a week or a month.
So here's to a strong woman who has to fight very hard to survive in life. A woman who has made the toughest of decisions, one of which has allowed me to indulge in the whim of motherhood. Such is life.