Sorry for the delay after the introduction to my Adoption Diary, but life has gotten BUSY.
I was 16. Out for lunch with a friend. A date, sort of. An awkward lunch of small talk. I think his name was Steve.
We drove back to my house so he could meet my parents. I walked in the door and could sense "it". I didn't know what was causing "it" this time, but I knew "it" was there.
Steve was sent on his way without ever meeting anyone. I needed him gone, and probably made my point efficiently. Not so strangely, I suppose, that was the last time I talked to him for a long time. I got a call when he got engaged, and an explanation that I wouldn't be receiving a wedding invitation because his fiancee was jealous of me.
One lunch date that for me was only memorable because of what happened after, but I remember because that lunch was the last moment my life was the way I actually believed it to be. Everything was to change in the next few years. And it all started for me at the moment I walked in to the house and sensed "it".
A child of fighting parents gets very in tune to "it". The tangible sense of stress in the air when you walk in the door. The shut doors. The not talking, or the talking too loud behind closed doors. Red rimmed eyes of your mother, the silent hunched back of your father in front of the television. Normal seems elusive. The only ones pretending to be normal are the kids.
Jess, 14, and I, had acting normal down pat. School, friends, sports (ok just Jess), church, family. Pretend on the outside, be wary on the inside.
By all accounts, we were your All-Canadian Perfect Christian Family. My mom was ultra conservative, incredibly involved, over protective and very loving. My dad was hard working, loving, family oriented and also involved in our lives.
We went to my grandparents' house for Sunday visits and Kentucky Fried Chicken picnics and my Nan's house on Saturday nights to watch hockey. I knew there was disfunction "out there" but for the most part my parents did a stellar job of protecting us from it. Except of course, for the reality of their failing marriage, "stuff" happened to other people and by all accounts our lives were fairly boring and extremely middle class normal.
And then that day I walked into the house and sensed "it". Something in the air. Some stress. Some tension. Some very strong emotion.
After Steve left, I knocked on my mother's office door. She was crying. Sobbing in fact.
I was scared.
"I need to talk to you girls" she said, "and its very, very important".
I found my little sister and we sat on the floor in my mother's room and waited for the news that would open our eyes to a whole other life. Another world.
It was, in many ways, the first day of the rest of my life.