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When My Mom Was An Astronaut

It’s National Adoption Month, and I wrote a thing about fantasizing about my “real” family that you can read here.

 

 

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41 comments
  1. Onions. Who’s chopping onions? *sniff*

  2. This was SO WONDERFUL. *clutches blog post to bosom* *holds it close forever*

  3. Well that was sweet and funny and brilliant and sad and wonderful. And other stuff too but I need a tissue right now goddammit.

  4. Swistle said:

    That was some extremely nice writing right there.

  5. CodaSammy said:

    My mother’s adopted. I’m not, but my dad left us before I was born, so part of me relates to the “maybe we’ll bump into each other in the supermarket! And we’ll know each other instantly and hug passionately and he’ll be so thankful to have found me at last!” feelings. I’ve sent the article to my mum. It’s… It’s really beautifully written. Thanks, so much, for sharing it.

    • CodaSammy said:

      She said:

      “Oh what a brilliant article so much of it resonates!

      I didn’t imagine an astronaut mummy but definitely a rich and bountiful one!
      I remember looking up at the stars, especially on my birthdays, and wondering if she was thinking of me, if she remembered me. Later, I was fortunate enough to be able to ask and she said yes, always.

      I’m glad you are my daughter in all the universes xx”

      *tears*

      • damadafaka said:

        Awww you people (you Coda, your mom and Jennifer L-e-i-g-h) are all so sweet!!!!

  6. Oh! The bent pinkies thing! If they bend inward, towards the other fingers, it’s called fifth finger clinodactyly. It’s technically classified as a congential abnormality but it’s so common that most epidemiologists consider it a normal human variation. It can be inherited, random variation, or associated with a dysmorphic syndrome. It results from a wedge-shaped second phalange that’s shorter on the inner side than the outer.

    The article was really lovely, too, I just jumped all over the pinkie thing because it’s a thing I know about from work, and a thing I have. Curvy pinkie high five?

    • JenniferP said:

      )^5

      πŸ™‚

      • I thought my pinkie bent inward too but then I actually googled what orbitalflyby was talking about and I realized I don’t have it 😦 Now I has a sad.

        And that was an amazing article!

    • Nanners said:

      I have that too! ALL the curvy-pinky-high-fives!

    • Elle said:

      My boyfriend has bent pinkies! Now the next time he mentions it I’m going to tell him it’s clinodactyly so he can be all impressed with me.

  7. I really enjoyed this. It doesn’t hurt that my name is Tamara L-e-i-g-h and I was born in 1974, so we sort of almost had the same name, only the parts got mixed up.

  8. wordiest said:

    That was beautifully written, and had surprising parallels to my own life. Although my experiences were all quite different. I’m my father’s youngest child, but I always grew up knowing his first child had been given up for adoption. If she ever turned up, he wanted us to know, so it wouldn’t be a surprise and she would be welcomed. We actually do have contact with her now, but it wasn’t until long after I was grown when New York created a registry for regaining contact. So, I had the other half of the adoption story, knowing I had a sister out there somewhere, but with no idea of who she might be or what she was doing. Sometimes wondering if a random stranger was really my sister. And the Challenger explosion still hurts… I was around seven or eight years old at the time, and my teacher was a runner-up. Every student in my class wrote a letter to NASA, as part of the selection process, telling NASA why they should select our teacher. I often think about that. I think about the fact that there are a bunch of people out there who wrote those letters and then their teacher was selected. And now I’m tearing up.

  9. Anothermous said:

    That was a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing something so personal and bittersweet. ❀

  10. 77yan said:

    I think we all wonder, all adoptees, but your wondering is way way way more creative than mine.

    • JenniferP said:

      Overactive imagination + ACTUAL LIFELONG MYSTERY + reading tons of fairy tales = lots of staring at the backs of wardrobes.

      • I’m not even adopted (and very very very strongly resemble my parents physically and not just because we’re all redheads, so there was no way that I was ever really convinced they secretly weren’t my parents) and I was always looking for the magic wardrobe or tunnel or forest clearing that would take me to adventure and a way cooler family that had magic and and and… you know?

        I think that part, the searching for the secret switch that will tell you you’re special, you’re different (and in a way that’s AWESOME) is common to most imaginative kids, but being adopted probably turns it up to eleven, because you really *do* have another family out there, somewhere.

      • yan said:

        I read a lot, plus the actual mystery (not lifelong), but my imagination is rather stymied by a genetic bent towards practicality. Now, I think if I’d had my way at age 12 or so, my genetic family would have been dragonriders.

  11. Salamandrix said:

    Beautifully written.

  12. Brassica said:

    That was an amazing piece of writing. Thank you. Thank you for writing it, and for sharing it.
    That was also a really effective use of foreshadowing– reading it knowing, of course, how that flight ended, and feeling a helpless desire to protect the child-Jennifer from that unchangeable outcome… Wow.

  13. Cam said:

    Beautiful. I kept thinking “this is like me.” I relate so much to some of this, including Anna Devane. Thanks for sharing.

    • JenniferP said:

      All my mom-crushes had great hair. πŸ™‚

  14. unlurking said:

    I love the article. ❀

  15. Whole article was good, but that last sentence really got me.

    • unlurking said:

      Yes, that is the crux of all of it. Love it.

  16. Chantal said:

    Right in the feels.

  17. jLo said:

    My god, that was wonderful. Am all undone.

  18. mossyone said:

    Oh. That was wonderful. *bawls*

  19. PeterG said:

    So many feels.

  20. That was awsome! As an adoptive Mom [a miracle since the Christians have that market sewed UP and I’m Buddhist], I love to red of the experiences and thoughts and feelings of adopted Kids.

    For what it’s worth, I had a physically and emotionally abusive father and used to wIsh! I was adopted!

    • JenniferP said:

      Thank you. I worry that my adopted family would be hurt by reading something like that, but a) it’s all true b) it doesn’t mean I didn’t love them, just that I was hungry to solve the mystery & meet people who looked like me, since I am such an outlier looks-wise.

  21. That was so beautiful. My mom and I have the same pinkies–I’m not adopted, but that detail really caught me, because it’s a similarity I noticed really early on.

  22. sarahcircusnachos said:

    Thank you for sharing this with the world.

  23. damadafaka said:

    Just amazing. That part about the 74th second… wow. I felt like I was there and dropped my imaginary cupcake.

  24. J. said:

    So very, very good. Thank you for that.

  25. Book Girl said:

    Breathtaking, heartbreaking and utterly, utterly beautiful.

  26. Lel said:

    Thank you for sharing! The parallel universe thing is definitely something I understand.

  27. karinacinerina said:

    Thank you for that personal glimpse into your mind and heart. That moment! Lovely piece.
    I knew who my biological mother is, but I still hoped it couldn’t be someone as cruel as her, so I appreciate the idea of fixating on someone else as the one who created you. Mine was Olivia Newton-John.
    One of my high school’s English teachers was one of 5 candidates for McAuliffe’s seat on that shuttle. Before the launch he was having some mixed emotions (likely jealousy and annoyance at himself for being a sore loser); after the launch, even more emotions, as you might imagine.

  28. LeighTX said:

    I saw this on the Toast yesterday but didn’t realize it was yours. This was so, so beautiful. Thank you for sharing it.

    • JenniferP said:

      Thank you!

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