... when you least expect it, you fall into a meaningful, emotional, spiritual conversation with a complete stranger.
And so it was today when I stopped for a second glass of wine, when I should have gotten on the train at 2:30, and instead fell into a completely meaningful conversation on the 3:30 train home.
I met a lovely senior lady, ended up showing her how to use the clock, alarm, and timer on her iPhone, and ended up talking about our families and how wonderful this Thanksgiving experience was for both of us.
I talked about my daughter, my grandsons, my son-in-law, and my daughter's parents, and how grateful I am to be a part of their lives.
She talked about her sons and her grandchildren, and how different they all are, and about how she connects differently with each of them.
Because our conversation was easy and non-judgmental, I talked about being a birth mother, and how lucky I am that the child I gave up for adoption and her parents have surrounded me so completely with love. How crazy I am about my grandson, because, not despite, the differences in their personalities. And that, to this day, how I still find it difficult to insert myself into their lives because of my own insecurities, and how much I appreciate that I am accepted, included, allowed to love each and every one of them so fiercely, and that I am loved fiercely in return, especially by my daughter's parents. How I never expected to be this lucky, and how I will never, ever, ever take it for granted.
She then revealed that she was adopted. And that she will never know her real story, because her adopted mother lied to her all her life. She only found out that she was adopted when she went to apply for a passport, and had to go to her brother (born to the parents who'd adopted her) for a copy of her birth certificate. How her mother had favored her brother, but her grandparents had favored her. How she'd never understood that until she'd gotten that copy of her birth certificate.
She told me that she'd recently gone through Ancestry.com to search for family health information to pass on to her sons, but hadn't clicked the link that would allow her to find genetic family links.
I assured her, as a birth mother, that making sure she was placed with a family that would love and cared for her was an incredible act of love.
I told her that the information gathered by Ancestry.com is made stronger every day by the shear number of people adding to it all the time. How my daughter recently connected with her birth father, and found out that she has siblings -- some who have embraced her, and some that may or may not connect.
I encouraged her to go to her local library and have them show her how to add the Ancestry app to her iPhone, and assured her that the data gets stronger every day. Assured her that she can choose whether or not to share her data with others. And encouraged her to reach out to the "yes" that might be out there.
Before I reached my stop, Petronlla ("Pet") and I embraced, shared a few tears, and became a part of the family that is not linked by our genetics, but truly limned by our stories and our connections, however brief.