mothertone – That’s me. A me you might or might not know. Either way, it’s a slice of life as I know it and a possible surprise to the unsuspecting friend, acquaintance, fan or customer. Blog “mothertone” speaks from my voice as a birthmother. I’ve been in reunion with my forty-something daughter, Cathy, for twenty-two years now.
If you already read this on the Quality Folk blog, you might like to click the blue arrow above to previous posts for more background. Welcome to the story of the story.
Cathy and I have been writing Kathleen~Cathleen for seven years. It is a memoir from two perspectives, me the birthmother I am and she as the child-in-reunion she is. For seven years we have been brewing on the same chapters, designed to describe the turning points in our relationship. We are committed to being in relationship for life. Kathleen~Cathleen explores the challenges inherent in a long term relationship-in-reunion.
Housed in the framework, the culture of our times, we found ourselves in an undiscovered place – a crossroads with no roadmap. There was no language, literally no words, to tell us what to call one another or how to introduce each other or carry on in society. Even today, there is still no word in the dictionary for what is only recently referred to as “birthmother.” An ancient delivery system of child to an family, the word itself seems to have been banished from a designated definition, place or description in the book of words. No discussion can exist that uses a word that doesn’t exist. A turning of the linguistic back created an invisible wall between what is and what is not to shield the saddest of separations in the family domain, that of child from mother and mother from the child.
Cathy and I are protective of the truth harboring our relationship. Since the conception of our book in January 2004, we decided to write freely – together – but not to share our writing with one another until we were done. We would leave the truth of our words to describe our mutual experiences and let them grow in a garden of chapters, unaffected and uninterrupted by the gaze of birthmother on the words of her child and the child’s eyes on the mother’s as they attempt to describe the journey from and to each other from the inside out – a memoir in duet.
Kathleen~Cathleen. Our names are just one of many synchronicities common in our story. “At 18” opened in labor & delivery and was followed by an eighteen year-old girl calling the adoption agency to inquire after birth records only to find that her birthmother had called the same day.
From beginning to end, this story describes life-in-reunion in the long term – after the honeymoon glow grows dim and the shadow of loss comes to anchor in grief, and the journey through the uncharted rift of relinquishment-in-reunion that comes to roost in all the colors and shades of reconciliation.
Many drafts in, the beginning is finished and our friend and editor, Barbara, hand-delivered it in New York City on Mother’s Day, two weeks ago. For the first time, eyes and hearts will take in both sides of what we’ve each written and they will decide what we’ve got here.
We think we know what we’ve got here.
We’d like to share it with you.
So now, we’ve started new blogs to begin to talk about it.
My daughter, Cathy’s (Cathleen) is ReunionEyes and mine (Kathleen) is mothertone – our side roads from the life and adventures of she, as mother of two young sons in Portland, Oregon and me on the maternal side of the singing, string-playing songwriter you’ve been running into over music all these years.
I know it’s on the personal side. That hasn’t stopped anybody from following the thread of our history over the years – the music, the art, the writing, the shop, the stories – it’s ALL been personal – all along.
We just happen to be in a business that is about people, folks, community, music, harmony; and this is one of my stories about being a girl who came of age between two worlds and grew old(er) and wise(r) with some grit, salt, tears and laughter mixed in. It’s all in there.
If you prefer, you can stick with the music, the ukulele, the song-singing, the music calendar and not stop to worry yourself about the intrepid territory (did she say birthmother?) described there.
We’ve always been out, Cathy and me, but that’s a whisper in a noisy storm of unspoken stories shifting to be heard. It’s been a very quiet theme all these years, decades, centuries – why yell about it now? Well, it’s too a quiet story to hold it back forever. It may just be that the time has come to let this story out.
So this is just one way of talking about our story. Blogging from both sides is an interactive side-journal to writing the book. The blog is one way for both of us to talk about our process and the things that we think about – inside and outside of our chapters. We’ll write freely about mutual topics we choose. We won’t expose ourselves to each other’s views and answers to our questions in common just yet. YOU, the reader will learn what we both think – long before we do – and you’ll come to your own conclusions – a bit wiser than either of us. The story is bigger than the two of us put together. That’s why we decided to tell it.
Kathleen~Cathleen and the two collateral blogs are a social experiment between Cathy and me. We have chosen to commit our experiences to words, in the hope that understanding for people affected by adoption, relinquishment and reunion, will grow and that they will be encouraged by what is possible. Imagined or realized, reunion opens much more than a door to a greeting from a long lost relative. It is a family claim.
Now, according to ground rules Cathy and I established for ourselves seven years ago, we are going to blog freely without visiting each other’s blogs or writing. We are still deep in drafts of Kathleen~Cathleen. Our aim remains to remain in a free-zone from the influence of each other on our writing until we have completed the story.
Someday soon we will read it all and this part of our shared privacy protecting words and chapters will be finished and over. Until then, we’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing for a long time now. It’s a safe way for us to tell the story. It gives us the room to breathe as we approach turning point chapters in our relationship and spit out the hard parts along with the rest, some in words that haven’t been said out loud before this.
So, I hereby invite you, dear reader, to witness a previously unexposed part of the life of Kate; the Kate you know and the Kate you don’t. My blog at mothertone will reflect the dilemmas and victories of a birthmother-in-reunion. You are also invited to Cathy’s blog and thoughts from the world of an adoptee in longterm reunion at ReunionEyes.
We hope that our work on Kathleen~Cathleen will create a roadmap for anyone seeking reunion and that it will give them courage to seek what’s possible by reading our story.
We appreciate your comments as we bring our project, book and blogs into the world. Another birth of sorts – only this one belongs to the family of man – the story belongs to all of us.
Feel free to explore mothertone and ReunionEyes for a taste of what we’re up to and respond with anything you’d like to share. This is an interactive effort that we hope will benefit anyone interested in understanding or pursuing reunion.
Harmony is no small gift. We appreciate that much of what is discussed on these blogs may come as a surprise to readers, even close family and friends. Please bear with us as we allow the true discussion to cross the table – if not yet with each other, then with you. We appreciate the protection of our privacy as we begin to introduce our process of writing Kathleen~Cathleen and the variety of forms its effect may have take flight.
Thank you for the incredible support so many of you have given us over the years – in our music and art – as we continue to participate in the ongoing parables of Life we share, observe and sally through as a community in art, music, heart and soul. – kate
To view my daughter’s blog on the same topic, please visit ReunionEyes.
Kate, my love….you, once again bring tears to my eyes. My mom and I were estranged for six years. I saw her for the first and last time after those six years, on her deathbed. We never had a “reunion”. Not sure if I had shared that with you. I will read your words; both you and Cathy. And thank you. Maybe we can see you two in Eugene. XXOO
Eugene it is – with nature poet, Charles Goodrich. It will be an extra sweet night of music, poetry and friends. You and Ben would be such a sight for sore eyes. Thanks for your kind words. xo-k