The Unspoken Thought


Yesterday I celebrated my birthday and I have to say it was my best birthday ever. There were stressful weeks leading up to it, but I managed to let go of a lot of fears and insecurities atht were biting my neck even the day before. A little extra something also helped with that, and yes, I did have fun. 😀

Yet, in the back of my mind, I was wondering constantly if she’d wish me a happy birthday. She emailed me about whatever earlier in the week, but was she gonna make the effort to acknowledge my birthday, my 30th birthday? Or would she ignore it as she had done it during my childhood?

Yes, I’m talking about the woman, who raised me. The woman I have been spending my entire adulthood trying to distance myself from, and yet, all I wanted was her acknowledging my special day. Why? No idea.

The woman who hurt and betrayed me more times than I can count is doing the same thing that I expected her to… and it still hurts. Because behind the rational mind there is the irrational desire to be loved and accepted by those who hurt me.

Blah, stupid heart. But luckily, this wasn’t the most memorable part of the day… and it only took  25 years.

…at least, there was pie…


Long Slice of Pie Ala Mode 4 of 4

So Thursday morning came about. I was really not feeling well, due to a number of reasons, one of them is something I would rather not write about. I didn’t even go to the office, but worked from home, then went to pick Kevin up at school around 11 a.m. then I drove two hours to pick up my sister Emily at base. Having Emily join us made it a lot more happy occasion to drive all the way back to Jerusalem. Have I  mentioned that Emily is one of my constant Harel Skaat concert going companions? So we listened to music and talked about Chanukah plans. We were also rather odd looking, she wearing uniform, I a pink shirt and Kevin dressed in a pine green shirt, but with the oddest tie…
Anyway, we got to the hotel, we were seated in the restaurant and then we waited. I was kind of relieved that the whole meal was supposedly kosher, so there was at least that much that couldn’t go wrong. When Mr. and Mrs. Phillips walked in and emily introduced her stepfather to us, the first thing he said was, “Call me Paul!” He was a nice Utah Mormon, and he immediately made me feel uneasy. While I lived quite a bit of my life in the States and now I live in Israel, where everyone is on first name basis, but I was raised to address people properly. Which I still do.
I have to admit that I had been stressing about what to call Mrs. Phillips for days before our meeting. I settled on sticking with ma’am. One can’t go wrong with that. 🙂   The two kids were really pleasant, there’s a 13-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl. They both speak more English than I expected, and Kevin put his Russian to use talking to them.
I have to admit that pretty much the first sentences blew my fuses.
“Your mother has told me a lot about you,” Mr. Phillips said. I smiled, and replied.
“She is not my mother. I have proof of that from the court.”
It wasn’t the only time I had to remind them several times during the dinner that Mrs. Phillips ceased to have the right to call herself my mother when she and her husband dissolved my adoption. She is not my mother and hasn’t been that for a very very long time. To be honest, she was my mother only for about 1/3 of my life.
The group they travelled with was an LDS group. For some odd reason they didn’t use Mr. Daniel Rona’s company, no idea why, but it was several families from their ward and from the Jewish LDS group. So there was a big LDS prayer before the meal, which we didn’t participate in, but being the good Jews we are, Emily, Kevin, a couple other Jews and I recited the apropriate blessings for the food. It made Mrs. Phillips roll her eyes.
Mrs. Phillips told me that I had to let her see her grandkids. I reminded her that I hadn’t seen any of her grandkids for about a year now, because I last saw my nieces and nephews over Chanukah last year. She didn’t understand at first, so I had to point it out that my children are not her grandchildren.

After a while I needed to get some fresh air to help the throbbing headache I was having, and Kevin and I went to the terrace, holding hands and when I was getting a little cold, he hugged me. We came in, sat down a little further away, and ordered coffee. When we went back to the table, Mrs. Phillips remarked, “You are embarassing me.” I have no idea how I didn’t respond to that, maybe because Emily hissed at her that it wasn’t me, who wanted to meet with them.

And then there was pie. Fabulous cherry pie, lovely chocolate pie, tasty pumpkin pie. And over pie, I had a realization. “Aunt Mary, I can have you in my life as an aunt, but not as a mother. That ship sailed long ago. Please let me know when you can be a loving aunt to a fabulous gay man, who is Jewish, and who doesn’t give a damn whether you approve of coffee drinking or same sex marriage.” I remember saying that. Kevin says I said a lot more, making my point clear in a calm and reasonable manner. And I can’t really believe I used the word fabulous to describe myself. I’m anything but!

Saying good bye wasn’t difficult. We will see how things go.

The Road To Thursday


On Thursday I met the woman I called mother for over ten years…after a good 5 years of having practically no contact with her. This is a brief summary of what led up to this meeting.

Some of my readers know that it was me, who insisted on having no contact with her, while I kept in touch with several relatives from that family.
I was adopted by my aunt and uncle when I was 4-ish. Why and how is a long story, and everyone says different things about it, so I won’t go into it. Things went downhill from there. I was (much later) diagnosed with RAD and PTDS, which never got addressed–partly due to religious reasons. I know that it didn’t help that soon after the adoption I became ill requiring long stretches of hospitalization, at the same time when my older brother had a complicated heart surgery that landed him in a completely different hospital hours away for 11 months, my adoptive father dying (I don’t even remember him!) and Mrs. O having two other kids to take care of. I felt abandoned and I was abandoned by the people who ripped me out of the only family, culture, religion and yes, language that I could call my own. To add to the already toxic mix, Mrs. O remarried, to Mr. O Nr. 2, another Irishman in the States, who was emotionally, verbally, physically and sexually abusive. I know that he had inapropriate sexual relationships with at least one of the children in the home besides me.We moved a lot during the years, thanks to Mr. O’s job. Depending on where and when we were life varied between pretty good and downright miserable. As my brothers went on missions and to college, things were getting harder. My stepfather expected me to be like my brothers: athletic, smart, obedient and religious, a model Christian. That I was not.
The church hopping was all part of his control games. His wife was born to a Jewish mother, raised Catholic, and she was raising her children Catholic. Till new husband decided that Catholicism wasn’t true, and he started to look for another faith for the family. He liked the husband rules the family mentality of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but the blood thing was a turn off. I guess he liked his black pudding more than Jehovah. Then we went to a few Christian churches before he settled on Mormonism and the whole family converted. He received the priesthood and ruled the family with an iron fist. When I started to pose a threat to him (I was old enough to to understand that what he was doing was a crime) I was sent back to Ireland to live with my then 21-year-old med student brother Seán.We lived in the family flat in Dublin… and we paid rent, paid for our own food, utilities, etc. It was hard, but it wasn’t without great times, like our bike trip around Ireland that summer.Coming out as gay publicly just made things worse. The man who was sexually abusing two boys in his care thought the only apropriate thing to do was to cure me, and Evergreen International and ex-gay camps were to do the job. While it broke me in many ways, it didn’t change the sexual orientation G-d created me with.Adoption dissolution was the next step. At that point I ceased to be a part of the family in the legal sense as well. For three years I was ignored, then there was about a year or so in my life when the O family entered my life again, only to be treated badly by the parents. They pretty much intended to keep the inheritance after my spinster aunt within the family, and as Aunt Luise never changed her will after I was kicked out of the family, they had to make sure I’d give it up by my own free will. A few weeks of kindness, helping with my insurance situation and things like that was enough for me to sign my portion of the property over to my brother (I was smart enough not to sign it over to the parents!) and even consider and prepare for an LDS mission…

Eventually Kevin and I met and we settled far away from her. We had kids, and things started to go better. My relationship with my bio family improved dramatically over the years, even after the death of my mother. At the same time, my brothers and sisters from the O family became more and more distant with their parents, and that didn’t improve after the death of Mr. O. either. I was, of course, to blame for this, at least according to Mrs. O. She was constantly trying to get me to do this or that, she was bribing our kids and trying to turn them against us, and yes, she had her little games trying to isolate me from both my bio family and from her other kids. She went as far as to report us to authorities in Hungary as unfit parents. After several unexpected appearances in our door and she once picking up the boys without our knowledge and approval at the preschool resulted in the strictly no-contact decision from my part.

Of course, because I was always in contact with all my siblings–even my annoying little sister Emily, who was adopted at age 10 when I was 18–she always knew more about me than I preferred. Nevertheless, my siblings never gave her my exact address and location. I am really grateful for that.

Shortly after my family’s move to Israel, the now all grown Emily converted and made aliyah, and being a lone soldier, she has became a frequent visitor in our home. She kept me informed about Mrs. O, who is now Mrs. Phillips, and her recent adoption of two Ukrainian teenagers. It wasn’t till a week ago that I found out that the Phillipses were taking a trip to Israel, and they wanted to meet us. I reluctantly agreed to meet them at the Thanksgiving dinner at one of the Jerusalem hotels…. And that’s where we went on Thursday.

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