Secrets

by Bella Rum

IMG_1079Our voting location has changed. We voted this morning at a small Baptist church that’s less than a quarter of a mile down the street. We’ve never been so close to our voting location. Aunt Ruby would say, “Then there’s no reason you can’t go to church, is there?”

We saw a spattering of Trump signs as we entered the parking lot, and again near the entrance to the church. We saw one Cruz sign as we entered the parking lot and another near the entrance. If that means anything, I’m sure I do not know what, but I’m reporting. Our biggest concentration of democrats live in Northern Virginia.  There are more republicans in our area. Both Hillary and Trump were in the state yesterday. I think I heard that Rubio believes he’ll do okay here and Hillary, too, but you cannot tell that by the signage at my voting location. You would think only two people are in the race, and none of them democrats.

After voting, we went to the hospital so I could do my lab, and then we went to lunch afterward. H seems to think I deserve a reward after I do my labs. You and I know that I don’t, but I’ll not be the one to disabuse him of the notion.

I made a huge vat of spaghetti sauce a couple of days ago and froze most of it in individual serving sizes in freezer bags. So we’ll be eating spaghetti tonight as we watch the returns.

I don’t really know how to write this next part. Maybe that’s a sign that I shouldn’t. When I write about family members or friends, I do not use their names. Sometimes I substitute false first names. That’s what I’ll do here to make it easier to understand.

Chris called last night to ask me about a recently revealed 55-year-old secret. She was contacted in a private message on FB by a woman who had questions about her birth mother. The woman believes/wonders if Chris’s mother is also her birth mother. She actually thought that Chris was her mother, but Chirs is far too young and has never given up a child in adoption. The woman shared the date and location of her birth and the name of her father on the birth certificate. Men’s last names don’t change. It’s easier to find them. Chris wanted me to tell her if the woman was her sister, another child of her mother’s.

I believe we all tend to act on our life experiences, especially by the time you’re my age. I mean, what good is all this droopy sagging and fattened thighs if we can’t learn to avoid a sticky wicket when we’re about to get mired in one? My first instinct was to tell her that I could not talk with her about it and reminded her that I was only 10-years-old when this event supposedly took place. And I stuck to that, but since she seemed to want some guidance, I did do something else that I never do unless asked. I offered advice.

Stop groaning.

I told her that she should not keep the information a secret from her mother, which she was leaning towards. Her mother is seventy-five and not fragile in any significant way – bad joints, controlled blood pressure and cholesterol, but otherwise sound of mind and body. I told her that if someone contacted my son with a possible secret from my past, I would want him to tell me. After all, the message was really intended for her mother – not her. I asked her if she felt the same way about her sons and she agreed.

It was  a closed adoption. I think that was the only kind back then. This secret has been buried for a long time, but who knew that there would be an Internet one day that would make all things possible. I explained to her how different it was for unwed mothers, impoverished mothers, and abandoned mothers back then. How hard to bear was that kind of judgement for a young woman. Even the girl’s parents often did not offer support or sympathy. It was a different world.

I did not tell her anything, but I’m sure she figured things out. She was already pretty sure when she called. Before we said good-by, I emphasized again, “Give your mother the information, give her a chance to tell you whether it’s baloney or not, and give her the chance to make the decision about how to proceed… if at all.”

I texted her this morning. She said that she and her sister had decided not to tell her mother. And that, my friends, is how secrets are kept and eventually how they are unkept, how they pop out when you least expect it. Her mother is married (not to the father of the woman), and I do not know if her husband knows. I would hate for him to learn of this before she had a chance to adjust to it, and decide what to do, not that I think he would leave or do anything so rash. That’s another great thing about age. Most of us have gotten over that drama thing, and realize that everything is not about us. I actually have a girlfriend whose husband’s teenage daughter – unknown to them – showed up on her doorstep. She took her in.

I understand Chris and her sister’s concern, but I feel like their decision robs their mother of making her own decisions. Her unknown daughter will probably eventually find her anyway, but maybe not in time. Then she will have to be satisfied with a visit to the cemetery.

As my mother’s friend Miss Frannie used to say, “My hand to God, Lorraine, I’m staying out of this.”

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