Mothers Day when you’re adopted is an interesting experience, in some ways.
Like, I’ve always been fascinated by the nature/nurture debate. How much of who we are comes from our genetic make-up, and how much from how we are raised?
Because I was adopted when I was ten, Flea’s the first person I’ve known that I’m related to. It’s weird sometimes to see the ticks and traits she’s inherited from me – from twirling her hair when she’s tired, to her habit of becoming infuriated if she can’t do something perfectly the first time. It’s like looking through a window into my own past.
At the same time, I don’t think everything about us comes hard-wired. Because I see how much of my own character was informed by my own Mum – who isn’t a blood relative. I think about that a lot around Mothers’ Day. How much of me is about my birth mother, and how much is down to my Mum?
My adopted Mum taught me that women should be strong and smart and independent. That there’s no such thing as a ‘friendly’ game of Scrabble. That it’s okay to get knocked down, so long as you get back up again and keep going. That you never judge someone until you’ve stood in their shoes. My Mum gave me a conscience (annoyingly) and helped me understand that we all have responsibilities and they matter more than we’d like sometimes, but you can’t shirk them if you want to look yourself in the eye later.
Although she’s getting older, I still talk to my Mum most days and she’s my compass on so many issues. She has a natural understanding of people that I lack completely, she is unfailingly fair and open-minded, and she’s one of only a couple of people in my life who will point out to me when I’m doing something completely stupid.
I should point out that while she’s a moral compass, she’s a rubbish actual compass. Seriously. We once went to Ilkley for the day and ended up in Harrogate. Mum was navigating. Our driving holiday in Wales deserves to go down in legend.
Anyway, this time last year I wrote about my memories of my birth mother, but this year it’s all about the woman I consider my ‘real’ mother. I’m very lucky she picked me. Happy Mother’s Day, Mum. Mothers’ Day when you’re adopted is about celebrating the real Mums. The ones that show up, and stick around.
PS – Thanks for looking after Flea last night and sorry I’m late for lunch. Teeny, tiny over-sleeping issue. Cough.