I've been looking at some recent pictures of Ian, and I simply can't believe how much he's growing. I expressed this to Ian's dad Joe the other day, and he agreed with me. We're watching the transition from todder to little boy. For me, it just seems...odd. The transition from baby to toddler wasn't a big deal. It was fun to see Ian's personality develop. It still is, of course. What a charmer! But now this transition feels different. He'll be four in February. Four! I can't quite wrap my head around it.
Being a birthmom is accompanied sometimes by a weird sense of disconnect. Let me try to explain. On the one hand, I'm not Ian's mother. I'm his birthmom. But being a birthmom is an individual state--no two birthmoms have exactly the same relationship with their children. Some are very distant, whether they have a closed or open adoption. Some are a LOT closer. Being several thousand miles apart dictactes a certain amount of the contact being Ian, his parents, and I--if only in the fact that we don't get to visit in person very often.
But more than that, the relationship is...nebulous. For a three-and-seven-month-year-old, Ian seems to have a good grasp on who I am. But our relationship is still distant, and still mainly through his parents. Right now, I connect with Ian mainly through photos and his mom's stories about what he's up to. Video chats are making it possible for Ian and I to connect more, and hopefully that will stay true as he gets older.
What is a birthmom? I've heard some birthmoms compare it to being like a favorite aunt or cousin. An extended relative, but one who cares and who's involved. There's a certain element of that, for sure. It doesn't quite cover the depth of the caring, though. It's not something that necessarily has to be expressed often or ever--it's understood that I care very deeply about Ian. Hopefully Ian understands it too, eventually.
I guess that's the real crux of it--as Ian becomes a little boy, with more independance of thought and action, as he goes to school, as he continues to grow--he and I will be able to form our own relationship. Certainly, his parents will still be involved, will still be present. But as Ian grows, my relationship with him will no longer be solely based on my relationship with his parents. It will be subject to the moods, interests, cares and lack thereof of a young boy.
It's new. It will be different. I'm a little nervous. I'm nervous for the time where Ian doesn't just listen when his parents tell him (in their own words) to like me. I'm nervous about whether he'll actually want to know me, whether he'll even care. I know it will be a roller coaster ride. Every relationship is. But I hope that as Ian grows, I'll still be able to have a relationship with him. Mostly I hope that he'll always know how very much I love him. And of course I hope that he'll love me in return.
What an adventure.