Mirror Mirror

As part of the series I’m writing on my adoption and birth family story this entry grew in my heart from the experience of growing up in an unfamiliar family. The previous post was the beginning of my story but I’ve decided this may be a better start to the journey.

As I look down the bleachers, they sit there, hot and dusty. The sweat beginning to appear at their temples as they watch the scrimmage with intensity. There is no official attire, only mismatched shirts with the pants to random uniforms. Each parent cheering on the team, hoping their child does better than the last. It’s almost as fun to watch the parents as it is the players.

Beyond the metal seats, past the parents and coaches, I see him. Through the fence and in to the dugout, there he sits. The mask on the ground beside him, rocking as he dropped it to his feet. The dirty black chest protector hangs on his chest, with the straps falling over his shoulder revealing how big they really are on his little body. The knee pads are half strapped on, revealing the struggle of keeping them on when he is behind the plate. His dark wiry hair disheveled and wet from the sweat, he brushes it aside as his looks out onto the field.

At the moment I saw him, my glance only for an instant, I fell back in time.  It was all too familiar, this player sitting there in the equipment that swallowed him like his passion for the game. Remembering back I saw his father sitting there, just as determined and zealous for any chance to play in the game. His knees bent slightly and his backside on top of the seat back he would jump at every exciting moment of the scrimmage.

With the cheer of the crowd I was brought back to today. I wondered, was there anyone I favored?  Would anyone look at me and say I looked just like my mother? For as long as I can remember I longed to look like someone. I would walk through the hall of my friends’ homes and see their family portraits. They would all look alike, having eyes that favored or chins the same. Never leaving a doubt they belonged together.

I have a vivid memory as I watched my adopted father check out of the grocery store many years ago. The checker being overly nice, asked my father if I belonged to him. He smiled and confirmed I was his daughter. She looked me in the eye and said, “You look just like your daddy!”. If only for themirror moment I felt as if I belonged.  I remember the feeling as if she could see within my soul. She said the words I had longed to hear.

The satisfaction I felt and believed to be true was short lived as my adopted mother laughed when my father told her the story after we returned home. She reminded me of just how dark my skin was and how I looked nothing like him. She described the very white world we lived in and how I was not like the others. I’m not sure she really knew how this cut me to the core, or maybe I would like to believe she didn’t know. But it is a memory I’ll never forget. It was in that moment I decided I would never look for where I began.

2 thoughts on “Mirror Mirror

  1. Beautifully written Jesi. And little Sis, you need not wonder any more. Although only our Lord knows why it was so long before we were to know each other, the time has finally come. I am truly happy you belong to us now, and we to you. Wow, I love how you write. All of us have the gift of writing… I guess from our mother. She was fluent in five languages and taught French and English. Love you and good night from California.

  2. Dear Jesi,
    I’m glad you found the courage, with God’s help, to go out on that limb; in doing so you have touched our lives and inspired others. When I first found out I was in a tornado of mixed emotions. Many childhood memories came swirling back to me, some good and some not so good. When the tornado dissipated I was left with only a profound sadness for my mother and excitement for you. I had heard stories or partial stories about a baby that was given away but I thought it was a boy and years before my birth. I suddenly became very frustrated about all the things I didn’t know about my families past. I have few childhood memories because I think I have repressed a lot. I was OK with that most of the time. But now I am a grandma and the children ask questions which I cannot answer because I don’t know what is true or a lie or a false memory. But I do remember how much love my mother had for all children. After her music, her passion was for little children. She became a teacher just before she began to lose her sight and get very ill. The thought of how she must have suffered to do such a thing just brought me to my knees. I was humbled and ashamed. I have been self-absorbed in my own misfortunes and have always felt alone in this world. I never understood why my mother seemed to pull her affections away from me when I was about 5 years old. She was a wonderful and kind woman who did her best and always made sure we had what we needed even though we were very poor. All I remember of those years is that she was always away at work or busy. My two older sisters became my moms. As the baby of the family, my older siblings raised me the best they could and I am grateful to them for making me feel loved. However, I always had a feeling of being a burden and an unwanted problem or at best, just invisible. I grew up feeling rejected and unsure of where my place was in this big world. I still feel that way at times. Perhaps that’s why I left home at age 17 and traveled around before landing here in Phx 25 years ago and making this my home. I didn’t understand why my mother seemed to not want me although I knew she loved me. It was a mystery like a puzzle that I just could never figure out. I knew she suffered a lot of tragedy and loss in her life. She had only one sister and I don’t think they were very close. Whenever I asked her questions about her past I could see how it only brought her pain to remember so I stopped asking. In the last couple of years before she died she began talking about the past. I didn’t push it and only let her talk when she wanted. She spoke of a baby that died at 2 years old and another one that she was forced to give up. That was all I knew. When she died, only months after my father, I was very sad about all the secrets that were buried with them and the stories that would never be told. With God’s help, I was able to forgive both my parents and to have compassion and empathy for the hard lives that they lived. I am proud to say that in spite of everything, they were both amazing over-comers. I barely knew my father but I did have a couple of long talks with him before he died. He found salvation in the heart of Jesus and was transformed in his later years. I found the supernatural forgiveness through The Holy Spirit and the peace which can only come from God. Both of our parents were practically orphans and lived a hard life, but both found comfort in their passion for music and art and both found strength and peace in their faith and love for God. In this one life that we get, we all make wrong turns and bad choices. If we end up in the arms of Jesus then we are in the right place.
    Finding you was like finding the missing piece to an old puzzle. In my spirit, I know I loved you before you were born and now my spirit rejoices to finally have that missing piece of our lives back where you belong.
    A word about family;
    I have lived in many places and have known profound loneliness. In every place that I have been, I asked Jesus for help and He brought extraordinary people into my life. Some of them “adopted” me into their family and circle of friends. I learned long ago that being a true follower of Jesus Christ means that we have the biggest family of Christians in the world and in heaven and we all share the same Father. I do understand your emptiness in not knowing who and where you came from. I have had friends who were adopted and I have worked with children who were true orphans. I am glad you found your answers, even though it may not be as expected.
    Your sister in Our Lord Jesus Christ,
    Pia Margarita Zamora (Peggy Ann Murillo)

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