A year of regular communication rolled by. Its amazing how well you think you can get to know someone by using telephone and mobile. Those hour long conversations opened up our mutual lives to each other. Two women who can talk for England can learn a great deal in about two hours a week! All things being equal we had moved on from the hiccup of the Summer visit . I soon realised I should not let my guard down quite so readily. After all I didn’t know this woman at all. Less than 2 years had gone by and now I was happily sharing feelings, thoughts and fears with her. As if we had known each other all my life. In a way I guess we had. She at least had felt the loss of me in her heart all these years. For me it was not ‘loss’ as such. More ‘A missing piece’ The piece was now found and although not perfect it was finding its way into my heart as I was in hers. However, and at the risk of sounding negative…my warning to you on this trail is that it never stops twisting and turning. It can still hit bumps in the road and boy when it does!!!?……………….
So the next Christmas , the plan again was for me to visit her in her home. I had pretty much driven home the point that a repeat ‘Surprise Guest’ would be greeted with the removal of myself from her home , likely once and for all. Having argued the toss over who said what, who knew what and how and why , I gave up. I concluded that although not perfect, my BM had lied and then denied. Nothing I could do to change that but shelve it in my memory and hope it didn’t fester. Best place for it was to join the other dust sheet covered memories in that Attic room in the back of my head..the room I was hoping NOT to fill!
That December, Hotel booked with Earth Angel and a plan made . I text my BM regualrly from the train to keep her informed of progress. She was busy cooking a mountain of food as usual. I think a Chicken curry , rice and peas and salads where on the menu. She had asked again for me to visit on the Sunday , and I had again said Sadly no it was to be Saturday, again she told me there would be no wine as it was her Sabbath. OK , No problem I said. There sure as hell would be when I met up with Earth Angel so it didn’t matter.
Shortly before my journey I downloaded Lynda Bellingham’s There’s Something I’ve Been Dying to Tell You’. I loved her as an actress and the book appealed to me. I was reading it on the train and it made the journey go all the faster. Her humour and candour and raw honesty are exactly the type of read I needed in view of the day ahead. So as I neared Manchester I text to say I envisaged arriving at about 1pm. I was to get a Cab as my BM had broken her foot a week earlier so was forced to wear one of those funky Storm Trouper Leg braces until it recovered. Again I was happy with this, felt more of a freedom than waiting to be collected from the Hotel. We checked in and Earth Angel and I headed off in opposite directions across the city.
I text 12.45 from inside the cab.
As we drove down the street I noted the comfy sofa was still outside the corner shop….never knew if anyone actually sat on it. Never thought to ask.
On arrival to the front door I noticed it was wide open. Odd? I approached with caution. Maybe in hindsight, now would have been the best time to turn on my heels and run. But of course I didn’t, did I!?!
I heard her calling me from the front room...”Come on in love”. So IN I went, hook line and bloody sinker.
In the front room two women (I say this with tongue in cheek!) stood opposite each other. There was clearly a drama unfolding in this little room. I stood watching as the two women battled it out. In fact one of the women was VS and the other was my biological niece of 19. Had she popped in on the off chance again to ‘borrow’ something . Looking at the state of her she has dragged herself here after a very rough night. I waited to be greeted and maybe offered a cuppa. I wasn’t comfortable in her house enough yet to make my own, which I felt was fair. My BM didn’t approach me to hug or even greet me especially , it was as if I was a stranger wandering in off the street just because the door was open. The reason for no emotional response to my entrance? This little girl (she is a little girl, not a woman but an immature female who needed to calm the hell down! ) had no clue to that day who I was. She was never privvy to her Grandmothers past. Her father has obviously respected this fact and not shared his mothers story with his daughter. This is fine by me , I respect that too. However, neither of these people circling each other in the front room really even registered my presence. I slumped down into the nearest arm chair. The same chair VS sat in much of our last visit.
I sat in that chair for the next 30 minutes listening to this sorry tale , still no offer of a cuppa and I was still in my coat and boots. In the end I thought Sod it I’m parched and I made myself that cup of tea after all
As the kettle boiled, I was weighing up if I was staying or going…..
I am a great believer in hearing a tale and then making a judgement. This is pretty hard when a tale makes absolutely NO sense.
Try this one on for size: OK so BN (Biological Niece) had received a phone call from a friend, who was not a good friend by the way, but known to her. This person had asked if she could pop by and use BN loo. This was apparently at about 11pm. She agreed and said for her to come over?
She arrived in the company of a group of grown men ranging in age from 20-25. They all trooped into her house. They then started picking up her stuff, breaking things and generally knocking stuff around. Then (apparently) ‘someone’ , maybe BN called the Police. They turned up and knocked in her now boarded up front door as she escaped through her window. Apparently at this point her phone was taken by the police, they removed the battery and threw in across the room…
You still following this??? Good luck if you are as by now my head was melting ….
I sat as still as was possible so as not to draw attention to myself in that chair. This woman-child had no clue who I was , loved her grandmother I don’t doubt but felt the need to repeat this farcical tale over and over for her benefit and now for mine. It made no sense. To be sure you get a sense for the atmosphere in that stifling room….The energy created by this tirade was such that it made my heart race….like in a panic..She spoke at a million miles an hour and never drew breath! I did hope that if her tongue moved fast enough it would eventually spontaneously combust and her with it..but alas no such luck!
In the end when she finally let BM speak I reached for my phone and text Earth Angel. I said I would likely be back at the Hotel before lunch at this rate and tried to tell her the situation in short hand. I had never witnessed such a high octave display of self pity and this drama queen needed a Harold Lloyd slap. (refer to previous posts!) There would be no smelling salts to bring this one round either. Jeez.
So I grabbed Lynda Bellingham and started reading! Yes , still no sign that lunch was going to be saved from ruin, the ranting continued and there I was after a 5 and a half hour journey , learning the fundamentals about Chemotherapy and Colon Cancer. You couldn’t make this shit up I tell you.
After no less than another hour, still sat there in my coat , like some mystery guest waiting in the wings for my opportunity to shine…my BM realised I was in the room. She offered me chocolate!? Really? No thanks I think I will go actually. The star of the show had taken a breather for a comfort break…
Oh dear, please don’t go she said when I stood up with purpose. You’ve got to have lunch! I explained that we both knew I hadn’t come all this way just for lunch …I pointed out that as I was unknown to this Drama Queen I could not even speak whilst she was there…not an easy one I promise you..
I suggested perhaps she ring her Father (my biological brother ) and let him sort her out. Sounded like someone needed to get this sorted and pretty damn quick. She agreed and rang him on his daughters mobile, now equipped with a replacement battery from BM own phone! (You know that’s gone for good then eh!)
Now I need to describe this phone call and the atmosphere in which we were sitting. She rings and he answers his child’s phone after what seems an age. His first words to his Mother when he heard her voice ‘ F*** Sake’ screamed out of the handset on loud speaker. BM visibly blanched as she saw me in the corner of her eye. I winced as I realised this was a common response and neither woman seemed to see this as out of order? Having seen my shock she did pull him for swearing at her but in almost a forgiving tone. Made me angry. How could a son show such abject disrespect to his mother , not only by using the phrase but also knowing this day was her ‘Sabbath’ .
Trust me, the fact hadn’t escaped me that although she told her family she was to be in church today in order to keep them at bay, this little Diva had turned up regardless…so did she have a key?? Who knows…
Next the wanna-be Diva regalled us all again with the tale from start to finish. Another half hour passed by , another chapter of Lynda Bellingham. At no point during this conversation did either woman suggest MB get his sorry arse out of bed (where he claimed to be at 2.15 in the afternoon) and collect his whinging offspring and take her away..ideally to be checked out at the hospital
Her claim was that she was going to make a complaint against the police over the door, and against the medical professionals who refused to take verbal and likely some physical abuse from her in the small hours. By the time she put the phone down on her Father she was wound up again like a coiled slinky. I had come to the end of my patience. Heard the unbelievable tale 3 times now and it was like a never ending Pity Party. I figured both BM and MB had listened and achieved sod all. So I am afraid I had to speak up. Still blissfully unaware of our shared DNA she stopped dumbfounded as I spoke quietly and calmly. I closed down Lynda Bellingham.
Me: ‘Did you, or didn’t you address your grievances to the police and the ‘Indian Doctor’ (her words) in this manner?
Diva-Child ‘ Huh?!’
Me ‘ I am asking you if your attitude was as bad as it is now towards the professionals who were clearly doing their jobs and trying to help you?
Diva-Child ‘ Well I guess I was stressed out? yeh’
Me’ OK then, firstly I will tell you for certain you have NO grounds for a complaint. Secondly you were lucky to spend that time in a hospital and not a police cell and thirdly, had I had the pleasure of you in this mood in the small hours I wouldn’t have treated you to courtesy let alone understanding’ Don’t you get it??
Diva-Child ‘ Well its their job to treat or help me!! Stamps foot and attempts a few dry crocodile tears,
Me’ No, it is their job to feel safe in the work they do and if you made that impossible I can see why they threw you out….
Diva Child ‘ Well look at my bruises, they grabbed my arm you can see marks..here and here (demonstrates for my benefit)..can you take pics on my phone??
Me ‘ No, as far as I know you had thsoe bruises last week?
Diva- Child’ And look Nanna , I think they broke my nose AGAIN, I heard it crack!
Me’ Deep breaths…..take a break from it and sit your butt down. NOW!! You have NOT convinced me that you have grounds to complain given your own behaviour.
Throughout this entire exchange BM made me more tea and remained completely silent. It was painfully clear that never in this child’s life had anyone spoken to her in such a way as to make her shut the hell up and stop and think. Not once. So my BM was utterly delighted that finally someone other than her Pastor has tried to get the point over to this person. The idea that she herself was personally responsible for all this shit, that obviously kept happening to her.
Bear in mind, she STILL has no clue who the hell I was! Am guessing she thought I was a member of VS church just calling in for my lunch!?
Regardless, I was not a happy visitor.
The room setting would put you in mind of the worst episode of Jeremy Kyle you could imagine. There I was sitting in my arm chair baking in coat and boots. Histrionics playing out in front of me of my Biological Niece and long lost BM. On the impossibly huge widescreen TV was a grainy episode from the God Channel.The strangest looking couple sang their hearts out with lectures from the scriptures. Apparently both now dead. The woman was about 25 stone with a beehive on her head to rival Marge Simpson. The husband sat in his wheelchair with stomach hanging over his knees. So the room was filled with the drama of an aggrieved woman -child whilst Hell Hath no Bloody fury blared out in the corner. See…I told you, you couldn’t make this shit up didnt I! I didnt need to!
The lunch was dried up of course but offered in desperation to keep me from ringing the cab to come get back pronto as I was bailing…
I whispered she needed to get her gone after lunch or I was definitely leaving myself. She agreed as apologised, kind of. I know it was a tricky one and now I actually had resigned myself to leaving but was hungry so accepted food. Funnily enough despite being told again that Wine was not drunk on the Sabbath, out came a bottle of Red. Ha! She said to me ‘ I will have a half glass and you have a glass then you can take the rest back to the hotel with you’! Really??? Do you think there was anything left in that bottle?? I was practically ringing its bloody neck to get every last drop and dreg out and down my throat. It didn’t touch the spot or mellow my growing unease in any way.
So we sat , us three, for lunch. Seems I knew the drill better than my BN. She tucked in as I awaited BM to say Grace. I glanced at BN and we shared a very small grin.
Now I have told you before I dont have a problem trying to lighten a mood with humour. …BN is continuing her whinging ALL through lunch. Of course. She tells us how the police were so rough with her that somehow her hair piece was yanked off her head. Made her scalp bleed by all accounts. My BM asked where the hair piece ended up. She says she thought on the street someplace
I piped in between mouthfuls of Chicken…
‘Guessing theyve called out the exterminators now then….thinking a dirty great rat is roaming around the pavements’
We all laughed…the mood lifted…for about 20 seconds…well I tried!
So the next tack was to try her father again…this time his child attempted to ask for a lift to the hospital to get checked over properly. I began to hope that the whole day was not in vain and we might salvage a couple of hours before I rang Cabbie for a ride back to town.
The phone was answered quicker this time, he was still however in bed. Now if anything is going to put me off my dinner more than the promise of a bowl of slimy ochre , its what happened next. MB was clearly unaware he was again on loud speaker phone. The phone was placed in the centre of the table for us all to hear the conversation… still me with my hidden identity.
As he answered he asked that she wait a minute while he blew his nose. Blew his nose!!!??? Have you ever heard a tractor driving through thick mud at 50 miles an hour. That was the sound we three sat listening to for at least 2 minutes. We all stopped eating and just stared at that little phone. I would guarantee , if physically possible, that not only did every ounce of snot but also every brain cell he had came out in that blowing . Never heard anything like it in my life…never wanted too and and hope never to again. The mood lifted again momentarily as we all giggled at the bizarreness of the situation.
He agreed to come get her at 3pm. Turned up at 3.45. As soon as he entered the room and saw me he looked petrified. I guess as he now knew his mother had a visitor who wouldn’t exactly rock up again the following weekend. He knew his Mother would be gutted , blame him and maybe never forgive the situation, rather than the people. I couldn’t blame her that Diva-Child had rocked up. But I did blame her that no real effort was made to get rid of her for a few hours so she could enjoy a catch up with me. Sad but true. I even blamed myself. I should have left. But how could I? . Any minute now she may have left herself or someone come to collect her and I couldn’t have gone and then returned in the same evening. That wouldn’t be fair on Earth Angel. Painful as it was to endure this full on Jeremy Kyle -esque episode , it did do me a favour. Never again would I trust that a visit to my BM home would guarantee privacy. Her family clearly rock up unannounced or have an open invitation to come in whenever it suited them. And why not you are asking? Agreed. However, when it is regardless as to whether it suited the home owner? My point is, I couldn’t be surprised but I was mightily pissed off.
He took his child away with him and returned………………….no more than 45 minutes later. We assumed she had driven him mental and he brought her straight back. I know this is likely as the distance between the house and the local hospital would have taken at least one hour, then waiting in A&E on a busy Saturday in a Manchester Hospital? Another hour at least, then to be checked out would be another hour or so. So to return within the hour proved someone didn’t have the resolve to get this sorted at all. A red mist was building as soon as she walked back into that front room, complete with the same bad attitude.
My biology was hopefully all I shared with these two people, MB and Diva Child clearly had zero respect for my BM, to ignore the fact she had a visitor ALL DAY, regardless of who I was…. the point was MB knew who I was and didn’t give a shit that the day had in fact been hijacked by his child. Even given the opportunity to allow his Mother a few precious hours that remained of the day , he refused to do so. This showed me that although aware of my existence he didn’t really welcome it. This is fine by me. I have no right to time or attention from my BM but I do however have the right to walk away if I see it as more beneficial for my health and the well being of my own family. I came close that day.
Back in my coat and boots whilst Diva Child Face-booked the whole of her Diva world with the drama. She gave the phone back to BM and we popped next door to briefly see the neighbour, the lovely E. Whilst there BM noticed Facebook was still open on her phone with Diva Child’s account of the drama there in glorious technicolour. She proceeded to scour the texts, the posts and the whole of her Grand-daughters Facebook profile page. This didn’t sit well with me at all. To me that is a blatant invasion of the girls privacy…I did say ‘ I’m not sure she would want you looking at all that you know’ I was told ‘Well after today she shouldn’t have left it open on my phone should she!’
Struck me as if this was almost like a punishment to fit a crime? Does religion condone that response? I left it alone as E wandered over to hug me goodbye but again it left a bitter taste in my dry mouth!
As I paced up and down in the little kitchen willing Cabbie to arrive, that sofa outside the nearby shop was becoming more and more appealing…. as I waited …..and waited by the window for the elusive taxi which seemed to be stuck in rush hour traffic!!
I left to join the rush our and head back to the comfort of the world I called home. Back to the welcome arms of Earth Angel. She had sent regular texts of encouragement throughout the day, some of which suggested high tailing it out of there. Hubby was also kept in the frame and messaged me love and hugs to boost my spirits. The wine forbidden on the Sabbath may as well have been Robinsons. Never even took the edge off my disappointment and disbelief that the day once again had been a total disaster.
When I left, we exchanged another bag of Christmas and Birthday gifts. This time I reinforced again the need for me to re-wrap what appeared to be a book for my child.
Having assumed this message was understood loud and clear I was now dismayed further. BM suggested ‘Isnt it about time she was told about me ? and What harm could it do?
What harm could it do?? Hmmm…let me think about that for a minute…After today did she honestly think I felt my child needed or would welcome the dramas and unsavioury attitudes of her distant biological relatives. Not on my watch. No way on this earth was I even seeing a future where she would be involved with this life of mutual disrespect and attention seeking self pity. NOT a hope. I was mad that she didn’t simply accept my wishes AGAIN with a response of ‘Ok you are her mother, it is your call’ But no! I was being told by my BM how to handle this situation with my own child. Sounded familiar didn’t it? Given both my BM and my Mother were on opposite sides, they weren’t so different in how they felt they had the right to manipulate and control me! I liken it to one of those old style Salter scales with me standing in the centre and each side weighing light and then heavy as it rose and fell. The level of control each side had depending on which had the upper hand. There was a pattern forming already with my BM and this needed nipping in the bud and fast.
So I left , miffed but in a way satisfied that I had seen this play out the way it had. You see , now I was aware exactly what I had missed out on. Or not , depending on the side of the fence you stand. I knew categorically I had been given an insight into a world I had no intention of being sucked into any deeper than I was already.
I arrived back at the Hotel, cheered thankfully by a chatty chirpy Cabbie , we were of course stationary for longer than we were moving as the early party goers of Saturday night in Manchester clogged up the roads.
Over dinner and wine I poured out the days drama and slowly relaxed. Relief coursing through me as I relaxed with Earth Angel. We made plans for our jollies the next day, Carluccios, the German Markets, a spot of shopping and generally chilling out. Monday as last year we were meeting up for a lovely lunch with my dear friend PD (Man on the ground) Rosso , a fabulous white table clothed Italian was our venue of choice. Mainly as he supplies them with his exquisite range of Procecco wines.
That night I slept badly , until 5am that is ! I woke from a fitful sleep and sobbed for 2 hours. I cried until my eyes were stinging and swollen. I wrote a 5 page whattsap to BM explaining I was bitterly disappointed following our disasterous day and felt it unlikely I would expose myself to similar ever again. Guess what she replied…I too have been upset and may never forgive MB for yesterday!
Now forgive ME if I am wrong but MB was simply instrumental in as much stupidity as she was. The fact he was suffering from man-flu in his pit was neither here not there. It could not possibly be his fault that his child used her grandmothers home as a her own , that all of them had no chief to pull rank and sort their shit out. Funnily enough, I did that myself on a small scale and it shocked the hell out of all present. Maybe the satisfaction on BM face at this point was exactly why I knew I could not allow myself to become a major player in this world. A world in which I did not belong, nor did my child…..
So I cried hard , mainly out of disappointment but also sadness for myself . I have built this ongoing reunion up to being so perfect and it was far from perfect. I knew realistically I would hit pot holes on the road as the journey went on but so early in the process? Really?
I rang Earth Angels at 10 asking her to come to my room earlier than the arranged 10.30. I will always be so grateful she was there. I lost the plot for quite some time and snotted all over the lovely woollen jacket! Had I had to travel straight home following that drama I would have cracked up even more on the train home! She patiently talked me out of the gloom and we set off for our day.
So our day was enjoyed, Earth Angel counselled me over large glasses of vino and Tapas and we had our girls weekend as planned. Thankfully the Saturday failed to totally overshadow our time together as was my fear.
That Christmas was uneventful apart from one thing that didn’t show itself to be an issue until the New Year. I didn’t send flowers that New Years. I felt it hypocritical to reward what I still saw as a total cock up and she probably felt the same. I know she feared my resolve was now not to visit her in her home in the future. I had lost all trust in her ability to ensure we would not be interrupted again.
Besides I still needed to finish Lynda Bellinghams bloody book!:-)
So New Year came around. The lovely slim book my BM had addressed to my child was a story of real life Angels. She was delighted and I did as promised. I sent a little pic of her opening it with a big smile on her face for the photo. I thought nothing else of it at all. Then one evening my child bounces up to me with said book and asks me outright
‘Mummy, who is V?’ I swallowed hard. She knows her Mummy is adopted. Well now actually ,thanks to the control freak tendancies of my own Mother knows pretty much chapter and verse about it all..but that’s another red mist for another day.
However , as I am myself only comfortable taking this process in bite size portions, I feel it fair to afford the same to my child. So you can imagine my complete fury when I read the following hand written note on the inside first page of this beautifully written book
I really hope you enjoy this book as it is written for special little girls just like you!
Take care, lots of love and Hugs from
Who could blame my child for asking? I would have too! She knew I was visiting Manchester with my Earth Angel, whose initial is not V! So both me and Hubby were shocked at the underhanded way control had been exacted yet again. Neither of us were happy about this one at all!
Having had this discussion yet again at that last fateful visit I couldnt belive this was happening. She had ample opportunity to warn me, to say Oh I didnt think , but I put a little note in the gift, you might want to cover it? Nothing. Nada. Not a hint
So that is why I was pissed off….I immediately messaged and asked her what was the plan? It had done nothing but cause upset and was creating unnecessary curiosity which I was not in a frame of mind to deal with. Her reply? Again no apology, no suggestion she saw anything wrong in it .‘ What did I write? (really???) and “I didn’t think it would do any harm!!.
Therefore she a) knew exactly what she had written and b) knew there was a risk it would do harm and c) didn’t even respect me enough to bloody warn me!? . Another red flag is waving madly at me from inside my head…that attic room is filling up rapidly now…
Is it me? Do I trust too much? How easy can I be controlled by these two women? Do they both honestly think they own me? What right do they both think they have to run roughshod over my wishes, my feelings and all that I believe to be mine and my own to decide?.
Sadly, as I tell you often, forgiveness is not my strong point and I was finding this one particularly difficult to swallow. No way was I able to explain this away easily . So maybe that was the plan…as it was so tricky to cover over perhaps the whole facts were what VS thought I would find easier and in doing so introduce her to her biological grand child. Over my dead body was how I felt at that point. Still do, if I am honest but not to such a strong degree.
Ironically I was stupid enough to give my Mother the low down and did ring her from Manchester in tears…more fool me..she was initially very understanding and bouyed by the fact I reached out to lean on her despite the silence on the subject. However when I relayed the issue of the note in the book I got ‘ Well what did you expect! she is bound to want to meet her biological grandchild’ I was therefore scolded for even thinking that this was unreasonable ….by the very woman who willed my BM to be located in the Obits? Really??? Confusing isn’t it!..Like my Mother doesn’t know how to even support me after the display of vitriol, yet she almost shows support for her nemesis rather than her own daughter. Must confuse her as much as it does me….Well that was the very last time I ever mentioned Adoption, or was drawn into the subject with my Mother. If it is raised I cut her dead with the promise we have nothing to discuss on the matter ever again.
Sad as that sounds , it really is cool by me…..and I wont apologise for my honesty as its how it is, how it was and how it feels so if there aren’t enough laughs , you need to read Lynda Bellingham Ha!
So another lesson learned…a simple one. DO NOT TRUST a stranger. I can honestly say I feel affection and look forward to our next meeting but it would never happen again in her home. Not Ever. That ship has sailed twice…and for all who sail in her , I wish them well!
Thanks for Reading
Lots of Love