I don’t believe I’m psychic in any sense, although I have been considered para-normal. Perhaps situations I’ve seen in hindsight as foreshadowing are not predestined patterns but Fig Newtons of my imagination.
For instance, sometimes I wonder if my new daughter-in-law is the girl I had intended to adopt some forty-four years ago while in first grade.
Across the school yard I saw her, a sloe-eyed stranger with yards of patent-leather-black hair touching to the waistband of her dove grey uniform and ruler-straight bangs framing a rosy-cheeked roundy-face. I slyly sauntered closer, shyly circling until she noticed me.
Uncharacteristically undaunted by her enigmatic expression, I politely proffered friendship with a discernable smile. She stared back silently. I persisted with my playground pleasantries until I found out she did not know English yet. She was the newly arrived member of the McCormac family, adopted from Korea. I immediately wondered how she might fit in to an already formulated family of ten Irishmen; and how they got her? They called her LuLu, short for Louisa. And although our fledgling friendship fizzled, my fascination never did.
That Halloween when my older sister decided to dress me as a China-doll, I was wind-up compliant. She went for an all-out authentic look; spraying my chin-length chestnut hair lacquer-black, snipping even-edged forehead fringe and painting on Asian-almond eyes.
Outfitted in aqua-blue silk pajamas and cotton cloth slippers my character came to life. I considered my encounter with the little girl from Korea no accident. I would have traded trick-or-treating to take a bow in front of her. I decided that I too would like to adopt a daughter from Seoul someday.
While negotiating family size with my first husband, I divulged my childish idea that no matter how many kids he insisted on, I reserved one spot for a Korean daughter.
Divorced and a decade later, upon meeting my future step-son’s high school sweetheart, I wistfully recalled my girlish plan. Commenting on her placid manner and delicate Eastern features I ventured a questioning guess whether she was Japanese “No,” he said “she’s adopted from Korea.”
As I muddled through remarriage, she was an unbiased buoy in a choppy sea of unfamiliarity. Her calm, consistent conversation and respectful deference, implying she felt it was natural I should be there, helped me stay afloat while holding down the home-front.
This past year, during their pre-wedding festivities, I embraced the opportunity to be available to play a ‘motherly’-of-the-groom’ role. It was a healing experience.
Tim and Lauren have been together since I arrived on the scene and I had developed an equal interest in both their individual well-being and couple-happiness. At the meticulously appointed Bridesmaid Breakfast she hosted, Lauren presented me with a custom made ‘Mother’s Love’ necklace, depicting a winged-bird hovering above a golden-wired nest in which rests four robin-blue eggs, one for each of my three step-children, Tim, Mark and Shanna; nestled upon them she placed a slightly larger Pearl, representing my daughter, Amie. She had included herself as the fourth blue egg, with an accompanying hand scripted note: “…and am glad to be part of your nest now too!” With one fell swoop she made it all right, all worth it.
At that brunch, I learned her original name for the first time: Han Bo Reum. She said, “I was told it means Open Window.” The title, a magic incantation, swiftly sprouted the sesame-seed I’d planted at seven, as I realized, God had not closed the door on my dream, my adopted daughter from Korea had finally arrived.
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Biographical Note for Katie Rose Convery:
I live with my husband in the western suburbs of
Philadelphia, am a mother, step-mother, grandmother and mother-in-law. A
longtime fan of poetry, I still thrill to the first poem I learned in
first grade – Baby Chick by Aileen Fischer – “Peck, peck, peck on
the warm brown egg….” See Author Index Poetry for more of Katie's poems.