Do you have a favorite place? A place that reminds you of special occasions? A place memories were made? When you walk in to that place you are flooded with emotions? For me it is Caribou Coffee shops. While I am a HUGE coffee drinker, Caribou is special to me for something other than coffee. My old neighbor – a young girl who I look at as a daughter used to work there. She gave me this mug and would bring me coffee. I use this mug when I want to write, sit on the computer and browse, have a relaxing afternoon pick me up coffee or reflect on why this coffee chain is so important to me.
Seven years ago I found my birth son on Facebook – realized we had a friend in common – my neighbor girl – they worked together at Caribou. Small world that of all the people in the world, our common thread was Jennifer…this young lady who baby sat my girls, who confided in me, who became like a daughter to me and lived right next door.
After I found my birth son – we got to know each other a bit through email….then it was time for us to meet. He picked Caribou. I still remember it as if it was yesterday – the nervousness of meeting this young man that I had given birth to 22 years prior and had never held. We spent the afternoon there talking, getting to know one another – noticing the similarities between us. It is hard taking 22 years and playing 20 questions. It is a day I will never forget and means the world to me. It was the start of a relationship and the road to healing for me.
After a few years I decided to write my journey down – my journey of becoming a mom – including teen pregnancy, infertility and then adopting my girls. This slowly went from a blog to a book. One of my favorite chapters I wrote at Caribou. I was having writers block at home and decided to go there to write…I remember sitting at a table typing and crying. It was therapeutic for me. I needed to put into words 22+ years of feelings and thoughts that I had tucked away…tucked away thinking that I was ok. But the reality was, I wasn’t.
Flash ahead to present day….I have a beautiful relationship with my son. But in the back of my head and the top of my heart I think about his REAL mom all the time. How lucky that he was to have her as his mom. But also knowing that the idea of me is a constant reminder to her that he came from me. I can understand her pain and discomfort of my relationship with him – I have two daughters that both have birth mommas. But their birth mommas are a world away in South Korea. My son is getting married next month and I will be face to face with his whole family….not knowing how I will be received. It makes me anxious. We decided that the moms needed to meet before the showers and weddings took place. Where did we decide on?? Caribou Coffee.
Once again I was an anxious mess, so nervous, so not sure how it would all go. I am pretty easy going but this time I was a wreck! I would be meeting my son’s real mother….the woman who raised him, got to have all the important milestones with him, the person he called “mom”. I was ok with all that….I was so fearful she would not like me….that it would be a painful reminder to her….that she would be even more uneasy with my relationship with this young man we shared. I walked in…(we were dressed alike!!) She stood up and hugged me. I felt that was a good sign. I had only one goal for that meeting (after breaking the ice) – to have her leave there knowing that I respect her so very much, I know that she is his mom and that my choices and decisions back when he was a baby were because I wanted SO MUCH for him….and though my plan didn’t go as expected, he got everything I ever wanted for him. I wanted her to leave there knowing I am a good person, I know the boundaries and the undrawn line in the sand and respect that. We spent an hour talking, laughing and being nervous. We ended our meeting with a hug. I cried on the way home hoping she would find peace. I know I am a reminder to her of where he really came from….luckily I can understand that.
My story has come full circle….I still cant believe this journey I have been on. I thank God everyday that I can have a relationship with Joshua and be part of his life. Funny how a coffee shop chain has been part of this incredible journey!