Thursday, March 18, 2010

Confessions of an Online Stalker

I am an online stalker.

Oh, it's nothing to feel creeped out about. I'm just a silent stalker (that sounds like a good name for a racehorse). By this, I mean I google a certain name every now and then. If I find a new photograph posted of him, I download it and save it on my desktop. I saw he visited Australia once with a People to People educational group. I see that he wrestles on his high school team. I wonder how he's doing, whether his mom ever got involved in a new relationship and if he has a new mom (or even a dad) as a consequence.

He's my son.

I don't know if he still thinks of me as a mom. But, he'll always be my son to me. I helped select the donor that contributed half of his genes. I was the first to hold him when he was born. For the first week he was home, I was pretty much the one who changed his diapers and showed his biological mom how to do it. It was my job to make up his next day's bottles every night. His mom and I took turns feeding him at night until, finally, blissfully, he started sleeping through the night around six months old. It was Mama Joyce who used to rock him to sleep every night by singing him "The Twelve Days of Christmas," even in the middle of July. I participated in every aspect of his life for his first three and a half years.

Then his mom and I broke up, as it happens sometimes. I fully intended to remain a part of his life, and at first so did his mother. But then, for whatever reason (she's never actually disclosed it to me), she changed her mind. No doubt there is some reason she decided that was the best thing for them; she just would never tell me what it was, only that I should leave them alone.

At first, baffled, I called only to be told she wouldn't get him to come to the phone. Finally she just stopped answering the phone. So I wrote him letters, mailing some (never returned, never answered) and keeping others, thinking as soon as his mom got her senses back, I'd send them along. I mailed Christmas and birthday presents. To this day I have no idea if she ever gave them to him. I wrote impassioned pleas to his mother to not shut him out of my life. I apologized for the awful things I'd done and shouldered the blame for things that weren't all my fault. Friends counseled me to sue for visitation. But the fact was that I, living in California, had no legal footing since I'd been advised, upon his birth, to wait until the political climate in Ohio was better before I applied for a second parent adoption. Having no money as a graduate student and no legal status to sue in a conservative state, I had to settle for waiting it out, hoping, ever hoping, his mother would have a change of heart.

It's never happened. He's sixteen now, and if it weren't for me being a silent stalker, I'd have no idea what he even looks like, have no idea his nickname is "Big D." And I wonder if he mistrusts adults, thinking his Mama Joyce abandoned him and broke her promise to come back and visit and take him to the zoo. Does he ever think of me? Or has he just shrugged me off, believing me to be the asshole who fought with his mother and was a lost, alcoholic soul who dropped her life to go find herself in California? And who never came back?

There is no happy ending to this story. I've made myself pretty easy to find online should he ever go hunting. I know he's on Facebook, but he's ignored my "friend" request. I know I don't want to cause strife or unrest in his household. So, I sit quietly and wait. It may remain this way forever.

But David, if you're listening, this door is always open.

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