Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Letter to Zoey's First Mom

Dear Victoria,

I know it's time to write you again because I've been having dreams about you. I dream of sitting in the hospital room and talking to you. I'm sitting by the window and you are propped up on the bed. The light is grey -- either pre-dawn or a winter afternoon. The air and the dream itself feels heavy -- my body strains under it, tries to stay whole. In the dream I try and convince you to write to us, to talk to us -- even just a little. I try and tell you that Zoey will have questions. What's your favorite color? Who's your favorite princess? Do you like peas?

I have no right to ask you for more, more than you have already given. But I do it anyway. I ask you for a picture. I imagine Zoey staring at the picture and seeing parts of herself in a way that she will never see in me -- her eyes, the curve of her chin, the way you hold your hands. In the dream you talk to me like a friend -- smiling, laughing too loud until you cry, some silences.

In real life, I only had 12 minutes with you. You stayed closed off and I wondered if you liked me, if you trusted me. Your emptiness filled up the room, quietly sneaking into to all the corners, pressing against the glass of the windows, and seeping out under the crack in the door. But your face stayed careful -- careful not to give anything away. I tried to remember everything to tell Zoey later: the red jello on your hospital tray was untouched, your ankles were crossed under the thin blanket on the bed, you had on a black track jacket with yellow stripes down the sides. Your voice was gentle. Your were surprised when I asked if I could give you a hug.

I did not ever see you cry. But I cried. After they wheeled you away. Your cut medical bracelet was left on the table. We were given new plastic bracelets to match Zoey. 'Baby Girl' on all 3 of our wrists. But no longer on yours. I went into a back room with broken down medical equipment and crooked blinds and cried. And cried.

Do you read the letters I send? Do you look at the pictures? Do you think we are doing a good job? Do you like princesses? Do you like peas? Do you?

Write back. Please write back.



  1. Geez...I'm just all in tears. (Damon is making fun of me). Extra hugs for my kids tonight. It's so awesome that you adopted Zozo and that you want to answer these questions for her. Your love for her shows in so many ways.

  2. Thats beautiful, Jos. Thank you for that. You're doing a great job, I can tell... even from here.

  3. That was the sweetest and most poignant thing I have ever read. There are going to be so many things both you and Zoey will want to ask. Maybe you could write them all down as they come up. You could hang on to that list with the idea that one day you could ask Victoria all of them. Even if you never got to actually ask the questions, it would be a neat exercise for you and Zoey (and interesting to look back on someday)...

  4. Wow, what a powerful piece! This is so very touching and strong. I really like the line: Your face stayed careful. And the image of emptiness having so much substance it seeps. Wow! Powerful stuff!

  5. Wow. Dare I say there might be a book in here?

  6. Wow. Having read Carla's blog and Stinkerbells, Zozo's Mom was the obvious continuation. I've been gobbling your blog-posts like candy, giggling, sighing, nodding, carrying my laptop to my husband to show him a post, uh-huhing, and OMGing (Barbie). This one merits quiet pause to allow it to flow into feeling-space. Oh, so moved, and mindful of how blessed your daughter is.