My blog just celebrated its six-month anniversary and in honor of that milestone, I have given my friend Karen the opportunity to write her perspective as a guest blogger. She knows me very well from the hours we have spent together walking on and off the golf course, and the years we have spent as close friends. We met in junior high school, attended the same university and joined the same sorority, she joined Microsoft a year after I started working there (I only lasted ten years and she stayed for twenty), she was my maid-of-honor in my wedding, and we now live 15 houses apart. We have watched our kids grow up together, celebrated birthdays by the dozens together, and have both lost dear parents to cancer.
Her genuine surprise after reading early versions of my soon-to-be-published book about my daughter’s adoption, as well as my ChildDrenched posts, was legendary. She was shocked at what I had silently suffered after my mother’s death 18 years ago. Her honest comments resonated with me and I asked her to write them down. Here is what she had to say, in her own words:
The other day, I pulled out a stained recipe card entitled “Patty’s Mom’s Lasagna”. Every time I make this family favorite recipe, I think to myself, I really have to rewrite this onto a new card. It is faded and has tomato sauce stains on it. I guess that’s what happens after 30 years of use. That’s how long ago I asked Patty’s mother for the recipe and have been making it for my family ever since.
Patty’s mom, Merielle, was a kind, thoughtful and lovely person. I have memories of Merielle that span a long period of time, dating back to when Patty and I were in high school and college, eating lunch in the Microsoft cafeteria, and continuing through wedding and baby showers. I even have a little framed picture of my son, who is now 22 years old, wearing an adorable little teddy bear outfit that Merielle gave to me when he was born.
Patty and her mom had a relationship that transcended what I consider to be the traditional mother and daughter relationship. They were more like best friends or sisters. Merielle was Patty’s biggest fan, her support system and her confident. They had a very special bond and most of Patty’s good friends knew it.
Following the passing of Merielle, Patty seemed to be fulfilled with her husband and two boys. To me it seemed like she was very happy. I did not know of the pain and suffering she was feeling in not conceiving more children. Patty was very private about this and so while I was enjoying my own family, having both a son and daughter, I never knew the depths of sadness, loss and longing Patty was feeling in not having a daughter. I find it hard to put my finger on the difference in a relationship with a son versus a daughter. You love both with all your heart yet, there is something so unique about each.
When the surprise announcement came that Patty and Jon had adopted a baby girl, I was stunned! How could my close friend not have mentioned this to me? How could it be that no one in our community of friends knew about it? After they brought Sophie home, Patty was more at ease talking about the years that they had spent with infertility and the frustration they had felt in not being able to have more children, specifically a daughter.
Now when I see Patty with her daughter, I can see the joy she brings to her life and the balance her presence has brought to their family. I am also happy for Sophie because she has truly been blessed with a mother, father and brothers who love her with all their hearts. She has helped to finally fill the void in Patty’s life after Merielle passed away. Although Sophie never got to meet her grandmother, Patty is teaching her everyday about unconditional love and continuing to build the same bond that she had with her own mother.
Maybe one day I will sit down and rewrite the recipe, but instead of its title being “Patty’s Mom’s Lasagna”, I will call it “Sophie’s Grandmother’s Lasagna”.