guest post by: Alicia Anthony
My life has been full of second chances. When I stupidly practiced parallel parking between the orange cones set up in the parking lot of the Ohio BMV right before attempting the driving portion of my driver’s exam, I received a second chance. (I swear I never saw the sign that said “No Practicing”.) I had to wait a month, but the time came, and I passed with flying colors.
When I unwisely withdrew from the acting program at the University of Southern California to follow a boy to San Jose, I got a second chance. My parents footed the bill for me to spend a summer in Los Angeles following my dream. It didn’t work out like I planned, but I’ll always be grateful for the closure that second chance gave me.
When I decided that being an advertising media specialist wasn’t for me, I got a plethora of chances, trying talent scout, car salesperson, and substitute teacher, before finally settling in as an elementary school Reading Specialist.
So, in 2000, when I was preparing for the arrival of my daughter, I never thought the opportunity that presented itself would be so fleeting. An email arrived in my inbox from a woman I’d never met, a woman claiming to be my birth mother. Pregnancy hormones raging, I was totally unprepared for the outcome of what I initiated several years before. I put my name into the national adoptee database. I wanted to know the people who had given me a second chance at a better life. I wanted this opportunity. But frankly, once it became a reality, I was scared to death.
After some brief emails and several cards and letters, I let the opportunity pass. Our correspondence seemed to drift away like a summer breeze. It wasn’t long after Christmas in 2010 when I got another unexpected letter. This one was from my sister. My birth mother had passed away.
The opportunity to ever meet her was gone. Had I but known there would be no second chance, I would have gratefully accepted the opportunity I had to meet my birth mother. I had the opportunity that many adoptees dream of. I could have thanked this woman face to face. She selflessly made one of the hardest decisions of her life in order to make mine better, and I pushed the opportunity away simply because of fear. Fear of what? I still can’t answer that question.
I have learned something from all this, however. Life is fleeting. Tell those you care about how you feel about them before the chance escapes you. Some opportunities offer no second chances, and you just never know which opportunities will have an expiration date.
Alicia Anthony was raised in the small town of London, Ohio and now works as a K-3 literacy specialist for her alma mater. She is currently pursuing her dream of writing through Spalding University’s Low-Residency MFA program. She lives in Jeffersonville, Ohio with her husband, Doug, and daughter, Jillian. In her free time she can be found at the local movie theatre, curled up on the sofa with a good book, or in the barn taking care of the family’s three horses, thirteen chickens, ten cats, two dogs, and a rabbit. She maintains a blog at alicia-anthony.com called The Road Less Taken. Thank you, Alicia, for honoring us with this beautiful and transparent window into your life story.
PS: If you have a few more moments to spare, I'd love for you to stop by my guest post today over at Nested. I promise not to keep you long, but maybe while you're there, have a cup of coffee, say hi, leave a comment and tell me I didn't completely make a fool of myself. You know, the usual. My love to you all!
Wonderful post, Alicia. Such heart. And so beautifully written.ReplyDelete
And Anna, we're almost ready for your brilliance! Stay tuned!
Eeeee!!! Thanks, Kate!Delete
Thank you so much Katie!Delete
what a thought provoking post. I have an adopted daughter (mother did not give her up, she was neglected at birth and removed from the home), and I'm not sure how I feel about her looking for her birth mother. That time will probably come way too soon for me.ReplyDelete
My (adoptive) mother was not crazy about the idea, but she was always very open and honest with me and tried her best to support me, even when the choices I made were ones that hurt her. When I was in high school she drove me out to the town where I was born and we poked around in cemeteries looking for names of people I might have been related to. The fact that she was there for me, meant more than she'll ever know. I'm glad you commented... I think I have some words of appreciation that are meant for my mother.Delete
This is a great post Alicia and such an important message to hear. Thank you for your openness and beautiful writing.ReplyDelete
Hey Alicia, thank you for sharing such an honest and open story. Thank you too for reminder of is most important.ReplyDelete
Thank you for your kind words, Liza!Delete
Hi, Alicia :)I have an adopted grandson. His mother is a drug addict and his father gave him to my son with a garbage bag of clothes then walked away. Some day my grandson might want to know these two people and if he does, all of us will support him in his decision, but we'll all be worried he will get hurt. Blood ties run deep, but perhaps you were protecting yourself and your family from pain and disappointment. Sometimes that is our best option in the long run.ReplyDelete
I enjoyed your post.
Thanks so much for your comment, you truly hit the nail on the head when you spoke about protecting oneself from disappointment. In retrospect I think that is exactly what I was doing. Although blood ties do run deep, the mother and dad who raised me will always be my true parents. Thanks for reading!Delete
Thank you for sharing your story. You have given us a powerful reminder, and I am now thinking about what I might need to learn here. Sometimes there seems to be no answer to the question, "why?" Maybe that is okay. Beautiful post.
Thanks for your comment, Stevie. As a firm believer that all things happen for a reason, I often wonder if I was meant to pass up the opportunity I had to meet my birth mother. Perhaps it was so I would appreciate those in my life that much more. I do think it has helped me achieve that end. However, why she had to pass away and leave my young half-siblings motherless escapes my grasp. Thanks again for your kind words!Delete