I need to write about our 4th of July fun, and I still have more Chasing Pteronarcella to post, but I wanted to take a minute for something else first. The 4th of July is mostly about barbecues, family, summer, and fireworks for me just like it is for you, but during quiet moments I always find my mind wandering back to Romania, thinking about the July 4th of 2003.
I find myself imagining a mother (Maria is her name) giving birth to a baby boy and there are so many questions I want to ask her. I wonder about how old she was, if she gave birth to him in a hospital or at home, and if there was anyone around her to give her support. I wonder if his father was there or if she had been left alone. I wonder if she had other children, if that baby boy had any siblings that he would never meet. I wonder if the mother's heart broke when she first set her eyes on him because she already knew that she would be unable to care for him. I wonder if she thought he was the most beautiful baby she had ever seen, or if it was too painful for her to have those thoughts, knowing what was ahead. I wonder how long she held him before she left, or if she even held him at all. I imagine her facing the impossible task of saying goodbye to her baby boy, her kissing his perfect cheeks one last time, the tears that had to have been streaming down her face, the agony she must have been in. Did she know she wouldn't ever see him again, or did she hold on to hope that maybe one day she would be able to come back for him and raise him? Did she know he'd be going to an orphanage, or did she think that perhaps there would be a foster home and adoption in his future?
I don't know the story of how she left him and he came to be an orphan, but I do know that she was the one who gave him his beautiful name, that she was the first one to call him George. I know that he grew into the most beautiful baby boy, that his eyes were bright blue, that he fell asleep readily in my arms, and that I loved him like he was mine. His mother couldn't have known that her baby boy would impact my life so deeply, that still, six years after I saw him for the last time, I would sit and cry, wondering about where he was, hoping and praying that he was okay. I imagine her crying for him, too. She couldn't have known that one day I would give birth to a baby boy of my own, that he was due to come on a July 4th, too, and that I would choose the same name for my son as she had chosen for hers. She couldn't have known that a picture of her George would sit in a frame on the bookshelf in my George's room, and that my three-year old George would shed tender tears of sadness as he heard the story of her George not having a family or home.
I daydream about meeting George's mother. I imagine hugging her tight, and I imagine us both embracing her boy that we love so fiercely. I imagine us being so much more alike than we are different, and I imagine asking her to forgive me for once being angry with her, for once, in fits of agony myself, asking (no one in particular) how she could have abandoned her child. I imagine us understanding each other. I imagine the pain of her past being cleansed, her son's grief and loneliness and heartache being swallowed up, and them being able to be a family. I will live next door with my family, and our Georges will be brothers.
On July 4th I celebrated Independence Day, but I also celebrated a little boy turning 8 years old. I said a prayer for him, that wherever he is he feels love, that whatever his life is like he has peace. Oh how I wonder about him. One day I'll know.
These first few photos are of my Romania Georgie that first year that I met and fell in love with him in the hospital.
And these are from the second year I lived in Romania when George miraculously ended up in the orphanage I was working in. I couldn't believe his curly hair. The first picture is from the last time I held him and said goodbye (he's wearing a shirt my mom sent for him), and the second picture is from the last time I saw him, when I happened to catch a glimpse of him outside with the maintenance man painting pesticide on the trees. I miss him.