Once a year we send a letter to Pickle’s birth parents. It’s hard putting pen to paper under these circumstances. I dread it. I feel terrible saying that, but I genuinely dread it. It takes the consumption of 23 cups of tea and the resistance of a rather strong urge to take up smoking before my writer’s block dissipates. I wander aimlessly around the house trying to muster up the courage and inspiration. I deliberate for hours over the composition of this one-page, fiddly letter. I use the largest font I can get away with, so I can write less. I type draft upon draft. Writing things. Deleting things. Writing things. Deleting things. Over-analysing every single syllable of every single word.
The hardest part is suppressing the natural desire to openly gush about all the wonderful things that Pickle has achieved in his time with us. All the giant strides he has made to get to where he is now.
I want to be able to say that he has landed himself the starring role in this year’s Spring concert. He has to pretend to climb a beanstalk n’ everything! He’s going to be up on that stage, name in neon lights, audience fawning over his A list performance, hanging on to his every word….ahem. (I’m brimming with pride about this, as you can tell!).
I want to tell them all the humorous anecdotes he comes out with. I want to tell them how, at school ‘news time’, the other kids all roll their eyes when it’s his turn to speak, knowing that they’re going to have to sit, arms-folded-legs-crossed-fingers-on-lips, for however long it takes for Pickle to stumble over his long-winded, generally pointless stories. I want to tell them how stubborn and obstinate he is at times and how his dogged determination is the most infuriating, yet awe-inspiring, aspect of his character.
But the letter is short and superficial. I make sure I include such things he has learned; the alphabet, riding a bike without stabilisers, swimming without armbands. I tell them that he’s happy and healthy, that he’s polite and caring, that he’s developing and growing well. It’s generally unemotional in style and expression, but I find it impossible not to get emotional when sitting in front of the computer screen. The unavoidable watery eyeballs and attractive dripping nose are there in their full glory.
It’s important to me that I write the letter as though I am Pickle’s birth mother reading it. I try to put myself in her shoes and imagine how she must be feeling as she reads my letter. I refrain from being too filled with excitement and motherly joy. I hate the thought that I may cause any more pain and upset than is already likely to be firmly in her heart. I try to be factual and informative, yet light-hearted and friendly. It’s essential that I respect her feelings as Pickle’s tummy mummy, and that both his birth parents know that we are looking after Pickle to the best of our abilities and loving him with all our hearts.
Whatever the circumstances that Pickle is no longer with his birth parents, I have them to thank for my gorgeous boy.
It’s that time again….here goes…