So, I was snuggling with my son last night as he fought sleep, reading the dramatic ending of Dan Savage's The Kid, when I started crying. I do get emotionally invested in books, but usually all that amounts to is screaming at them, hurling them across the room, and occasionally clutching my heart. Yes, the P & G commercials during the Olympics made me well up, but they also had string accompaniment. Rarely, do books make me cry.
It was in the chapter The Logic of Open Adoption where I lost it. The tension was mounting. Dan and Terry were going to leave the hospital with their newborn, adopted baby . . . probably. The "gutter punk" birth mom, Melissa, was growing more sullen as the impending hour drew near. She had signed the papers terminating her parental rights, but she also spent more time holding and staring at the baby. Dan and Terry were extremely sensitive to her, allowing as much time as she needed alone with the baby, but they also worried that she'd renege at the last minute, which she had every right to do in the state of Oregon. The agency social worker mediated the transition "ceremony" where the guys gave Melissa an ID bracelet that they had engraved with the baby's birth name and date, as well as a photo album of hospital pics. No one anticipated Melissa's gut-wrenching breakdown the moment the baby left the room. The guys held it together until they reached their rental car and then sobbed. Worried that the social worker's car might be parked near theirs, they hightailed it out of the hospital garage and then sobbed some more at their hotel. Savage said he was so glad that they decided to do an open adoption because now he knew that when his son questioned whether or not his birth mom loved him, he could tell him, with full honesty, that she did. Savage is a master at juxtaposing the irreverent with the poignant. It never comes across as forced or smug.
My son was almost asleep, past the book-smacking, chattery tired phase he was in when I first put him down, so he didn't see the tears rolling down my cheeks. And even though he had been an utter pain just half and hour prior, I felt very lucky to be laying there with him.