The Red Thread

21 Feb

An old Chinese Proverb states that “An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The red thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.”

I came across this while reading an article in Good Housekeeping Magazine (yes… ok?? I read Good Housekeeping, and I can tell you how to get super glue off your ring or that yellow stain out of your polyester jacket).

There is a book by Ann Hood that was published last year called “The Red Thread.” Its a novel based on her experiences with adopting a Chinese girl into her family.

Now, according to my extensive Wikipedia Search research, this proverb is actually meant to apply to two lovers, much as we Westerners would apply the term “soul mate.”  I don’t know if I believe in one particular soul mate, but I suppose it’s a convenient theory.  Maybe a blog for another day?

Anyway,  I really want to read this book now.   The author has taken the idea of the ‘soul mate’ and extended it to parents and children. This concept resonates with me so much deeper than the idea of a lover/husband/ partner.  “No matter how tangled or frayed the thread becomes, our child is waiting for us at the other end.”  As a mother, I love this notion.  As someone who struggled with infertility, I have to acknowledge others that are doing so at this very moment, and tell them to hang onto this doctrine… even if by a thread.  😉  As the wife of someone who was adopted, I live this truth every day of my life.

I remember when we were thinking of what to name Bea, we tossed around several names.  I liked Ruby, Ramona and Amelia, just to name a few.  I didn’t want my child to be one of five, ten or however many in her class (In the 70’s, Carrie and its many versions was a common name, and I had two other girls on my very BLOCK of the same name and spelling).  Granted, Carrie was no Jennifer, but I always knew I’d lean towards an older and unique name.

We obviously settled on Beatrice.  Baby Bea we called her.  And now I look at her and she simply can’t be anyone else.  She’s always been Bea.  Since I was a child, she was waiting for me on the other end.  I look at the relationship she has with my mother and could conceivably take that thread back even farther to before I was born.  She was waiting for my mom at the end of their thread too.

When you look at your child, don’t you just say “ah, THERE you are?”  I didn’t feel that the minute I laid eyes on her… I’ll be honest.  That sentiment was clouded by stitches, epidurals, hunger, thirst, pain and exhaustion.  But I do now.  This is how someone once described the feeling of having a second child to me.  She said, “You wonder after your first how you can possibly find room in your heart to love another as much, and then when they are born, your heart opens up and you say ‘oh, so THAT’s how it feels.'”  And PS no I am not pregnant.  Just stream of consciousness blogging and a tasty microbrew on this fine evening.

Does this concept ring true to you too?

My sister-in-law, Christy, gave birth to her baby boy yesterday.  When we say “welcome to the club,” this is what we mean.  Now she understands that he has been there all along.  “The parent club,” isn’t just about diapers, poop and sleepless nights, but gosh sharing those fun times with others does make it a bit easier.   No, the ‘club,’ is about realizing how interconnected the universe is, and how our world is just a tiny little piece of something so much bigger that we’ll never even be able to understand a fraction of.    I described it once as walking through a glass door.  On one side of the door, you look through, and you see a part of what’s going on.  But it’s not until you are on the other side–the parent side– that you understand what it truly is like.  And once you are through that door, you can’t go back.  You can still peek back into that other room, the one where you didn’t have any kids.  Your friends that don’t have kids are still there.  And the world looks so much different to them than the way you see it.  And you remember those days.  You sometimes even remember them fondly, and wish you could have them back (especially when your kid is 18 months-4 years… or so I’m told…haha).  But you are a part of something bigger now.

This blog started out as a blog on fertility, and I do still want to tell that story.  But that’s one part of the bigger story, and that is the story of being a parent. Because I’m learning and realizing that parents and children come in all shapes and sizes.  Its not the way the thread is weaved, its who is on the other end that counts.   A parent is a parent.  Love is love.  So congrats to Christy on finding Jesse this week.   He has been waiting a lifetime to meet her.  🙂

2 Responses to “The Red Thread”

  1. brooke at 6:34 am #

    Simply amazing

  2. Karin at 2:43 pm #

    Preach it, girl. This post gets a gold star.

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