A question I continue to hide from, but one that always seems to find me.
So, I’m in a restaurant. I’m sitting in a booth with friends. I’m having a great time. But every so often, I find myself staring at a particular table across the room. Every sound is tuned out. Every thing but the table is a blur. And all of these thoughts start pouring in.
But before I go into those many troubling thoughts, I must explain what it is about the table that caught my attention. You see, at this table is a woman and what I presume to be her children. What they were doing is not important, because it’s not what they were doing that intrigued me. It’s who they were.
This was a Chinese family. If you have no clue who I am, the significance lies in the fact that I’m also Chinese. More importantly, I was adopted into a Caucasian family.
This is the first time I truly looked at a family of my ethnicity and thought, what if that was me? One of those children with biological siblings and a biological mom. To sit around a table with faces like mine. I make jokes about how I look like my adoptive family too — how I have their eyes, nose and hair. But I know behind those jokes lies a sad, revealing truth about how I really feel.
There are so many more “what if” questions I could share, but I think you get the point.
The more I thought about these questions, the more depressed I got about the matter altogether. And in the end, I have drawn this conclusion: “what if” is the worst question to ask.
This kind of question evokes thoughts you have been trying so hard not to let surface. It consumes your mind. It disrupts the train of thought that has been chugging along quite nicely up until that moment. And then, if it wins you over, you get this crazy notion to pursue the answer to that question. And that’s dangerous.
There is a reason people don’t go searching for the answer. Not only is it comfortable and safe, it also saves you from possible disappointment and heartache. The answer could be the answer you want, but that also means it could be the answer you really don’t want.
Because of this, I will keep a good distance between me and the table from across the room. That life I might have had.
I think I will always be curious about my biological parents. That’s the power of the unknown. It’s an inevitable curiosity. But I am fine with not knowing. I don’t need to. I have a good family.
They may not look like me, but I can still see myself in them. The happiness in their eyes is the one in mine. Our noses are different shapes, but they function the same: smelling out the home-cooked meals in the kitchen. And our skin is not the same color, but it wears the same love from all the hugs we’ve shared and the shoulders we’ve cried on.
And that is all I could ask for.
Until next time,
peace and love,