No, we weren’t close, my mother and me. I feel guilty, even though there is very little I could have done about it. The one incident I remember:
After cleaning up the dinner dishes — I was about thirteen — and loading the dishwasher, I said, “I’m just so lonely.” We hugged, a long hug. We lived far out in the country — I had no brothers or sisters. No neighbors. I wished I had a brother or sister and I said so.
“Why didn’t you adopt?” I asked after she said she wished there were more children too. I’d never felt so close to her.
“Well, you know,” she explained, “when you adopt a child, you really don’t know what you’re getting. These babies, they don’t always come from the right sort of people.”
Slowly, I pulled myself away from the hug and never hugged her again fully, not until a few months before she died.
How could she look at babies like that?
No, we weren’t close.