It is my birthday today. It is a day that as I grew older I realized someone I do not even know is, if she is still alive, thinking of me- my birthmother.
She is the only one that knew what I was like as a tiny baby. If I was born naturally or cesarean. If I was breast fed or took a bottle. If I liked being rocked. Why she chose the name she gave me. If anyone else in her family has eyes that turn teal, green or blue depending on what they are wearing. If she had ever considered abortion. Only she knows why she walked away one day, left with me friends and did not return. I do not know if she continued to parent her other child or went on to have more. Only she knows why she chose not to parent me.
And I am truly o.k. with all of that. I am not resentful. I do not feel a loss. I do feel sad, but only for her because as a mother now myself, I cannot imagine- even in the worst circumstances the feeling of shutting a car door and depressing the gas pedal, knowing you are driving away from your child- not to return. I do not choose to feel abandoned but instead to feel blessed that at 14 months old, I was adopted and did know a different life than I would have, had she continued to parent.
I do not know what I was like as a baby or when many of my “firsts” occurred. That is o.k.- I WANT YOU ALL TO KNOW that no matter the age you adopt a child, there are ALWAYS firsts you will share with them and they will be no less special or important.
I do not know where my original name came from. I have a different name then I did when she drove away that day. When I was adopted my parents named me after their mothers. I will say, I am fortunate to know what my original name was as there are some adoptees that do not know and would like to. It has never been that important to me, but perhaps it is because I have it and had I not known it would bother me. I do not feel a connection to that name. It is not who I am. I am glad my parents immediately wanted to share with me the history and succession of family- the connection by name and love.
I do not know where I got my blue green eyes, my muscular calves or who I have to thank for having to start coloring my hair in my 20’s but that is not ever something I have needed. I did not need someone else to look like me, but some adoptees do feel a loss of that. I am thankful I was carried to term. Thankful my birthmother, foster parents and parents all cared for me. I know where my love for musical theater came from, why I giggle so hard when someone flares their nostrils and why my great grandmother who had countless rooms upstairs always wanted us to sleep on a palate in her room—it is another kind of love, a connection beyond biology—it is family.
I do not know why my birthmother made all of the choices she did. Ultimately it does not matter as there is nothing that would cause me to judge her. I hope she has been able to go beyond her circumstances or pain, to find peace and love and family of her own. I will never feel anything but good thoughts for this woman who was with me all those years ago today when I came into this world. She may not have been with me all these years since, but through her choices I have known a full life…a happy life. A life filled with family and I have been loved and have been celebrated. It is my great hope that if she is living, that she can say the same for herself.
In my life I have known over 40 birthdays, lots of homemade cakes and more than a lifetime of love.
So very truly it is a "Happy Birthday to me".
cake graphic from <a href="http://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/birthday">Birthday vector designed by Freepik</a>