Today is my birthday – my 38th to be exact. I don’t remember my first birthday, but I’m sure it was pretty cool. My adoptive parents always made birthdays special for my brother and me. We were allowed to choose a restaurant for dinner (for inquiring minds, I chose Long John’s for a long time – yeah, I know, greasy, fried fish, but I was a kid). And, my mom would make a cake of our choice. Mom and Dad even had a party for me one year, but I’m not much of a party person, so we discontinued that tradition as soon as it started. Celebrations are a big deal in my family – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, 4th of July – so it’s no surprise that birthdays would be cause for celebration as well. I always enjoyed “my day” but I also typically felt a little sad because I wasn’t able to be with my other parents too. In fact, for a long time, I thought my natural parents might show up for my birthday at some point. I don’t remember exactly when I gave up that thought, but I think I was in middle school – the only other times that thought surfaced was when I turned 16 and 18, pretty pivotal years. Today, my birthday is unique because my natural Mom showed up. Okay, not quite in the dramatic fashion I always imagined, it was a pre-planned visit and I picked her up from the airport myself. But, still, she showed up. Because she’s sitting in the room with me as I write, I thought it would be cool to have her to speak to you as well – about what she views as my first birthday, despite the fact it’s my 38th. The rest of this blog is her voice, with my fingers typing. Meet my natural Mom, Carol.
“This is the first birthday I don’t have to wonder if Becky’s smiling when she wakes up because I saw her smile this morning. It’s the first birthday I don’t have to wonder if Becky’s had a good year because I’ve been blessed to share the past year with her – even though not always face-to-face. It’s the first birthday I don’t have to wonder if other people know how special Becky is because I’ve seen for myself all of the birthday wishes from Becky’s family and friends. It’s the first birthday I don’t have to wish Becky could know that I love her because she knows that now. It’s the first birthday I get to make Becky’s birthday cake – and it’s cooling in a heart-shaped pan (how appropriate!) as I’m talking – and I actually get to celebrate her birthday on March 20. Showing up for Becky’s birthday is something I’ve wanted to do for each one of them, but I wasn’t able to, so it’s awesome I’m able to this year. I’m hopeful that I will be blessed with the opportunity to show up for the rest of them – at least in my lifetime. You would think I would have a million more things to say, but if I allow myself to say them now, I will flood Becky’s office with tears and that might dampen the spirit of her birthday. So, the bottom line is, it’s an incredible joy and delight to finally be present with my daughter for her birthday. And hopefully, showing up this time will help make up for all the times I wasn’t able to be there before.”
It does, Mom. It does.