…today my son was born. Except I wasn’t there. He was born to another mother whose exit from his life has left a hole so big that even more than half of his life later–it comes out in all the ways.
My son is wonderful. He is smart, funny, full of stories which are the direct path to my heart. When I make him food he likes, he is quick to pour on the compliments and gratitude. He tells me I’m beautiful, and–to my ever-living wonder, he means it. He adores his sisters and brother. He looks after them and loves them. He invites them into his play developing them into little storytellers as well. He is passionate and full of feeling. He is my biggest helper. He will pick up and clear the table and helps his sisters scrape their plates into the garbage. He gets me the diapers I need for little brother and littlest sister. He plays superheroes with his next sister. They put down their pirate ships and have epic battles in my living room. He is a TV zombie who loves stories in whatever their form. The biggest horror in his next sister’s life is that he is big enough to go to soccer and school and she is left behind. Because HE is her hero. When littlest sister needs help, she is as quick to call for him as she is for me. Whenever he’s not home, she won’t stop asking for him–he’s her star.
I don’t object to his being born to another mother. There are times when I regret the things I missed. The first steps. The first smile. But, I don’t object to the years I lost. Six years ago, today, he was rocked by another mother. A father certainly looked down on him in wonder–how could he not? Grandparents squealed with delight as they held him for the first time. This little, red-haired, tiny piece of a human. He would have been so little. So light. So fragile. So quick to cry–he couldn’t tell them his stories then.
And it will ever be both a tragedy and a miracle that I get to be the one who hears those stories. That I get to see his mind unfold the complexities of his world. He’s gone from Turbinado–the hero with rocket packs nearly everywhere to Dark Matter–the super villain. His mind feels out the edges of a story–and I wonder at it, because mine does the same thing. There’s a real possibility that the two of us will begin working on a story together this year. There’s a real possibly that he will continue to struggle with the hole in his heart. And it will come out making other things harder than they should be. Kindergarten is hard for lots of kids, but it will be harder for him. Losing a friend is hard for everyone, but for him–it reawakens that first, biggest lost.
Because adoption is always associated with loss. It is associated with complex feelings. It is both beautiful and horrible. For me, I am the lucky one. And I want it to be understood that I am well aware of the magnitude of my blessing in this little man. Tonight, I rocked him. Tonight, I pulled him into my arms and made up a birthday song for him that his sisters and I sang together. Tonight, my three oldest took turns getting tickles. And I was the one who got to hear the lullaby composed of squeals of laughter. Tonight, I kissed his head and left him awake with his book. And tomorrow, when I wake, he’ll run to me and call me Mommy.
There is something a little impossible for me in not thinking of her when these moments come. Because somewhere out there is another woman who thinks of this–her son–with sadness and I am not unaware of that either. I don’t think you read my writing, but if you do, I’m sorry for your pain. I’m just so sorry. If it helps, he is loved. He is adored. He is wonderful. He’s ok. He loves you still and he is reminded often of your love.
Happy birthday, my son. You are so very loved.