Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 18th

A young woman, belly swollen tight with a full-term baby, feels the beginning of her labor begin.  It hurts her body; it hurts her heart.  She fights against the contractions, willing her body to hold tight onto that infant for just a bit more.  Not yet.  Don't take her yet. 

December 18th is the day of your birth.

Heralded into this world a week before Christmas, enveloped in sorrow and love and regret, you were born and became your own person.  You were given a name that nobody alive knows (or will admit they know).  You were cradled in the arms of a young woman who loved you desperately, though she couldn't keep you for her own daughter.  

Placed into the arms of another mother, you were left with a new family to grow up and discover yourself.  

Still, after all these years, you aren't much for celebrating your own birthday.  I cannot imagine how this day makes you feel.  When I was younger, I wondered how you managed to shrink away from a day that is, by definition, a celebration of YOU.  Now I realize that you don't see it as a celebration of you - not the whole day, at least.  In part, it's the day that changed the path of your life.  It's the day that you were given up by the person who is supposed to love you unconditionally.  It's a reminder of how many questions there still are, a memo that there's a whole other family out there who share genetics with you - a family that we have yet to find.  How could you celebrate yourself on such a day? 

But if you can't celebrate this day, know that I can and I do.  

I'm grateful for my biological grandmother.  I'm grateful for all the love and sadness she had in her heart for you.  I think that even as you grew inside her, you were already becoming part light and part darkness.  

You are the golden light that bathes the world as the sun sinks below the mountain tops. You see the good in all people, even when it's a single grain in a sea of rice.  

You are the blackness that shrouds the earth while she sleeps.  You hold your loved ones close and safe, while you shield us from the storm.  

You feel deeply; emotion flows thickly through your veins.  Your highs are higher, and your lows sometimes lower, than most. 

On this day, this 18th of December, I want to honor the person you've become.  I will think about the forty eight other December 18ths you've already lived, and wonder about who you were on each of those days.  I will hold your birth mother close, and offer that young woman in my mind a fierce hug.  Her story grips me; the idea of giving up a child breaks my heart and knowing that baby was you crushes me.  She had to be strong.  She had to be courageous.

And she imparted those qualities to her firstborn daughter.

You are kind.  You are generous.  You are loving.  You are empathetic.  You are passionate.  You are supportive. You are questioning.  You are enthusiastic.  You are interested.  You are selfless.

I admire you, Mom.  I love you dearly, and with each passing year I learn more about the depth of your personhood - and the more I learn, the more awe and respect I have.

Happy Birthday, mother of mine.  You are very special, and very important to me.  I hope you know that although this day is full of both darkness and light, I will always think of it as the day the world changed.  And I will always celebrate you.  

1 comment:

  1. So eloquent and touching; my eyes are teary. My mother was also adopted, but at around 5 years old. This is such a beautiful tribute.