Today is my oldest daughter's birthday and this week marks 10 years since we reunited. You would think that after 10 years a person would get used to the feeling of waking up and just being happy about their child's birthday. I know that seems like a weird thing to say and don't get me wrong, of course I'm over the moon that I have her in my life and I'm thrilled that I can actually say Happy Birthday to her. The difference for us, meaning us mothers who have lost children to adoption, is there doesn't seem to be a way to shut off completely the emotion of what those birthdays meant for so long. Or maybe it's just me and I'm making an assumption that other reunited mothers feel this way.
For the first 22 years of her life her birthday meant incredible pain. The entire month was about grieving. It's like the loss that I had to hide the rest of the year came ripping to the surface, broke through and destroyed me. The only way to get through it was to cry my eyes out until I was swollen with grief yet felt shriveled and wrinkled like a dried out dishrag.
Those years are no more but there still remains the remnants of what they did to me. It's like a muscle memory. It's an automatic reaction. The memories come back to haunt and make the day bitter sweet. Right now my focus is to be thankful that I can look back and say those years are behind me now and hopefully I can continue to look forward to many more Aprils when I can say Happy Birthday dear Liz.