Somehow, last week, my baby completed her fourth circle around the sun and now she is a big, proud four year old. She talks and understands so much, and is a funny, creative, wacky, charming, big personality sort of kid.
I love her so much.
Birthdays can be interesting and complicated in adoptive families. I have a friend who adopted her daughter internationally, and they don't know what her child's actual birth date is. I know adoptive moms who were present in the hospital room when their child was born who were unexpectedly bowled over with grief for the woman giving birth, instead of the expected joy of meeting the baby who would become a son or daughter.
And for me, like many, I wasn't present or aware of my children's birthdays when they happened. My storyline intertwines with theirs, for each of them, a couple of weeks later on.
So on S's birthday this year, after cake and candles and promises of a fun party on the weekend, when she was sound asleep in bed, I pulled out her file and looked through it. I read the hospital's clinical description of her birth, and looked at the tiny inked footprints. I let my eyes linger over Apgar scores and precise time of birth, and the social worker's notes. I thought about Z, and what that day must have been like for her. I thought about the hopes I have cherished that someday S would be able to talk to her first mom about the moments in her life that only Z would be able to describe to her.
Sadness and happiness can live in good company with each other, I am learning. Life is full, to the brim, with both.
Birthdays can be complicated.