Revisiting birthdays

and what they mean.It didn’t take long for the blogosphere to inform me of the importance both adoptees and first moms can place on birthdays – days of trauma approached with dread and loathing.

That’s not what I use my calendar to track and anticipate.I check for tides, for moon cycles.I record activities. Along with forgetting birthdays in general, I did not take special note of Joy’s birthday during our separation.

The first few years, her father would call me around her birthday.She appreciates that.I never did.In fact when she reminded me of it last night, of his caring, I was infuriated.What she interprets as a caring gesture, I experience as rubbing my nose in my impotence.Once a year, he could call me up and wax nostalgic for what might have been as though this one particular day was different from missing her all the other days of the year. As though her birthday was a cause for noticing that she is not in my life, my whole life, every single day. That really didn’t work for me.I stopped taking his annual calls.

I’m not a “thinker”. Not that I don’t have a good mind, a useful and insightful tool for gathering information. But it’s not my preferred mode. Measured by the Meyers Briggs Type Inventory I am definitely an F, for feeling, probably an ISFP.(Although my funky idealism wishes to be labeled Intuitive.)Thoughts or ideas are necessary to balance feelings and actions.But without feelings and actions for balance, thoughts are useless.

For the first 18 months or so I thought a great deal about Joy, where she was, who was taking care of her and what I could do about it.I came up with nothing.I could do nothing about it, in terms of action.I had no way to contact her physically.That hurt and led to more hurt.Where was she?Was she happy?Did she need me?Want me?I don’t know.I don’t know. I don’t know.I don’t know.

I created and honored a place for her inside me, that extends through the universe to wherever she is.I love her there, where we are in contact.She has always been a part of me and all that I did.I didn’t “think” about her, anymore than I thought about my stomach.She was part of me, a hidden part of me.What I wanted was to care for her.Cue Dolly Parton singing I Will Always Love You.

That’s a little bit crazy.That craziness is part of the challenge of our reunion.I had this huge interior loving thing going on that had no place in the “real world” and then we met up in the “real world”.A lot got lost in translation.We are still learning each other’s reference points and overcoming misunderstandings and hurt.

The last two years we have honored her birthday together.It’s a very special time for me because it is special to her.


5 responses to “Revisiting birthdays

  1. Sweet amazing post. I love seeing how different moms can be with this stuff.

    Interesting that her father called you. I so wish I could share more about my daughters fathers situation. It is pretty, well, amazing in and of itself. It is lifetime movie stuff (as is most my life!)

  2. I love you.


  3. “She has always been a part of me and all that I did. I didn’t “think” about her, anymore than I thought about my stomach.”

    I get a little more clarity on the reality of my reunion emotions and how to speak about my son when I see how others put these seemingly illogical feelings into words. thank you.

  4. Oh it’s so crazy isn’t it? I’m so glad you found each other again.

  5. I think that interior place you made of loving her IS real. I don’t want to speak for her experience but the fact that she felt together with you and that she wouldn’t lose you when you met could very well be because of that room. It’s real.

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