Dear Birth Mom:
Today is their 13th birthday.
But you know that. Every year as we celebrate our babies’ birthday, I have the best time. We usually start the morning off with breakfast and gifts and then end the day with dinner at the restaurant of their choice. Sometime during their birth “week”, we have a party. This year is no exception: Seven tween-age boys plus two 13 year olds are descending into my basement to wreak havoc and eat a lot of junk.
But as each year passes, I never fail to get a little (or a lot) melancholy on this day. I can’t help but think of you. And I wonder, are you thinking of us too? Do you wonder what they look like? Do you think about their voices and how they’ve changed and are changing this very moment? Do you wonder where we live and if they have siblings? Do you…?
I often wish you would have chosen to stay in our lives. At the time of their adoption, we gave you the choice, but you couldn’t. You needed a clean break. You’d had them for 34 weeks in utero and six months in an apartment. You recognized their need for stability and for two parents who could be there 24/7. You didn’t have that luxury – you were too busy just making sure all those living with you were surviving. There was little margin for thriving or any such frill.
We’ve done our best (so far) to make sure they know they are loved by us and by you. Does it help to know they ask about you? They wonder if someday you’ll want to meet them. I know you will, when the time is right. But for now, let me tell you about them.
Isaac is tall. And pretty. He’s already about 5’7” and growing at an amazing, sometimes alarming rate. He would die to be called pretty, but he is. He has great big brown eyes and a beautiful smile. He loves our dogs. Every day when he comes home from school, the girls greet the boys at the door. Isaac always stops, gets down on the floor and gets his daily dose of dog germs. He’s the quiet one – until you get to know him. Then you have to ask him to kindly shut it. He has favorite topics: Minecraft and various other games, our dogs, and food. Yes, the kid loves to eat. He gets up from every meal and wants to know when and where the next one will take place. He loves buffet restaurants. He told me when he was about seven that he wanted to go to that place “where you can randomly choose your food.” I read something the other day that summed him up completely:
“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.
A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Max isn’t as tall as Isaac. He’s not too happy about this, but we keep telling him he’ll get taller. He already taller than me (okay, so that’s not all that tall!) so I think he’ll hit that growth spurt soon. Unlike his brother, he talks constantly and to whomever will listen. And sometimes, he keeps talking to people who stopped listening long ago. He’s quite the ladies’ man. We’ve always joked that he had a girlfriend in every port: preschool, church, neighborhood, wherever he went. I think we’re about to cross over into the “that’s not funny anymore” region. Frankly, 13 year old girls scare me to death! At 13, he’s “dating” a darling girl. However, I’m not sure what that means since they only see each other at school and occasionally at church. He knows we’re really strict about phone calls, emails, texts, and all that. He’s a good kid with a huge heart. He has a friend whose family is in a constant state of crisis because of their father’s illness and a sister’s teenage depression. Max always wants to bring this kid everywhere we go: church, restaurants, family outings, even our vacations. When we made plans for a family trip this past summer, he told me, “Mom, I’ll sleep on the floor so we can take (his friend) along. He never gets to go anywhere and he’s never been on a vacation like we have.” That was the ultimate horror for Max. He hates the fact that someone else might not have fun like he does – every moment of the day. His heart is huge and it comes out in the beautiful smile that graces his face 90% of his day.
Birth Mom, you gave me a great gift. I get to mother these boys and it is a constant joy. No, it’s not always easy, but compared to what you did to give me this gift, it’s a walk in the park. You gave them to me; I’m doing my best to see that they do you proud. They love you, even though at this age they can’t express it. They love me, too; I know because they look at me with grateful glances and smiles that will melt your heart. And occasionally, when their tough boy shields are down, they say, “Love you, too, Mom.”
Thank you, Birth Mom. I hope this December 18th is filled with sweet memories and happiness and that, somehow, God will visit you today with special peace that passes any mortal understanding. We love you.
From one mom to another,