An open letter from a birth mother to her daughter:
You are 28 today. Happy birthday. Every year you grow more beautiful and it has been my privilege to watch your transformation. They say pain and grief are lessened over time, but in 28 years I still remember the physical pain of childbirth and the emotional pain and grief over letting you go. But what they say is true because that pain and grief have been replaced by happiness and joy at being a part of your life, if even only for a little while. That happiness is multiplied as you have expanded your family with a daughter of your own, a husband, a wonderful stepson, and a new life on the way. My heart grows every time I see you and the little ones that call me Ninny. There are so many layers to this thing called life, and it is only made more rich as I remember exactly how I felt that day 28 years ago.
I was young. I was scared. I had no idea how I was going to care for you the way you deserved. So I knew what I had to do but that didn't make it any easier. I thought about you every day, wondering how you were doing, if you were growing, if you were sick, if you were happy, if you were learning, if you were safe, if you had everything you needed...all the things all moms worry about...because no matter how far away from me you were, I could feel in my heart you were still mine. I understood you had a mom and a dad - as you deserved and needed - a mom and dad to help you grow and care for you, to love you unconditionally. And to this day I am ever grateful for the sacrifice they made for you, to love you so much and bring you into their family as their own. Without them, you would not be you, or have the life you have.
For the past 28 April 28th's I have had these very thoughts, and for the first 17 I never knew if I would ever meet you. But your parents instilled in you the virtues of honesty, family, integrity, and purpose, and inspired you to know that biologically your history was different from theirs. They wanted you to know your heritage and be proud of it. Because of this, on your 17th birthday, I was your wish come true - something so rare that many reading this will not even understand how that would feel. Your birthday wish was to meet me - your birth mother - and it came true. That day, oh that day will always live in my memory. That moment you turned around and I saw you for the very first time holds an island in my memory bank that will forever be etched in gold.
Since then, on every April 28th I have been able to wish you happy birthday in person rather than just in my mind and heart. We have celebrated with you, sent presents, cards and text messages...something moms do for their kids every day. So on this golden birthday you should know how much light and sunshine you bring to my life. To know you, to see you build a life and family of your own, to celebrate weddings, babies, birthdays, Christmases and summer vacations with you is truly a joy, an honor, and a privilege. Knowing all this it occurs to me that I guess I'm not that much different than any other mom. I worry about you. I pray for you. I hope you are safe. I tell you I love you.
So to you daughter...from one mom to another...happy birthday. I hope it is all you wish for and more. I love you.
The Mom Who Wasn't