My Daughters Birthday  

Monday, August 4, 2008

Being a mother of relinquishment, I have had some strange feelings and strange behavior over the years as my daughters birthday rolled around. As I have said before, I was so proud of myself for doing the right thing in regard to giving her a better life. I felt like a real human being who had done something not only substantial but spectacular. Something not many others had done or would be able to do. I sacrificed my own feelings for the betterment of another. ( That's another story for another time.)

It was wonderful, until her first birthday started to creep up on me. About a week before her birthday I was very aware of the fact that it was coming. I suddenly had very mixed feelings about how wonderful I was. I became depressed, I was agitated, I couldn't think about my actions without getting a pit in my stomach. It was the ache of empty arms. When I explained to my family members why I was moping around and feeling so depressed, I was scoffed at and told to forget about it, as if my feelings were not valid. ( Also another story for another time.)

I tried. I tried to believe them. I tried to believe that I had no reason to feel the way I did and that I was just being a silly little girl who wanted attention. As the days passed in that week before her birthday, my stomach grew more and more knotted, my depression was more and more prominent, and my mind more and more distracted, until the night before her birthday.

Suddenly it was the day after her birthday and it was all over. I was surprised that I had forgotten her on such an important day. I was even more convinced that I would not have made a good mother because I couldn't even remember her birthday. I was ashamed of myself.

This went on for the next 10 years. I would remember the week before and suddenly wake up and it was the day after. No I didn't sleep through the entire day, I blocked it out and went about my business on auto pilot (for lack of a better term) until the entire day had passed and it was over and no longer able to hurt me.

My first remembrance of her birthday was at age 10. By this time I actually found it odd that I did remember. I was so used to forgetting or blocking it out that it became acceptable to me. I didn't feel good about forgetting it. I actually beat myself up over it. I didn't understand that it was a defense mechanism. One designed to protect me.

After her 10th birthday my remembrance of them was sporadic. One year I would remember and the next I would forget. I began to remember more and more but I was getting older and more numb to the loss of my daughter and more able to cope I would imagine. Then we met.

The next 8 years seemed to go good for me as her birthday rolled around. I am not the best at getting cards in advance, in fact I suck at it. This is something she understands as she has inherited this awful trait from me and is actually pretty bad about it herself. (something we can laugh about together)

It is that time again and I find myself constantly aware that her birthday is approaching. I didn't get to the store in time on Saturday and our rinky dink town has only one store that is closed on Sunday. Compounded by the fact that I forgot again last year has had me on pins and needles for about a week now. I started reminding myself last month that it was coming and here I am 2 days before and still have no card to send. fortunately for me, I still have time. It should only take 2 days to get to her if I get it in the mail today. It should be perfect actually. My mother's mail, (when she sends me anything) always arrives within 2 days and my daughter lives very close to her.

You notice I said I forget again last year. That devastated me. How could I forget. Why would I forget? Is it the defense mechanism again? What did I need protection from? Or is it that I have not been a part of her life for so long that I am not used to remembering my own daughters birthday? What ever this is it sucks.

So this year I have decided in case this mechanism or what ever it is decides to kick in and protect me from myself again, I am publicly addressing the issue now. I only have two days left and do not trust myself to remember after what happened last year.

Rachael from the bottom of my heart, and the deepest depths of my soul. With every fiber of my being I wish you the HAPPIEST BIRTHDAY ever bestowed upon a human being. And if I forget to call you on your special day please please understand that it has been this way for me for 35, soon to be 36 years now and that I seem to have no control over it. It is not callous neglect or you don't mean enough to me for me to remember. It is a side affect. A casualty of adoption that makes this happen. I would change it tomorrow if I could but I'm afraid by tomorrow I will have forgotten again. ( you're supposed to laugh here)

I love you. I have always loved you. and I'm living breathing proof that the mind can be a powerful thing.

Happy Birthday Rachael


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