Going on twenty.
Can you believe that 4 years ago today, you and I had not met yet? Even though you were already born. Oh, you had perhaps become used to the sound of my voice outside your birthmother’s tummy as I befriended her, taking her out to eat, talking through her hopes and dreams for you, and hoping that she would survive her sacrifice when this day came. But on the day that your brave birthmother brought you into this world, I stayed away at her request – giving her the space and privacy she needed to say her first hellos and possibly last good-byes.
No. The first time I met you was the day I went to the hospital to discharge you to your adoptive family so that they could take you home. Almost. Since they were from out of state they had to wait until your birthmother went to court to relinquish her parental rights before they could go home, home. You had a different name then. The one they had chosen for you.
Fast forward almost two weeks and three missed court dates, and we all thought that your birthmother had changed her mind – decided to parent you instead of place you for adoption. And, as we would find out in a life-altering phone call one Sunday afternoon, indeed she had changed her mind. She decided the best for you was us.
How bittersweet were the hours following that phone call. Uncontainable joy mixed with gut-wrenching agony for both the family and the birthmother who were losing you. Not to mention the chaos of last minute preparations to welcome a baby into our home and hearts in less than 24 hours! But then, you. It’s always been you.
And although genetically you are not one of us, mentally, physically, and emotionally you are a gift to each of us. Daddy’s little girl. Mama’s cuddle bug. Emmylou’s best sister. And our constant source of laughter and amazement. You are our Tigger in a room full of Eeyores. Guaranteed to pull us up out our individual & collective funk with your silly shenanigans. The three of us spend most of our time looking at each other while shaking our heads with smiles on our faces & joy in our hearts from the wonderful, crazy mystery of you. Cause, girl, you funny. Or as you like to point out, you are “hilarious” and you like to use “inappropriate” words like booby & toot & poop.
Raising and loving you is like going on a long trip to a foreign country with a suitcase packed by someone else. Sometimes we feel lost, because we don’t know where you come up with the things that you say and do. It’s so unlike us (thank goodness). And mostly, we like to blame (give credit to) birth mom. Especially for your rottenness (but then again perhaps we indulge you a bit much). In the nature versus nurture debate, the DNA she gave you is STRONG. And we are ever so thankful for her life in you. But most of the time we just live in a state of wonder, surprise, and adventure – holding on for dear life, curious about what part of you we will get to unpack and experience next.
And while you know that you grew in Miss Natalie’s tummy, I hope that someday you will understand that you have grown our hearts. Because of you, our hearts are bigger and full of more love. And let me tell you, that love is FIERCE with an intense underlying gratitude for the gift we have received.
Happy Birthday, Eliza Jane Marie!
“She makes the day brighter. She leave a little sparkle wherever she goes.”