And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days. ~ James Russell Lowell
I woke this morning before 5:00 a.m. and in the stillness of the morning while listening to my husband’s deep and easy breathing, I let my thoughts wander back to the day you were born. I don’t indulge in this kind of activity very often because it quickly becomes overwhelming but this morning, I tried to focus on the goodness of the day I labored you into being. And oh, there was so much goodness the day that you came into this world. It was full of sunshine and roses and warm summer breezes, literally.
I have recently been reading other first moms’ blogs where they proudly declare their status as a “birthmother,” where they publicly state they really never wanted their child in the first place and never wanted to be a mother (ahem, Ask a Birthmother over on Facebook – yes, I am talking about you). They are fawned over by adoption professionals and adoptive parents as being heroic and choosing the better part for not being “selfish” in wanting to parent their own child.
These blogs leave me feeling stale and worn out and I am left wondering…what about their child? Do they ever stop and think for one moment how those words will affect their child? Eventually, that tiny baby will grow up into an intelligent and sentient adult with the ability to read, in their mother’s own words, how they were casually discarded because she didn’t want the burden of being a parent. How will they face them then?
My heart breaks for the children of those “heroic” women. Perhaps it is better for them to be raised by strangers than by a woman who cares so little for them. I hate saying that, but having been raised by one parent who detested the mere sight of me, who treated me like vermin and excrement, I have to admit – it might have been better if I had been raised by someone else.
But not my mother. For all her faults and weaknesses, I know she loved me beyond all reason.
Just as I love you.
I do not understand that breed of first mothers. I can’t wrap my head around their casual attitudes that allows them to discard their children so easily, as much as I try. Perhaps it is because I have read so many adoptee’s first-hand accounts of what it is like to be adopted and the monumental struggles they face as they try to carve out their identities. Even if they had fabulous adoptive parents and practically perfect childhoods. Perhaps it is because I have wept so many tears for courageous women who have fought valiantly to build bridges with their first mothers, only to be told, “I never wanted you in the first place.” What a dagger to the soul.
So today, on your 19th birthday, I want to make it perfectly clear: You, my darling daughter, were and still are a very much cherished and wanted individual.
And for you, a birthday poem of sorts. It’s really a love sonnet, but perhaps when you are a new mother yourself, you will come to understand nuanced meanings of what it means to “love straightforwardly, without complexities or pride.”
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms,
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers.
Thanks to your love a certain fragrance,
risen darkly from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride,
so I love you because I know no other way than this:
where “I” does not exist, nor “you,”
So close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
So close that your eyes close and I fall asleep.
I hope that today is full of sunshine and roses and warm summer breezes, just like it was on that rare day in June when you were born.