AUTHOR: Carolyn Savage | POSTED: September 24, 2012 | COMMENTS: 13 Comments
Today is an anniversary of sorts. Actually it’s a birthday, but not for me. If it was a normal birthday, I’d be running around doing what moms do. You know, picking up cakes and balloons; wrapping presents; hanging streamers. On those special days, I try to make my baby’s day as celebratory as I can. Breakfasts out, instead of cornflakes; lunches brought in, in lieux of the normal brown bag. Of course, I can’t do any of that on this day, so my urges to spoil my fourth born have to be somewhat redirected.
It’s the redirection that I’m still figuring out.
It’s harder than one may expect. I think there’s something instinctual about a mother’s need to honor the day she gave birth. I’ve noticed, over the years, that my senses are heightened the days before my kids’ birthdays. Drew arrived on the first day of fall, and I acutely remember not only the events of his delivery, but also the sights and smells of how the world was right before he was born. Cooler nights, greener grass, bluer skies, darker leaves signal so much more to me than the impending autumnal equinox. They trigger memories of excitement and eager anticipation as I waited…and waited…and waited for my first baby to be born.
Ryan and Mary Kate were spring babies so the sights and smells of melting snow, peeking bulbs, and brighter days beget memories of two of my greatest miracles.
I think this kind of hyper cognizance is the reason mothers are so compelled to celebrate their children’s birthdays. We are wired to honor our greatest triumphs, and there is no greater victory than the accomplishment of giving birth.
But today is different for so many reasons, and I’m still learning how to make sense of what this birthday means to me. I’m only three years out, and knowing how time always gives way to perspective, I realize that my experience is still very fresh. In ten or twenty years I’ll have more figured out, so I’m treading cautiously and praying for wisdom.
I am making progress. On the first birthday I sat at rock bottom. Saddened and beat down by our struggles to expand our own family, and frustrated by the lack of information about “L”. I carried a mountain of guilt with me for feeling the way I did because a voice inside of me was telling me I had no right to those feelings. “You have three beautiful children. Stop with the pity party. He’s not yours to be concerned with. Let him go!” I hate that voice, and I’m getting better at squleching it.
The year between the first and second birthday was so much better. Of course, the births of Reagan and Isabella helped me cope with my brokenness, and I * think* helped “L’s” parents, too. We all had a lot of “figuring out” to do, but it’s taken me this long to fully appreciate their struggle as well.
The year between the second and the third birthdays has been the best yet. I think that’s because we are starting to see what “this” is going to look like, and much to my relief, it’s actually pretty tolerable.
That being said, today still presents a challenge for me. I’m still putting my fingers on traditions that I want to create to commemorate the day that I learned my greatest lesson. The fact that I can even write the preceding sentence indicates a personal growth. You see, in the beginning we framed “L’s” birth as a gift. A gift we were giving. Now I am fully aware that not only did we give a gift, but we received one too. My journey with “L” has not only opened the door to opportunities that have changed the trajectory of my life, but also has changed how I live every moment of my day. I was a positive person before, but now I’m a woman, a wife, and mother with her hand wrapped tightly around her half full cup. Every second of my day is sweeter and happier with the gratitude that I have for even the most frustrating moments. I laugh harder, smile more, and cherish those that I love because I know what it’s like to live without them.
So, for me, today is an anniversary. It marks the day a depth of gratitude was born in me that I couldn’t have possibly imagined. It also stands as a a celebration of progress. I’ve come a long way in three years, and for that I am thankful.
Of course, and most importantly today is a birthday for a beloved little boy. The fact that I had the privelge of ushering him into this world, has been such a blessing. My hopes and dreams for him, like the rest of my babies, are for happiness and love. I can’t wait to see what the fourth year holds for all of us!
I made this video on L’s first birthday. It’s message has withstood the test of time.
My hope is that by continuing to write about my journey, many others are inspired to live life with their hands wrapped tightly around their half full cup!