Happy Sad Birthday to Me (as I diagnose my neuroses)
I woke up at 4 am with an epiphany: I know why I hate my birthday.
Never have I really enjoyed celebrating my birthday. I remember having pictures taken when I was little and refusing to smile. Fights broke out, not being happy with birthday presents/dinners, etc. Not really caring what we did, if I had a cake, things like that. It was just another day and honestly, I kind of dreaded it.
But why? Why would someone dread their birthday? I’m not paranoid about aging (yet). And certainly a 7-year-old wouldn’t be – so why the gloom and doom?
This morning it hit me: it was not a day of celebration, that day I was born on October 7, 1976 to people unknown. It was a day of tears, sadness, confusion, guilt, possibly anger – probably anger – a heart being torn by a horrible decision that had to be made, and made quickly. And I believe a decision that was forced. Thankfully it was the right decision, but I’m sure it didn’t make things any less painful. A whole group of people that I don’t know spent that day and I am sure many days and possibly years dreading this day, or maybe not. Maybe they were able to put it behind them. But having children myself, I find that hard to believe, especially if I’d just gotten a glimpse of them and then never seen them again.
And this is why I cannot celebrate my birthday with happiness, I feel the pain of another that probably mourns this day.
The day I remember as the happy day is November 10th, 1976. The day my dad said I wrapped my finger around his and it was all over after that. When my Grandpa McAbee was so excited to see me, that he ran out of my parents house and his shirt got caught on the screened door and he just kept running, ripping it in the process to get to the car where my parents had just pulled up.
THAT is happiness.
THAT is celebration.
I wish I’d come to this realization years ago, and emphasized my adoption day more with my family and my birthday less instead of the other way around. I realize it took one to have the other, but the “gotcha day” was the day we were united, and what I’d prefer to celebrate.
In the past, I never had much to say about adoption, but through becoming active in the Reece’s Rainbow community, I’ve read stories of other adoptions, watched adoptive parents go through the process and seen their excitement. I know now how my folks must have felt, how much they must have looked forward to the day they got that phone call. It makes me know I wasn’t just a “second choice” or an “alternative” but that I was actually wanted, just like these kids. I have three biological children myself and could have more (if Dave built that cage in the basement to contain my crazy, pregnant self for nine months) but I’d rather adopt. I would love that child just as much as my bios.
So November 10th, I look forward to you. Maybe we’ll get a cake and go out to eat and actually feel like it’s a celebration and not just something we should do.
Cross-posted at glass bottom airplanes.