**To protect the privacy of IKL, in case someone who may know her stumbles upon this blog, I am making this post a little bit in advance.**
You are no longer a baby and are on your way to becoming the beautiful young woman that I know you will be. However, to me, somehow, you are eternally that little pink bundle I was handed in the hospital. I hope to one day know you more intimately, more deeply than that. To know you how you know yourself and not how your parents have perceived you to be and have relayed to me. Oh, to know you…how sweet life would be. Even with all the obstacles, grief and pain that we may have to work through. I pray to God every night that he may afford me the opportunity to be a part of your life, no matter how small. I cannot explain how much joy that would bring me. My soul would finally be complete again. I understand that this may not be something you ever desire and, although it is heartbreaking to think about and this possibility always takes my breath away, I must be prepared for that. You have never had the opportunity to take control, take the lead and make the choices about your life that we have all been making for you. It is your turn and I will respect that .
While your birthday may be a time of mixed emotions in your life, I want you to know that every year I sit here and think of nothing but you. What are you doing? Did you get a big party? Were you happy? Did you enjoy your cake? It has been quite some time since I have received pictures of you or updates about your birthday so these are always things I wonder about. Secretly I also wonder if you think of me and if that brings you pain. I hope not. I do not want you to ever feel guilt over the pain I feel but I DO want you to know how loved you are. That is my only purpose in pouring my heart out here. One day, when you are older and more mature, you may be able to read these words and understand.
This day, for me, is always a hard one. I usually steady myself with distractions and benign activities. Your birthfather and I only mention it in passing. “It’s IKL’s birthday today.” But we both know. We both grieve. We both retreat to our own worlds and deal with it our own ways. Family and friends are unsure of what to say or do. I am usually the one to bring it up so they know it’s okay to wish you a happy birthday to me.
This year I am obligated to be in a place that I am not the most comfortable for your birthday. It is going to be a challenging day for sure. I will reflect on your life and the choices I have made that have shaped your life to what it is today. I will live in the memory of those first few sweet days we had together. I will probably listen to songs that make me think of you. On repeat. With headphones on. I will drown out the world with my memories and sadness. I will also celebrate that you are here and know that hope is the thing with feathers as Emily Dickinson so wisely recognized. I will leave you with a few songs that remind me of you and Ms. Dickinson’s poem that always gives me what I need to hold on for the future.
Happy Birthday Baby Girl.
I love you.
I miss you.
I always will.