When we celebrate our other children’s birthdays, we are able to tell them about the day they were born. We can tell them about the look of wonder in their eyes when they first opened them and saw that there was a whole new world earth-side, we can tell them about the first time they ate, the first night they slept wrapped in a swaddle to mimic the womb they’d been so comfortable in until just hours before. We can tell them that when we saw their faces for the first time after dreaming of who they may be for nine long months we knew that we’d been missing them all along. We can tell them about how in that moment, we grafted a new and uniquely beautiful square onto the patchwork quilt of our family.
I was excited for this birthday since we first met you over the summer. For some reason, I didn’t consider what would be missing for us both, or that your little soul would know. The week began with a sad little Rosie, and it was a deep and contagious longing. My heart fell a little each day until the night before your birthday found us both crying in the rocking chair while I tried to piece together the story we could give you.
Beloved, we dreamed of you, long before we knew you. Just like the others.
When I saw your face for the first time in a grainy referral picture from Bulgaria, I gasped and had to sit on the floor so I didn’t fall. Your eyes looked at me, your little hands uplifted. I wanted to reach through the picture and pick you up. Waiting to be able to do so was physically painful.
The rest I cannot give you. I was not there. Another mommy was there, and you shared the safety of her womb with your sister. You’ve lost so much, my love, and it’s so unfair. We can give you a forever mommy and daddy and brothers and sisters, but we cannot replace what was lost on your very first birthday. For that, I am so sorry.
As the party preparations commenced, I willed my love to float across the ocean to another mommy, preparing for a second birthday with a daughter who looks much like you. I felt the heaviness she must carry, and just wished that God could let her know that you, Rosie, are treasured, beloved, celebrated, wanted and adored. I wanted her to know that weaving you into the fabric of our family was surprisingly easy…you, too were who we’d been waiting for and that with you we have made space for where you came from, for her and for your sister and your father. To love you is to love them, and my sweet girl… we love you endlessly.
I will never know what your tiny, premature, under three pound newness was like. Your first mommy does. She will not know that at two you are curious, playful, snuggly, bright eyed, but these images will be the ones that re-play over my heart as you grow safe in our family. Both make your story, and I promise to always honor that truth.
I cannot tell you of the wonder in your eyes when you were first born, but I can tell you about the first time you saw the outdoors. I cannot tell you about your first cry, but I can tell you about when you first lifted your arms to be comforted by me. I cannot tell you many things, but I can tell you this: You have been loved since the moment we saw your face. And you will be loved until the very end of forever.
Happy birthday, beautiful.