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How do I even start,
'To whom it may concern' is totally impersonal. 'Dear Mom?' No, I have a mom. With your first name? I don't even know what it is. It's a conundrum. I guess I'll skip that part. We share this day, you and I. It's definitely the weirdest day of the year for me. That's not a bad thing. It's just what it is. I don't dread birthdays like some folks. I do always need some time alone though. I need time to step away and consider you, pray for you as I wonder what today means to you.
I do wonder. Things are so different nowadays. Young girls get pregnant and keep their babies all the time. An out of wedlock birth is not the social stigma it was when you had me. Mom and Dad always spoke of you with respect. I think you need to know that. They never hid the truth, so far as they knew it, from me. They told me you made the choice you did based on my welfare, motivated by love. They told me you picked them for me. Thank you.
I wonder about more. Back when you had me and there was all this stigma, I know you went to a maternity home. I've read about them. I know that in that era there was almost no preparation for the emotional aftermath you'd face. They were safe places to go and wait. You were supposed to have me, surrender me, go away silently, and never speak of things. As long as you played by those rules everyone would play along and you'd be accepted back into polite society. Those are shitty rules. (You can thank Dad for encouraging my unvarnished expression of opinions. Was there some seed of that in you or my birthfather that was encouraged to grow by Dad?) I wonder because I can't imagine how difficult that must have been for you so I hope there were some compassionate people around you.
When I was pregnant with my first daughter it was a real eye opener. I'd celebrate each new sensation and then wonder how it was for you. I had a loving husband and very excited grandparents-to-be who wanted to hear about the developments. But I wondered, how scary was that positive pregnancy test for you? Was the morning sickness doubly torturous? Did my first kick strike your heart with fear or sadness or something else? Did your growing belly make you want to hide? Were you alone as you labored? Were all those things that should be moments of joy tinged with sadness?
There are some weird ideas about adoptees and adoptive parents out there. I could write a book on it. That being said, I have to follow it by letting you know the comments I've heard about birthmothers are far worse. Some judgemental prig might sniff, 'Oh, how can anyone just give their baby away like that?' or 'Well, the bad girl made her bed, now she can sleep in it.' I'm so sorry for whatever hurtful comments you've ever had to endure whether they were from your own family, or acquaintances, or anyone else. I really want to know you've lived a good life. I hope if you wanted a family you had a happy one when the time was right.
When I was very little I was threatened by the thought that you existed. I thought it meant someone else had a claim on me. That was upsetting. As a teen I thought I just HAD to know who you were so I could figure out where did the gap in my front teeth come from, (that gap that closed up when my wisdom teeth came in and I got to keep them...who gets to keep their wisdom teeth???), and why don't I have a proper toenail on my pinky toe, and this goofy wartlike bump on my one hand, and that mole over by my...well, if you have the same mole you know where...and why my hair is such an unruly mess (who gives a kid weird genes like that?). And my sense of humor, my parents, bless them both, neither one really ever GOT my sense of humor. They accept it but they both still look at me like I've got 3 heads sometimes. Is that you? They aren't big things, but they are curiosities. Mom will tell you, my curiosity could at times drive her insane.
So I was sure I'd look. But I didn't. I realized I was afraid of what I might find. I prepared for the worst. I got ready for you to deny you'd given birth to me. I prepared for a door to be shut in my face. I was all good with that. Then I thought, what if she welcomes me with open arms and then doesn't want to let go? That was a little more disconcerting. That held me back, because I have a mother and a father (the ones you gave me) and I am not looking to replace them. They've given their blessing, but I know Mom is a bit unnerved about it all. I certainly don't want to cause anyone pain, not her, not you. So I've held back.
But sometimes I think I'm almost ready...maybe. I don't want to barge in and cause disruption. I want to do things decently, respectfully. And if I ever do look for you I want to look from a place of contentment. I want to mostly say thanks. I want you to know I am happy and well. I want to know you are too.
I want to wish you peace, and love, and joy...today, most of all.
Sometimes I look in my own eyes and wonder. I know my complexion comes from your Greek lover. Would my eyes remind you of his? Do I speak with them the way he did or would he say I have the same spark in mine that you had in yours? If you saw my face would it be a darker reflection of yours or would you recoil from the image of a man who abandoned you? Sometimes I look and I wonder...What would it be like to look into your eyes?