At the very moment that this post is appearing on the internet -- Wednesday, April 1, 2009, at 7:31 AM -- my daughter is turning two. Probably she is fighting with me about having her hair brushed, and eating a banana that is just this side of too brown and squishy, and watching "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse." I don't know for sure, because at the very moment I am writing this -- Tuesday, March 31, 2009, at 9:35 PM -- I have no idea what tomorrow brings.
I do know this, though: I am not entirely sure how to celebrate this birthday. I mean, I know how to celebrate "a" generic birthday. We are sending chocolate-frosted brownies to school, and she will be wearing a new "Hello Kitty" T-shirt with sparkles, and for dessert after dinner we will be eating Carvel ice cream cake. But this is not just any old birthday -- this is my Cupcake's second birthday, the second birthday she has spent on this planet and the second birthday she has spent in our family, and I am not sure how to feel about it.
For example: Yesterday my nephew Joey turned 5 months old. My sister didn't mention it specifically, but I'm pretty sure she's aware of this fact. Did she spend the day thinking about when she was 5 months pregnant, remembering how small he was then, and comparing notes to how big he is now? Have she and her husband spent evenings referring back to other benchmarks, other conversations, other indicators of progress and development? Maybe they do, and maybe they don't; I have no way of knowing.
Part of this is because I have no points of reference. While this day is special for me because it is special for Cupcake, it is only because of the Cupcake that it has any significance for me. I can't look back on the day I found out I was pregnant and remember what I dreamed my child would look like and act like and be like when her second birthday rolled around.
Do biological parents remember the first time they heard their children's heartbeats and felt the kicking and basked in the knowledge that they were doing something really phenomenally amazing? Something I still have not been able to do, even though today my daughter is celebrating her second birthday? Do they commemorate the day? Celebrate or mourn it, somehow? Even when their children are no longer with them?
It's silly to feel like this today, because birthdays are supposed to be all about the Birthday Boy or Birthday Girl, but even as I will be sharing in the festivities, I still feel cut off somehow. In just two more weeks she will be ours, officially, forever, even though we feel in our hearts that she always has been. But that bond that the courts will be creating is one of paperwork and nomenclature, and not one of blood and biology. I love my daughter -- of this much, I am certain. And her birthday is special to me because it is special to her. I will enjoy spoiling her, and letting her indulge in the treats that we do not usually allow her to have.
I guess what I am wondering is -- how do other mothers feel about their children's birthdays? And how does Cupcake's mother, her other mother, the one who in so many ways will always be superior to me somehow, because she could create and sustain a life while I could not -- how does she feel today?
Oh, Cupcake. I hope your birthday is wonderful and happy and awesome, even if I am crazy.