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.


  1. silly, silly girl. (ok, i don't know exactly how you feel, but ...) honestly, i don't remember all those little milestones. i do think about how big he is, but it's all relative. you can compare cupcake to how big she was when you "got" her, when she was one, etc. IT'S ALL RELATIVE. and just because that other woman could sustain life in her womb - you can sustain life in the outside world, which trust me, is by far harder. you will give her all her future birthdays, and that's way more important than anything else.

  2. I am not a bother, but Rachel you are more of a mother to her than I am sure you could imagine. She does look like mom, so she is "your" child...you have so much to compare her too, when you first got her, how big she was then and now...stuff like that. You love her and are providing for her and that means the most to her. I love you and I love her!

  3. I agree. To be a mother, that takes patience and love and discipline and being a mother. It takes being there every day, it is an active choice. To be a good mother is not an accident.

    To be a biological mother, that is often an accident. It is often a passive action, we can't force it to happen. we can help, manipulate, but ultimately we can not control that.

    Cupcake has a biological mother, that mother gave you an empty slate, an empty frame. You will fill in the gaps, you will teach her about the world, you will be her mommy. She is much more your child. Because while she has her bio-mom's blood and genes, she will have your heart and mind.

  4. thank you all for being awesome. i try not to indulge my self-pity very often, but ... i couldn't help myself. even though i know things about shae's mother that are disturbing and, frankly, rather ugly, i do owe her a great debt of gratitude. she's no angel, not by any stretch of the imagination, but if for no other reason than that she makes beautiful babies, one of whom is MINE, she at least deserves my thanks.

  5. OK, my turn... you ARE the Mom. Repeat please "I am the Mom". No one is superior to you. I don't think of anyone else as my Mom other than my Mom. I mean, someone else gave me life but only my parents gave me LIFE. And thankfully (for me and Cupcake), we have an AWESOME family that never treated me any differently than if I was their biological relative. And certainly, I remember how little Brendan was, but you remember how little Shae was too. She wasn't even a year old when you "got" her, so except for early milestones like what Jaime has now, you will have them all. Heck, Shae has reached some milestones at 2 that Brendan hasn't reached at 4 1/2 and might never reach but I'll be damned if that's a reflection on me as a parent. Enjoy what God has given you on this day and if you must, worry about the other stuff later.