Here it is. My version of 9/11. Today is my daughter's 32nd birthday. But I'm not sad or angry, just wistful. Frequent visitors to FMF know that my daughter hasn't spoken to me for the past three and one-half years, but thanks to my Internet search skills I know that she has two sons, 2-1/2 and 1, and that she moved, but didn't know where. Tonight the guardian angel/goddess of first mothers was on my side and within minutes I had located her new address (I have no idea how I found it, it was as though some force was clicking the mouse for me). Satisfied with that information, I went to bed. But I could hear my heart pounding in my chest, my ears, and the tears started to fall. Last year was the first October 16 in 31 years without tears, and that's how I planned to spend this one. I'll go to work, have my lunchtime walk, come home, pay bills, and settle in for "Holy Night," my night to veg out in front of the TV.
At the urging of adoptive and birthmothers alike, I've tried to stay in touch, but my attempts at contact have been fruitless. I sent her firstborn son a small birthday gift on his first birthday in 2006 and Mother's Day and Christmas cards in 2007; all were unacknowledged, but I know the Christmas card unsettled her (she contacted my sister, who she'll contact on an as needed basis) because I addressed it to all the family, including her second son, whose first birthday is in eight days, and she was shocked that I discovered she had a second child (such information is a matter of public record, and again, the Internet is my paintbrush/cleaver/stethoscope, i.e., it's essential to my vocation.)
At the stroke of midnight, I pulled out a long-neglected necklace from my jewelry drawer and put it around my neck, hoping it might be a talisman. The necklace was a Christmas 2001 gift from my daughter--a spontaneous, very unexpected holiday surprise, our only Christmas together. We had been joking about those cheesy jewelry commercials for Kay Jewelers and J. C. Penney, so I thought it might be a heartshaped diamond necklace for $99. I was sitting by myself on the floor when I opened the box. The necklace was under a piece of cotton; I took it out, held it up, and started to cry. I held it up to my sister, she started crying. My niece started crying. It was a silver mother/child pendant, an abstract circle design that represents the eternity of a mother's love. The brick walls just tumbled down, we were kissing and holding each other. I had been holding in so much until that moment, it just all came rushing out; I swear I cried enough tears to fill a stream. That was the closest we've ever been, and one of my fondest memories.
And here I am, sitting in the dark illuminated by my computer screen, aching to send her flowers for her birthday, anonymously, knowing that I shouldn't because it will ruin her day knowing that I'm stalking her. And why do I want to, after the way she's treated me? Well, quite simply, because she's my daughter. And while I haven't always liked her, I've always loved her. I'm thinking of the moment I first saw her, and how in awe I was that something so beautiful, so perfect, came from me. The image is so vivid that it feels as though it happened a few hours ago, not 32 years ago.
So, readers, I'm asking for your help. Adoptee fans of FMF, if your birthmother sent you a birthday bouquet out of the blue, how would you feel? And first mothers, would you be able to resist temptation, or just go with your gut instinct? I suspect in the light of day this too, shall pass, but I'd like to know what you think.