Adoption, Family

You Say It’s Your Birthday?

You say it’s your birthday?
It’s my birthday, too-yeah!

Lennon/McCartney, Birthday

Susan wrote about her daughter, who is turning 4 today, and she has me thinking about turning 4 on the 4th of May. I’m a little bit older than Curious Girl. This birthday brings me to 45 (not until 4:14 p.m., but who’s counting?), but I do remember 4.

We lived in our old-fashioned house in Jane Austen’s Village, one of those long townhouses. I loved running down the hall to the front door, especially when my daddy was coming home for lunch or at the end of the day. The room we did most of our living in was a family room/dining room right beside the kitchen that my parents put in when they bought the house. It was a very Ozzie and Harriet kitchen, with the pickled pine cupboards. They had a pass-through to the dining area, which must have been very modern when they bought the house in 1952 or so. That’s where I had my birthday parties, in a room crowded with family and little friends.

At four, I was a fluffy sort of little girl, with a tiny ponytail on the side opposite my part, held with one of those little plastic barrettes in pastel colors. My “boyfriend” shared my birthday. He was the minister’s son, and I was sure we would grow up and get married and be the new Rev. and Mrs. (At least I got the Rev. part right!)

At 45, I am still fairly fluffy, although my hair is a good bit longer and I’ve given up on pastel barrettes.

Susan wonders about her daughter, who shares with me not just a birthday, but being adopted. She wonders what Curious Girl’s birth day was like, who held her, if her birth parents are thinking of her today. These questions have haunted me. I know that my birth mother held me once, against the advice of the nurses. But where I was and who was taking care of me for the two weeks until I was placed with my mother and father remains a mystery. In that era of medicated childbirth and forceps deliveries, I suspect I spent the first day or two fairly spaced out!

My mother was a social worker who “retired” after her marriage. One of her jobs had been keeping contact with foster homes for babies released for adoption, and she assured me they were good situations. I would like to believe it, but I also know she would have readily said anything to reassure me on that point.

I think there will be years, Susan, when Curious Girl may wonder these things. My brother, also adopted, says he does not. Some of us just have those, well, those inquiring, dare I say curious, personalities. She will come to her own places in the process of self-understanding. At 4, I didn’t think too much about it. At 9 and 10, I thought of little else. And so it goes.

Sometimes I wonder why my life played out this way, what gifts came from being of one family and in another? Do we, as those who believe in reincarnation say, choose the parents who will birth us and the family that will raise us? That feels powerful, almost frighteningly responsible. What I do know is that we choose how we work with what we are given. On this birthday, I celebrate the family my children and I have made with Pure Luck. On this day, I look at my life and my work and see many things that please me, and a few that could use a bit more effort on my part. On this day, I realize it’s likely more than half over, this life. And maybe that means more now than what happened at the beginning. What will the middle and the end of the story be?

I would like you to dance (birthday)
Take a cha-cha-cha-chance (birthday)
I would like you to dance (birthday)
Dance

28 thoughts on “You Say It’s Your Birthday?”

  1. Happy Birthday, Songbird!
    I turned 45 at the end of March. It doesn’t suck too bad so far.
    If we chose our parents, I’m going with the coin-flip next go-around.

  2. Happy birthday!!
    I was adopted, too, and like you have always been curious to varying degrees about what happened in the mysterious six weeks prior to my placement with my parents.
    The state in which I was born has now made it possible for members of the adoption triad to have access to non-identifying information (identifying, too, with mutual consent and very strict guidelines), and I just requested and received my packet. There was some new information, while a lot of what my parents were told at the time of placement was confirmed. It was humbling to read.

  3. Happy Birthday – it’s mine too – 38 today 🙂 Hope you had a lovely day, Katie

  4. Hope this is a wonderful birthday my friend, and that the year ahead is full of blessings too.
    For one brief and glorious month we are the same age! What fun 🙂
    Birthday hugs xxxxx

  5. What a beautiful day you got for your birthday, Songbird! Hope you’re having a wonderful one.

  6. Happy Birthday! (Mine is on Saturday) I pray the Lord will bless you and your family abundantly this year, that you will drink from the living water, and that there will be peace in your house and oin your heart.

  7. Happy, happy day Songbird! May your year ahead be filled with as much love and joy as you radiate from your soul on this corner of the blog universe. Many blessings!

  8. Happy, happy birthday, Songbird. I am sitting here, so touched by this post–what a lovely birthday gift for Curious Girl it is! However your stories end, they are spun with such love and grace. Thanks for sharing your gifts with the rest of us.

  9. Happy Birthday. You share it with our darling daughter who turned 14.
    Her birth details are familiar to me – what I still remember most is how fast she arrived compared to our first born (TS) who took his time. That said DD was one week late and we waited all over the May Day weekend for her to to appear!
    So how did you celebrate dear friend? You are also part of a much bigger family – RevGals is only the tip of the ice berg. Blows me away sometimes.

  10. I’m late with b’day wishes, but here is the song my grandmother always sang to us:
    Songbird’s birthday now is here,
    She has passed another year.
    So we wish her joy today,
    In her work and in her play!
    Many happy returns, dear Songbird!

  11. I’m really late with this, but my wish is the same. Hope it was a very merry birthday and that the year to come is filled with wonderful things!

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