I set her down and start picking out her clothes, when a voice from the top bunk says, "Strawberries." I look quizzically up at Brianna, who explains, "Strawberry outfits." Ah, got it. I can do that. I select Hannah's strawberry outfit and debate red shoes or brown shoes and then leave her to get dressed as I go take my shower.
The reality is, I was feeling very emotional the whole time I was in there. With a moment to myself in the shower, I started to sort out why that is. With my other children, I can say things like, "Good morning! This time X years ago, I had no idea today would be your birthday" or "This time X years ago, I had been in labor for hours and was so anxious to finally hold you." There have been discussions like, "You were born in the evening, so technically you aren't X years old until X o'clock."
I don't have any of that for Hannah. I don't even know what I was doing on the day she was born. Oh, I've looked at our 2007 calendar and I can get a general idea from the appointments listed what our life was like that day, but there's nothing on that day to mark it as a meaningful occasion. Nothing to anchor it in my memory.
I can't help but wonder what Hannah's birth day was like. Was her mama young or old? Was she hoping for a son? Does Hannah have any siblings? How long was she in labor? Was it a beautiful spring day? Was she born in the day or at night? What time?
And now? Did she spend yesterday remembering her little girl? Would she want to know that Hannah is well and happy now? Would it surprise her to see her formerly crippled daughter walk, run, and play with her siblings?
These thoughts and more swirl around in my head as I start the day. Fortunately, there are plenty of things to distract me from my musing, and I soon find myself covered in frosting, enjoying the more light-hearted aspects of birthday celebrations.
Panda cupcakes for school
Later, when dinner is over, and presents have been opened, and my little surprise has happened, I'm sure there will be a Light and Fluffy Birthday Post with lots of smiling pictures. But I couldn't let this day go by without acknowledging the sense of loss inherent in adoption. If *I*, who clearly won the most, getting a great child as my own, can see and feel the losses, how much greater will Hannah feel them as she gets older and develops a greater understanding of what it all means?
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