I Missed It All

I set my alarm for 5 am, I wanted to write down thoughts that were fresh today, not exhausted emotions from last night. I was confident things would flow early in the morning, so I let go of my frustrated empty pages from the night before and went to bed.

My alarm rings, I hit snooze. Eight minutes later it’s annoying me again, I hit snooze and look over at my sleeping laptop sitting on the fresh sheets next to me. The dark early morning sky is still present in the window behind my head. I reach over and open the curtain wider, searching for any inspiration to start today’s thoughts; nothing comes.

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I sink into my blankets again and enjoy the crisp cold air in my bedroom compared to the warmth of my bed. I could lay here all day. I want to lay here all day, and yet I am shocked, again, at my emotional response to today’s events. Where is the joy? Then a maniacal laugh in my head reminds me that this entire journey has been this way; contrasting emotions.

That positive pregnancy test was followed by fear and joy.

Every conflicting emotion came as I decided to place my baby girl for adoption.

Years of grief have found me at my weakest and my strongest moments.

Every birthday has brought celebration and sadness.

The emotional highs and lows would knock even the most stable person on their ass.

I wanted to roll over this morning and feel and find the joy. I wanted so much to make this birthday different, it should be different, but as every moment before this, it’s never what I expect or what I think it should be. The contrasting emotions have been brewing in my chest for a week now, and though this year was a smoother ride than years before, I still find myself begging for relief.

The reality is, I have missed it all. I missed messy morning hair, nasty morning breath, delicate skinny limbs wrapped around me for morning snuggles. Those days are gone, and yet I was never there for the first, the third or the 100th one. She learned how to tie her shoe, ride her bike, wear makeup, dress for her first date, study for an exam, build friendships, and I wasn’t there; I missed it all. That’s the hard cold truth.

And all I want is to fold her into my arms and pretend I know her, her inside jokes, her friends, her likes and dislikes but I don’t. I want to buy her a birthday gift I know she’ll love, but I don’t know what she loves. I know eighteen years of loving her from afar. I know eighteen years of the shadow of where she should be. I know eighteen years of who she helped me to become, and in that space is where I find the joy.

All that I am is because I missed it all.

And as difficult as that is to admit, I can’t deny that the contrast of emotions has taught me appreciation. The hole in my heart has shown me endurance. The extreme desire to know who she is has pushed me to know myself, so that she may be proud of the person I have become. I'm going to focus on that and leave these tears on my pillow and the troubling thought that I have missed it all, and find the joy in the journey.

Today, my little butterfly, you turn eighteen-years-old, and all I want to do is hold you and thank you. Thank you, for the ride of my life that taught me how to love, how to live, how to survive, how to grow, and how to find my voice!

My love begs for you to recognize that every day, every moment I physically missed, I was always there; inside of you. Every butterfly that has caught your eye and flown around you has carried my passion and love in its wings.

I have only missed what I cannot see and touch, but I have never missed a day of loving you!

Happy Birthday my bright and beautiful girl!