Growing up, birthdays always turned into some sort of sad memorial for the birth mother I never knew. I guess it was the realization of never having known her which turned a festive day into a full-blown day of mourning. On birthdays, If I focused long enough, I could imagine her eyes peering out at me from some unknown corner of the planet, or maybe, I thought she was looking down upon me from the heavens. I always wondered if she thought of the baby girl she had left in that cold downtown hospital, patrolled by nuns regimenting young unwed mothers while viciouslyÂ guarding tiny newborns. â€śItâ€™s my party and Iâ€™ll cry if I want toâ€ť remained my birthday theme song for many years.
I remember my sweet-sixteenth (the same age of my mother when she had me). My sweet father had planned a surprise party for me; there were bowed gifts, sprinkled cupcakes, and friends and family waiting for me at home. But I was nowhere in sight. Somewhere between Algebra class and the bus stop, I had plunged straight into a dark abyss of despair and self-pity, and wallowed in it. They found me lying in a neighborâ€™s backyard; face down in the dirt, eyes stained with black mascara, and a stomach full of pink Boones Farm. Oh, I was in trouble, deep dark trouble. I knew from that day forward, my salvation hinged upon finding her.
It took me fifteen years. Fifteen more stinking birthdays to do it, but I prevailed.
The day I met my birthmother was the day that void within me closed forever. Today, birthdays are as they should be: celebrations of life.Â Yes, another birthday is approaching, and Iâ€™m free from the fear that I will jump into an abyss of my own making. Iâ€™m happily awaiting my birthday, and my next, and my nextâ€¦I cannot wait to hear my family, including my birthmother, wish me another year of happiness. My only regret now: never having said Iâ€™m sorry to my dear old dad for being such an unruly teenager! Sorry Daddy.
Written by:Â Bunny Christine Arlotti