I recently saw my daughter for the first time in about a year. She turned 6 this past fall, is going to school, and looks just like me. She calls me by my name. I think if she ever called me her mother, I’d cry as I corrected her. She may be my daughter, but I am not her active parent, her active mother. I am her birthmom — not as a derogatory term, but simply as a clarification. A different type of mother.
My magical fairy daughter was born when I was 15. I kept her for 6 months, due to legal issues with the father. I wound up struggling through that time, loving and fearing everything, until I could give her to her mother and father. They are more than I could ever ask parents to be- loving, caring, supportive, strong, stable, beautiful souls. They’ve kept contact open since the day they brought her home, and thank me every time they see me for “everything.” We exchange emails, pictures, news, and stories. I love them with every bit of strength I have.
This doesn’t make it easier. Every time I see her, I mourn being an active, caretaking mother. I cry for the moments I miss, her first day of school, her first birthday party, Trick or Treating. I cry because she used to fit right into my chest, in between my breasts, like an extension of my heart, and now is so big that I can barely hold her on my lap. She’s a world of mystery and wonder that I get yearly glimpses into.
I get to hear stories about her friends, and movies, and how Mommy lost her rings which made her late for dance class but then she found them and gave them to her Mommy and this made her late for dance class and then she told the whole dance class that Mommy lost her rings but they found them and that’s why she was late. And every year, when dinner and presents and storytime is over, I drive off, I leave her behind. I cry.
My daughter loves Disney princesses, Star Wars, Toy Story, and scrapbooking. She dances and sings. She wants to be a nurse and a mommy when she grows up. She makes me cookies with her mom every year. She still thinks boys are stupid and icky. She can talk for hours and hours, and I can listen to every word. She knows that she gets her brown eyes, her hair, and her belly button from me. I don’t think she knows how much all of this means to me.
Maybe next year, instead of making her a hat or a zig zag scarf, I’ll make her a Mario- themed scarf. Maybe next year I can tell her all about grad school, and she’ll tell me all about elementary school. Maybe next year I will fall asleep smiling at how she hugs me. We can only take it a year at a time.