Four No More

T-bone turned five yesterday. He triumphantly announced- I’ll never be four again. And then he said- Mommy, what’s wrong? Because of course I was sobbing all over the turkey sandwich I was making for his lunch.


bowl 3

bowl 2

I lost my mind and threw him a big bowling shindig this weekend (his idea), and it was actually fun and gratifying. It was the first birthday that he was conscious of what it meant that all of his friends showed up for him. He talked about it for days. Of course, the other side of the coin is that now he cares whether or not friends come to his parties, which is pretty much the root of all childhood pain. So here it all is- the delight and the vulnerability to heartbreak. It’s all happening, friends. He turned five. Five.

bday 2


And three seconds ago, a heartbeat ago, a lifetime ago, on another continent, in some other dimension, this happened:


Of course, I think about his birth mother a lot around his birthday. As an adoptee, it took me a long time to realize why birthdays were such a complicated emotional mess for me. I try to be conscious of that complexity with T, try to be a little extra soft, a little extra patient. I don’t think I’m projecting when I sense some sadness in him. On the morning of his actual birthday, he hid under the couch pillows and didn’t want to talk about it. But, being T, he shook it off in favor of crazy dancing. Because if that kid has a talent for anything in this world, it is joy. I hope somewhere, somehow, his birth mother can feel the reverberation of that joy in her bones.

3 thoughts on “Four No More

  1. What a lovely post. I don’t normally comment on blogs, but I had to this time because you mention the messy pain for adoptees around birthdays. As an adoptee I have never celebrated my birthday (still don’t), but since having my son I now understand why birthdays are so important to other people. I get so much happiness from celebrating my sons birthday, to give him that day that shows him how special he is in this world. I’m glad to see your little man shines with so much joy and brings such happiness to your world.

  2. yep, those birthdays are strange things for us adoptees. since i reunited with my birth mom (i was 29 at the time) i now send her flowers on “our birthday” [meaning my birthday]. something about that just feels right, you know?

  3. I’m blown away by how much I miss your words. And wondering if it would be wise to stay up later than the 3am it is now to keep reading. Probably not but I never could pass up a string of well-crafted sentences. Fell for you through Brandy Black/The Next Family, read “Some Girls” and “Pretty” – loved both – and then somehow a couple years past and I forgot to keep up with what Jillian Lauren had to say. I have some catching up to do.

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