Dec 12, 201109:30 PMChina Mom
Today and tomorrow
Today is my daughter’s birthday. She’s six this year. And for the fifth year in a row, today and tomorrow are, at times, bittersweet for me.
In our home, today is known as “the most wonderful day of the year.” Because she’s a kid, my daughter naturally loves her birthday. She has literally been counting down the days until today. I honestly think it’s helped her improve her math skills. I’ve had to do some pretty quick ciphering lately to keep up with her.
To make a December birthday something special in the middle of Christmas mania I made her a has a “birthday tree.” It’s a pink feather boa number a friend gave me the Christmas before we went to China. I decorated it with pink and purple ornaments and we place her birthday presents under it. It’s a nice splash of pink amid the red, green and gold of Christmas.
But amid all the pink, sparkles, happiness and joy of today, “it” is lurking. That thought of tomorrow in the back of my mind. Not literally tomorrow, but what tomorrow represents and the knowledge of what happened six years ago in China on December 13.
This morning, my birthday girl made an innocent, candid statement that brought tomorrow smack dab into the middle of today: “I was born today, but you got me when I was eight months old,” she said while I brushed her hair.
I hesitated for a split second before answering. “That’s right…we have two days to celebrate every year: your birthday and our Family Day.” I waited for what I thought would be her next question…but it didn’t come. Instead, she went on with her plans for the day, her party and if she could open a present before school.
But there “it” was. Tomorrow was here. That reminder that she was left at the gates of a Chinese office building when she was one day old. I don’t really need reminding. I think about that all the time. But today and tomorrow, that fact is particularly poignant…particularly painful…particularly bittersweet.
I wonder if today and tomorrow are filled with sorrow for her birthparents in China. They had to give away their baby girl – for reasons I’ll never know, but can only assume. I don’t know how long my daughter was alone outside that office building on that cold December morning. I only know she was wearing a “blue coat.”
Six years ago tomorrow someone left her. But then…someone else picked her up. And her journey to our family began.
I often wonder if her birthmother thinks about her baby girl and what became of her. Tomorrow is tinged with pain and sorrow for me, but all I have to do is look at my daughter, see her smile and hear her say, “I love you,” and all that sorrow fades to the background.
My questions may never be answered, but they’re from the beginning of the story. I know how it’s unfolding. I’m helping write it. And that makes my tomorrow brighter.