Four years since I first looked into those dark eyes and was lost forever.
Four years since the Magistrate signed the papers declaring me her mother.
How can four years feel like four seconds and forty years all rolled into one?
What a ride those four years have been.
I used to think parenting was about teaching your children –
four years have taught me that I am the student.
She is the balm that soothes my wounds.
One gentle touch from her can make my day, one shoved-away attempt at affection can ruin it.
She is my world. My destiny. My life.
I never expected motherhood to be so incredibly all-consuming, so powerful, so hard, yet so full of joy.
I never expected any of this.
Yet I’m still surprised daily.
Surprised at my own motherly instinct to protect her, no matter what, at any expense.
Surprised at how quickly and easily she can push every emotional button I have, some of them unknown prior to motherhood.
Surprised at how easily my heart (and eyes) well up with pride at moments I never thought I’d experience before I became a mother.
Surprised at the explosions of love and affection that slam into me over and over and over again.
So on this day, I celebrate her. I celebrate this life that brought me to her. I celebrate the gratitude I feel for having the privilege of knowing her, let alone being her mother. I mourn her losses that brought her to me. I mourn my losses that brought me to her.
Yet, my losses all seem worth it.
I know hers are not and it’s hard for me to acknowledge that if I had the power to make her losses disappear, I would also be making my presence in her life disappear, but I would do it if I could. For her. It’s so hard to speak of all my love and joy without acknowledging the pain that brought me that love and joy.
That’s the legacy of adoption, if you are honest about it.
However, today, we will celebrate.
We love her. She loves us. We are a family, and that is something to be celebrated.
Today is our day to celebrate a myriad of circumstances, good and bad, that came together to turn four incomplete people into a complete family.