Yesterday was August’s birthday; and, boy, did we ever honor the day: A birthday shirt proclaiming “It’s My First Birthday,” a hat declaring “I’m one!” as well as balloons, a birthday banner, and squished cake all over the place (wait, that might have been Edgar . . . but I digress).
When you form your family biologically, a birthday carries with it the added significance of what the word implies–a day of birth. It’s also the day you meet your child–after nine months of waiting–for the first time.
When you form your family through adoption, a birthday carries with it no less but decidedly different meaning. It is, of course, a day of birth–but also a day of loss for a birthmother who has made the most selfless of decisions and formulated an adoption plan. And for the adoptive parents, it may or may not be the day you meet your child (for Oscar, it was; for Edgar and August, it was not). It is also the day adoptive parents begin metaphorically (and sometimes literally) holding their collective breath. Nothing is for certain until Adoption Day; and so your child’s birthday is the day you begin waiting.
Many adoptive parents celebrate what is sometimes called “Gotcha Day,” the day your child came home. And while the term itself is occasionally met with controversy, the sentiment is undeniable: The day your child comes home to you is arguably of as much significance as his or her birthday.
So, lucky us . . . So many reasons to celebrate. On June 19th we will celebrate August’s birthday; and on August 25th we will celebrate the day he came home. Happy Birthday, August Farias! Were you ever worth waiting for!
On Monday, 14 June 2010, Edgar graduated from Shining Star Preschool. It was admittedly a year of transition for him in so many ways–starting at one preschool, moving to another, then to his final destination at Shining Star. He also lost his place in the hierarchy of his family–no longer the baby after four years of having been so. And though some are occasionally and alternately befuddled and fascinated by Edgar’s ways of interacting with the world, and some have questioned his maturity (at four years old) at various junctures, Edgar has persevered. And he has grown.
When I went shopping for his graduation party decorations, I started in the florist with the requisite and beloved bunch of balloons but found myself drawn after a quick glance to a vase of sunflowers. Without thought, I put a bouquet into my cart and kept shopping.
I brought them home and set them up, then noticed a paper Oscar had done at school, one I had hung up because it showcased his burgeoning printing skills:
And then it dawned on me: Like a sunflower, Edgar is indeed “beautiful,” “awesome,” “cool,” and “yellow.” But more than that, he has had to grow quickly–adjusting to various settings both inside and outside his home. And like a sunflower, he is striking, a force in the garden of life. He catches people’s eyes and forces them to linger.
In September Edgar will face yet another transition: Kindergarten. But until then, we are going to slow down, take in and honor the changes in this beautiful boy, linger . . .
Happy Graduation Day, Edgar! You are a gift to this world and my sunshine!
Being home with August at the beginning of the school year afforded me the opportunity to participate in the boys’ lives in many ways I can’t when I’m working: chaperoning field trips, serving on committees, being present for daytime performances. And throughout September, October, and November, I was able, on a few occasions, to drive Oscar to school.
I have always been the parent who picks up–the returning hero at the end of the day. I have seldom seen the morning struggles and occasional tears that come with saying goodbye to young children for the day. But in the fall, since I was home, I was able to drop Oscar off at school on several occasions.
Some of them were tough–especially in the beginning as our budding Kindergartener took in and negotiated his new environment. There was clinging, a tear or two, and a mother who had to extricate herself from a despondent boy with as much mock cheer as she could muster: “See you at 2:45 PM! Have a good day!”
Not easy–and my ride home by myself wasn’t pretty. My head knew that within two minutes of my leaving Oscar was fully ensconced in some fascinating activity not to mention the warmth of his teachers, but my heart broke having to walk away when all I wanted to do was hug him.
This week I had the opportunity to take Oscar to school again–his last day of Kindergarten. I held his hand as we walked to his classroom, helped him to consider and answer the question-of-the-day, and was struck when he left my side without a single bit of prompting and joined his friends at one of the tables.
This time the tears I cried on the way home were tears of pride–the contrast from the fall to June so marked, so striking.
Oscar, I know you and I have “miles to go before we sleep,” but I honestly couldn’t be more amazed by how many miles we’ve come. Happy Kindergarten Graduation, my sweetheart! You make my heart sing!
The first post was entered on 4 June 2008, so tomorrow marks two years.
And 307 posts and over 15,000 “hits” later, we are still going strong.
The name has changed from “Adventures with Oscar and Edgar” to “My Three Sons”; and, in fact, the busiest day for this blog was 26 August 2009–the day after August came home.
It remains a labor of love–a gift from me to my children, a record of their childhood and my approach to parenting; and just as I hope they will look back on their childhood with mostly fond memories, I hope that they will enjoy reading and reminiscing–and not suffer exorbitant embarrassment at my sharing their stories.
Sometimes I think about how this blog will change–in form and content–as the boys grow and become increasingly aware of its existence. I will always try to approach this endeavor with the utmost respect for my children and not share anything I think would make them uncomfortable. But my perspective may not always mirror theirs.
Oscar was almost four, Edgar almost three, and August not even yet born when this blog began. I can never anticipate what the next post will be, but with these three I can be assured of never running out of material. They are loved and worth writing about. And I hope that will come through to them when all that’s left of these days of early childhood are mere memories–and this blog–to remind us.