When I was an adolescent, my mother was a stay at home mom until my younger brother started school. I am four years older than he. She was able to have a few more dollars here and there, to spend on herself and her children.
Mom had her early version of gift baskets, in the form of a box of goodies, gaily wrapped for the occasion. Not a big gift, but a collection of smaller gifts, each thoughtfully chosen with her children in mind. One year in particular, on Valentines day, I recall receiving a 45 rpm record, a suede purse with fringe and beads and socks. I think I was probably in about seventh grade, maybe sixth. Just past the age when boys and girls would take stacks of valentines to school to drop in gaily decorated brown paper bags or shoe boxes. Into that age when there was giggling and teasing about 'girlfriends' and 'boyfriends'. Mom made us feel special, feel loved.
I have a daughter. She was born February 21, 1985. She was adopted at birth by a wonderful, loving family in Rhode Island. I think somewhere in my mind I imagined I would have another child. Never happened. I have mentioned before how hard this time of the year has been for me through the years. The exquisite pain of being without the only child I would ever bring into this world is part of that desolation and despair.
I was blessed with a new appreciation for life in 2008 when she and I 'found' one another. I refrain from talking about her very much online, not because I am ashamed of her but because I want to respect her privacy. She and I are slowly getting to know one another, and it is at times scary. She is so like me, in odd and different ways. We look alike, which I suppose is not surprising. We have very similar tastes in food, aversions to the same items, and an addiction to cheeses. If it were our choice, mayonnaise would never be smeared on another sandwich. One day, when the courage factor is high, I will share more detail about the months leading up to her birth publicly. Not today though. She knows the story, that is what matters. I openly and honestly answered every question she had after 23 years of conjecture the first few times we talked. We both cried many tears during those conversations.
So rather than giving her a box of goodies this Valentines Day, the way my mother would give me, I am working at giving her pieces of who she is. She reads this blog, every post. She tells me so, when we talk. The pictures I post from time to time, the stories of my family and friends, the ramblings of my adult ADD mind, all of these are for her.
Happy Valentines Day, to my beautiful, amazing daughter. I look forward to seeing you soon.