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A Birthday Wish

            Birthdays have always been my least favorite celebration – ever.  To me, birthdays are just a painful reminder of the day I was born, taken from my mother and then handed over to strangers.  Strangers, who would legally adopt me as their own, but raise me with the constant reminder that I was not really one of them, nor could I ever expect to be.

            Every year on my birthday, I would set aside some time to sit by myself in silence, pondering if my birth mother was thinking of me. Did she wonder what type of person I was growing up to be?  Did she regret giving me away? Or did she stop thinking about me after she gave birth and handed me to strangers, putting that chapter out of her mind and moving on with her life.

 

            This scenario played out year after year and honestly continues to this day. Even though I finally searched for and found my birth mother when I was thirty, the connection that comes from a lifetime of shared experiences was not there. While we were in reunion, I truly enjoyed the experience of finally looking in the mirror and seeing a familiar face, one that reflected my own image. It was nice to learn where my talents, traits and quirks came from. However, it was sad that we lacked the lifetime of shared experiences to build a stable foundation and relationship going forward.

 

            We did try, after our initial reunion, to build a new relationship based on our mutual interests. While we did enjoy working on projects together, I could feel a certain distance between us on a deeper emotional level. As our relationship began to stagnate, a further sense of distance began to build forcing our relationship to become more and more superficial over time until finally communications stopped.

 

            I went into search and reunion with high hopes of finding the answers to my past. I can honestly say that I did learn a lot about myself and the family from which I came. But I did feel bad that our relationship going forward did not have a better outcome.

 

            After a few years of hearing nothing from my biological family, I decided to try to open communications between us once again. Deciding to send my birth mother a birthday card, I just wanted to let her know I was still thinking about her. What I didn’t expect, however, was that the card would come back in the mail with a yellow sticker that said ‘undeliverable – forwarding address expired’.

 

            I was crushed as I sat there staring at the yellow sticker on the returned envelope. So much for the thought of ever reuniting again in the future, I thought. Although I was feeling betrayed and abandoned again, I still wanted my birth mother to know that I still was thinking about her. Putting the returned envelope in a larger envelope, I sent it off to the address on the yellow sticker. I assume that it arrived successfully, since I did not receive the envelope back in the mail, again.

 

            I don’t know if she ever opened the envelopes or read my card. It has been over a decade since I sent her the card but I have never heard anything from her. I assume her silence is the answer that I never wanted.

 

            I doubt that I will ever hear from my birth mother or anyone else in my birth family again. But I can’t help wondering if maybe she is wondering if I think about her today on her birthday the same way I always wondered if she thought of me on my birthday. In any case, since today is her birthday, I just wanted to wish her a happy birthday and let her know that I am thinking of her.

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