I am torn between celebrating an amazingly, spunky, enthusiastic, spirited daughter and avoiding all the dark feelings and regrettable emotions that her birthday bring to the surface. I want to host parties, full of balloons, decorations, laughter, and cupcakes while simultaneously wanting to drink all the wine and hide until June.
It's been 5 years. I ask myself if her birthday will always be this hard, but after 5 years, I know the answer. Nope. This year is easier than last, as her 4th birthday was easier than her 3rd. The effing cliche is right - Time heals.
But May will always bring memories. Memories I will cherish forever and memories that I long to erase. There are so many moments that are vividly etched into my memory, sights, sounds, smells, that I am certain that only a few days or weeks have gone by. Other moments are fragmented, foggy, comprised only of details I've pieced together from others, that entire weeks and months blur together.
This is how I know I am a mother. All mothers feel this way when their first born turns 5. Even the ones who have perfectly predictable, not-so-terribly traumatic, birth stories.
My struggles with infertility, my child's birth story, my illness, my PTSD/anxiety, my disability, these are all just details. They're important because they have shaped me and changed me inside and out, but they're not what defines me. And they're certainly not what separates me from other parents on the eve of their eldest child's 5th birthday.
|Emeline Joy Landefeld - |
photo taken May 28, 2010