I love the fall.
Growing up in New England, it was easy for the changing leaves to become passé. But as an adult, I can really appreciate the beauty of the season. Truth be told, autumn is my favorite time of year. And the main reason why has nothing to do with the leaves.
My son was born in the fall. After a few false labors, he was born early in the month of October and then placed in an open adoption exactly one week later.
When I think back over the years, I’ve been in lots of different places when his birthday rolls around. For most of the 90s, I worked in the theme parks at Disney World. It was easy to become distracted; for goodness sake I was literally at the happiest place on Earth, right? But no matter where I’ve been or where I am now, my son is on my mind every day, but more so on both his birthday and his placement day.
On his birthday this year, like so many others, I let my mind wander and became a time traveler.
Images of him on the day he was born and the following few days in the hospital are vivid in my mind’s eye. So big…so cute…
I remember dressing him in his little outfit. The one I had so carefully chosen for him a few weeks prior. A gender-neutral “Winnie the Pooh” ensemble–perfect for a boy or a girl. Ironically, I would choose similar outfits for both of my daughters as their “coming home from the hospital” outfits several years later. It was surreal. I was a kid myself. Awkwardly holding him in that nervous teenager-y way. And all the while hoping I wouldn’t hurt him. Hold the head. Not too tight. Watch his arms.
His parents sent me lots of photos several times a year, recapping some of their family memories. There were always photos of his birthday parties. Blowing out candles. Wearing a party hat. Huge smile on his face. These images of his early birthdays ran through my mind like the pages of a treasured scrapbook.
And then I jump to his teenage years and a trip I made to his home for his parent’s 25th anniversary celebration. Their anniversary is the day after his birthday so I was able to join them for two big family events. Although I was nervous to meet many of his extended family, they embraced me into their circle. It was a fun-filled, albeit quick weekend visit. But one that I hold dear because I got to spend it with him.
Another birthday I was able to spend with him was when he turned 21. This was just a few years ago. He and his brother, their parents and some close friends took the red-eye to New England from California. My husband and I, my folks, and his birthfather’s family met up with him in Boston and joined their partying clan. A Red Sox game one night followed by a festive night of…well…introducing him to the “finer establishments” in Beantown. He was, after all, turning 21!
Yes, I’ve been lucky to have spent a few birthdays with him over the years. And for the years when I don’t see him in person on this special day, we talk on the phone or text or email one another. And I can look out my window and enjoy the beautiful changing leaves. So, so lucky.
About the author:
Kim is a writer, blogger, wife and mom to two daughters age 9 and 2. She is also a birthmom involved in an open adoption for the last 25 years. She welcomes your thoughts and feedback! Please feel free to email any topic ideas or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image credit: Fallen Leaves by mksfly at Flickr