Today is my darling daughter’s 11th birthday. I say “daughter” because she’s part of my new family, my new reality and she’s grown herself into the depths of my heart. She’s not biological but nonetheless, she’s the breath of fresh air every single day. I am so honored her parents agreed to allow me to raise her after their passing.
Today I get to have lunch at the school with her. I get to bring her a cupcake and a little bag of treats. I get to see her smile, and hear her laugh. I get to see the happiness that will bring on her face, and part of me feels guilt because it’s not her momma. Not her real one anyway. I cannot help but think Jennifer, her mom, is up in heaven wishing beyond all that is natural that today it could be her in front of her daughter.
Often, I bow my head and I cry. Not for me. For the loss the two of them must feel. I only hope that the gifts I buy, the cakes I serve, or the numerous silly kisses will wash away the pain of understanding that this is the very first birthday without either of her parents. Will she think of them? I hope so. Will she be sad? I pray only moments.
Today I feel blessed. Completely and utterly focused on raising her and her two siblings the best I can. It can be so overwhelming. The challenges of raising three traumatized kids, but my husband and I wouldn’t turn away from our responsibility no matter what. We love them just as though they’ve been with us since birth. That won’t ever change.