Don’t count my candles…

May 29, 2006 at 9:22 am 5 comments

Today is my birthday. That horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day is back. It happens every year. Yet every year I am surprised by it. Why have I not matured enough to get over the fact that this day is so depressing.

A BIRTHday. The day I was born. Another year away. So far away from that day. The day of mystery and confusion. Did she hold me near her? Did she kiss me? Did she look into my eyes? And did they look like her eyes? And did she never want to let go?

My birthday is celebrated as if it is all remembered. It's not. It's all gone. Gone into the past – a sealed record – an adoption file. A search not yet taken…

I remember the first time I cried on my BIRTHday. I was six years old that day and we were having a swimming party at the country club my parents were members of. Can you picture all the little white girls in their swimsuits? Those are my friends. We swam around and played games. I watched everyone have fun and through my fogged up swimming goggles it could all go away. I wanted a swimming party every year if I could have my fogged up goggles, too. I dreaded the birthday cake.

"Hey, Julia, your candles…." ,Rachel started to say.

"Don't count them! It's none of your business!" I screamed at her.

My mother was fast to correct my rude behavor and reminded me that they are our guests. She explained to Rachel and the rest of those happy — soon to be unhappy – girls that it was a candle for my birth mother. I picked up the extra candle that my mother always places there "in honor of your birth mother who gave us this day" and I threw it into the pool.

"Why am I the only one with an extra candle?!" I yelled back with tears streaming down my face. (And why can't anyone understand?)

Do you know what a cake with 24 candles looks like? It looks stupid. It looks sad. It looks different than everyone else's cake does on their 23rd birthday. It's an extra load. A reminder of the gap, the adoptee space.

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Entry filed under: Adoption.

Mommies Chinky Eyes

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sara  |  June 8, 2006 at 7:00 pm

    hmmmm……. I think my daughter will not be getting any extra candles on her cakes.

    I guess that is part of a general policy we’re evolving of, the adoption-related things are for family only unless/until she indicates she wants other people involved in them. At a minimum that’s some years in the future.

    But – very glad you are back and blogging, and happy birthday!

    Reply
  • 2. Amy  |  June 28, 2006 at 10:06 pm

    Your posting brought tears to my eyes. My daugher just had her second birthday and I put an extra candle for the year I missed. Now I feel silly. I find your writing inspiring. You should write a book! Hope you don’t mind a stranger peeking at your blog.

    Reply
  • 3. Journeywoman  |  August 1, 2006 at 10:48 pm

    Just found your blog via Dawn (a Woman’s Work). You are an amazing writer.

    My husband is an adoptee and he too hates his birthday. It’s made worse because he shares it with his father so he can’t just tell his parents that he wants to run and hide on his birthday and not celebrate it. He read over my shoulder and wanted me to tell you that he admires the courage it took to throw the other candle in the pool.

    Reply
  • 4. Mo  |  August 5, 2006 at 10:00 am

    No one ever put an extra candle on my birthday cake. How interesting. We have never known when my exact birthday was and my parents were always pretty clear about that. Since the day that was chosen for me was four days before my mother’s birthday, she really thinks we share the same day.

    I like birthdays…not because it represents when I was born or where I was born…but because each year I’m one year older. I know that a lot of people don’t like getting older, but I like it. I look at it this way…for every year that I gain…I gain one more year of experiences. Good or bad, they shape who I am going to be.

    Reply
  • 5. Margie  |  May 15, 2008 at 10:34 am

    (((((Julia)))))

    Reply

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Julia’s Jam

It’s just not that black & white. Not because I am taking a stand against. Just because, the issues I face are somewhere in the grey area and to weed through them, I blog. I blog. ~

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