He will be 5 this year. Gone are the toddler days, the little boy with the Mohawk and stuffed monkey. I’ve missed out on preschool, first days on the bus and fieldtrips. At least, I assume I have. The lack of communication means that’s all I can do.
I don’t know how he feels about last year’s birthday present, if it has even ever been read to him. I hope, deep inside, that his mom has read it to him with tears in her eyes, understanding deeply. I hope that the note inside has not been ripped out, that she also has read that many times. I hope she feels my love in it, a love she will pass on to him.
I’ve begun to daydream about what I would do for his 5th birthday, if I could. It’s hard, when I don’t even know what he is particularly into right now. All of the pictures I see are staged; his family on a porch, with his little sisters on their birthday.
So what would I do for a little boy that I barely know – except in the deepest parts of my soul – for a 5th birthday, when I have only been there to celebrate the day he was born?
I would take him to the zoo, a sort of recreation of our last visit. We would ride all the rides, see all the animals. I would help him feed the giraffes, though I doubt he would need my help any longer. We would talk about the stripes on the zebras, discuss how the seals are all sorts of different colors and patterns but they are the same inside.
We would have ice cream and I would laugh at his messy face. I would cry at his ability to now ride the carousel alone – my favorite picture of us is me helping him hold onto the horsey, kissing his cheek and him grinning, loving every second of it.
There would be a party in the park – all of his friends and family invited. Swings, slides, balloons, the whole works. A barbecue, a chance to get to know all of these people who are forever a part of my son’s life but are distant strangers to me. This would be the first time I have seen them all since his baby shower, held after the birth of Monkey. A celebration of 5 years of family.
Mostly, though, I would want to sign the decree that makes them a forever family. I would want to cry when the judge pronounces him as more their family and less mine. Tears of joy, relief, sadness. Tears of someone who can only know what that feels like when they have been there. I would hug him tightly, kiss his cheek, and tell him how much I love him.
At the end of the day, I would take him home to mom, looking in my rear view mirror to see him asleep in his booster seat. A job well done. A child well loved.
Instead, I will cry angry, regretful tears. If I could…
With Love Always,