I’m Sorry I Can’t Remember the Day You Were Born

It’s not because I don’t want to, but no matter how hard I try, Sweet Babies, I cannot remember the day you were born.

I wonder if it was an EARLY morning delivery like your oldest brother and if the nursing staff gathered to celebrate your arrival. I wonder if there was subtle uneasiness or eagerness for you to come quickly, like we experienced with that red-headed brother of yours. I don’t even know if you came faster than the doctor could expect, like your youngest older brother. I don’t know these things because I wasn’t there.

I remember Grammy’s disappointment that she wasn’t able to make it in time to see her fifth grandchild born. “It’s okay, Mom,” I teased. “The doctor didn’t make it in time either.” We all laughed at the truth that was beyond our control because the joy of that baby boy’s arrival was greater, but the sting of disappointment still lingered a bit. I’ve come to understand that in a whole new way recently.

I don’t even know what I was doing that day. Was I rushing your brothers to school when labor began? Was I focused on work or attending meetings the moment you gave your first cry? How could I have carried on with my daily routine so completely unaware of the miracle taking place? Is there a chance…ANY chance that I was thinking of you…and the dream of you…on that day? I’m sorry I don’t remember, Sweeties. I’m sorry I can’t tell you all about the day you were born.

Today, your birth certificates arrived. What an overwhelming thought. It says that I am your mother and Daddy is your father, and it tells how old we were, and where you were born, and all of the things that birth certificates are supposed to say. Except it doesn’t tell the rest of the story.

Tears pricked at my eyes this week when Daddy opened the mail and held the freshly printed certificates before me. I wasn’t sure whether to do a happy dance at yet another confirmation that God gave us you, or to weep at the loss…the tremendous loss that is so far from your understanding right now. And then it occurred to me that even though the certificate says it’s so, the reality is, I don’t remember the day you were born.

I’ll never be able to fix that, my precious children. I’ll never be able to tell you all of the details about that day (though I’m so thankful for the people who love you dearly who can help us fill in those gaps). I’ll probably always feel a lingering sting at the thought that I wasn’t there, but there is no doubt that the joy of your arrival is greater.

Even though I can’t remember the day of your birth, I will never forget the day you came home.

If unbuckling you from your seat didn’t wake you, Sweet Daughter, the pounding of my heart against yours probably did, as I lifted you into my arms for the first time. I hoped the softness of my clothing, so carefully selected for your comfort, might make you feel at ease. I prayed that you would be warmed by the sweet smell of our home and the loving arms that were so eager to envelope you. You were 20 ½ months old.

After settling sister in a bit, the first whimper from you, my handsome son, sent me right to your side. Hands shaking, I lifted you and began the shushing and swaying that seemed second-nature in spite of how far out of practice I was. I worried that I would be clumsy with bottles and formula, as I had never really used either one. I wondered if I would be able to comfort you and be all that you needed me to be. You were 2 ½ months old.

Your birth certificates were issued exactly two years and one day after our fostering license arrived. The day our license arrived, we announced to the Facebook world that we were EXPECTING. We didn’t know how many or what gender, but we knew we would welcome in whatever children the Lord brought us. We could not have predicted, could not have imagined, and could not have handled knowing all that the past two years would involve, but now with hindsight, we can look back and see how God was working.

God gave us you, Sweet Babies, and He isn’t worried that I can’t remember the day you were born. He doesn’t need me to know all about that. He was there, and He took care of you. The path was different, and difficult, and the labor much longer and in some ways more intense than the babies before you, but the end result is the same. I am your Mommy and you are my precious children, and the gift of that is beautifully overwhelming. By His Grace, God gave us you, and that, Sweet Babies, I will never forget.

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