Birthday Reflections as I turn 30

Tomorrow I am turning the big 3-0, which means that I have been kickin’ it on planet Earth for three decades! Whew!

I normally get crabby around my birthday. It’s happened ever since I could remember, and I didn’t really understand the correlation until I was an adult and in support with other adoptees. I wrote angsty journal entries as a teenager that would often ask my diary the question, “is this because I am adopted?” and now, as an adult, I can unequivocally say, “yes, it is.” For most people, birthdays are celebrations of birth, but for me, a celebration of my birth is also a bittersweet reminder that my birth resulted in a separation from my mother, father, and all my extended family. For the longest time I didn’t really feel born, more like I had simply somehow poofed into existence here, like an alien arriving from a different planet. And, until I was 25, I did not have any pictures of me, as a newborn. There was a few taken a few days later, but none of that moment, the one where I took my first few breaths and was held by my parents. But, when I met Father J, one of the first things he did was pull the two pictures of me that he had, out, and gave them to me. Two pictures. That’s all I have. One of me in my mother’s arms, she is not visible, except for her iv marks, which is strangely appropriate and sad, as a foreshadow of things to come and come and come. And one of him holding me. It’s been doubly exposed, though, as it was either taken over previous film or vice versa. Which is also appropriate…a life captured and then gone to be replaced by something different.

Baby Monk-Monk with Mama Ebaby monk monk with father j

So, this week, I’ve managed to oscillate between feeling excited about my upcoming joint birthday party with Potamus, and pissed off. I’ve mostly felt pissed off. I’ve sulked and tromped around and thrown mini-internal tantrums. Because,  I didn’t really understand the importance of a birth day or a birth story until I gave birth to Potamus. I wonder if I should simply start celebrating his birth as my own, since the day he was born, was the day I became a mother. Maybe in the future I will simply start celebrating my birth on the 2oth, as it was both the day I became a wife (anniversary) and a mother (birth of Potamus). Hey, I kinda like that idea.

Potamus 1 hour old Snuggling

But here I am, an individual, who was earthly born out of my mother’s body on December 13th. In Scandinavian tradition, the 13th is St. Lucia’s Day, typically thought to be the darkest day of the year, which is celebrated with children wearing crowns of candles and bringing their parents hot coffee and cinnamon buns. I think it appropriate that I was born on this day, and have loved the tradition and symbolism since I was a child. In fact, I created elements of this tradition in my wedding, with a red sash and crown and wedding favors of Norway Spruce.

6a00e5521f4a68883401053655aeaa970c-800wi Monk-Monk Wedding Dress & Sash

But in so many ways, 3 decades have gone by quickly. I’ve gotten to meet lovely people, and have had many many adventures. From spending a year barefoot, to river rafting in the Ganges, to riding in the Fremont Solstice Naked Bike Ride. I have a lovely group of friends, a comfortable home to come home to, and a sweet little family that I have created with Boof. I have so much to be thankful for, and am looking forward to the next 30 years. But growing old and looking back is still hard.

Taj Mahal Manastash RidgeSeattle Sounders Fremont Solstice Parade



  1. Reading this hit my heart so much. Since I signed those papers 3 years ago I have often wondered why my children feel towards me. Where the older two older enough to understand that I loved them so very much that I would walk through life in hell just to give them happiness or, would they simply hate me. Do they only remember that I was there and then I was gone. I don’t want them to hate me. I wanted them.. God how I wanted them.
    That being said. I think if they come to me and say.. “I can’t forgive you.” Then I will have to bare that pain and burden..
    On your birthday day please know that You were loved (I don’t yet know your full story) I know that you were loved because as a woman we have other options.. Your mother loved you enough to give you life. I have a sister who is adopted as well. So I understand your loss and confusion from what she has told me. You and her seem to help give me a view of things I can’t see and It helps. Enjoy your day, the day you arrived because believe it or not you do have a birth story.. and that is.. 1 your parents loved you enjoy to carry you and give you those first few breaths, they loved you enough to understand you deserved better than what they could give at the time you arrived.
    I don’t know if you believe in fate, destiny, or a Higher power but if you do maybe God just felt your mother was the perfect vessel to carry such an important and beautiful gift to your adoptive parents.

    • Yeah, I know I was loved…am loved…but it is still hard. My mother’s life was forever wrecked by my adoption, though my father said she was headed down that path anyway. I try, but it’s hard to have an adult relationship with someone who is still lost to drugs and alcohol. My siblings says she drowns her grief in substances, which is sad. I mostly just mourn for the what-ifs that could happen, though my cognitive adult self knows that the opportunities I’ve had are due to the sadness/loss/grief of losing my first family. Adoption is such a complex issue, which I’m sure you can relate to.

      thanks for your comment. It was helpful for me today. hugs.

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