October 13, 2009

Waiting, Watching, Hoping

There is just one link left in the paper chain hanging in Puppy's bedroom. We've taken a link off every night for over eighty nights, counting down the days until his birthday. We made the chain nearly three months ago to try to channel some of the constant birthday talk that was already coming from the little guy. This birthday is a Very Big Deal. The source of much planning and enthusiasm. He could barely stay in bed tonight, so wriggly with excitement was he at the thought that his birthday was only one more day away.

Meanwhile I am busy prepping decorations and designing cakes. Wrapping presents and planning parties. And holding my breath to see if this year his first parents will remember him.

"Remember him" isn't the right phrase to use, I know. I shouldn't question that. Of course they will think of him on Wednesday; I'm sure they could never forget him any day, much less his birthday. But when a birthday or holiday passes with no card or gift or phone call, forgetting is how it seems to come across to Puppy, a little boy for whom it's so very important to know that people miss him.

Some years either Kelly or Ray will call but not the other. One year Kelly was here in person. Once there was an unwrapped box, delivered two months late, with an unsigned card and its envelope tossed in the bottom. Christmas has been even more spotty.

Part of me understands, or tries to. People can be busy.  First parents have told me that birthdays and holidays can be difficult, as painful emotions and events are revisited. Maybe they think he is too young to care, although we've said as explicitly as we can that acknowledging his birthday seems to be more significant to him than anything aside from visits. But another part of me, the protective parental part, struggles when faced with a crestfallen child who sees all his other far-away relatives reaching out to him on birthdays and at Christmas, and notices who is missing. Notices and asks why. Asks me, who has no good answers.

I know not every child notices the way Puppy does, or as young as he started to. Firefly is closing in on her second birthday and couldn't care less about gifts or who they are from (she chooses to see everything in the world as hers for the taking). But not Puppy. As soon as he began speaking, he could tell you who gave him a certain item. He remembers long after I've forgotten something was even a gift. He thrills at mail addressed to him. He keeps his birthday cards in a special cabinet and looks through them from time to time.

We're only on our fourth birthday. I keep telling myself that. There is time for new patterns, for these few years to just be a blip. I'm trying to be hopeful. I'm trying really hard. And also thinking about how I'll talk with him this year if nothing comes.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I struggle with visits that are initiated and then must be canceled at the LAST minute. ::: SIGH :::

The optimist in me keeps trying.

Jacksmom said...

This makes me so sad for you and for Puppy. It's so hard to see your child's feelings hurt. I hope that your sweet Puppy gets a special package in the mail today!

mama2roo said...

Oh, this makes my guts anxious. I KNOW so well what you're saying and think I know what you're feeling. Leave it to our boys to be so perceptive.

In the meantime, as you wait and hope, I'll be hoping right along with you, and wishing Puppy has the very best 4th birthday that anyone could possibly have. I'm loving that kiddo from here!
AND-love the chain idea!!

Dawn said...

I'm sorry that things are so hard for Puppy and that whatever is keeping his first parents from honoring his birthday is standing in the way. It is very hard to see our children hurting so much and not being able to fix it. It's by far the most painful thing I've had to deal with in my parenting career so far. I just have to keep reminding myself that the only thing I can do is what I also need to do -- hold her in my love and prayers and see her through it. I just wish that felt like enough.

Valerie said...

Puppy is not the only one! I'm an adult, and it still hurt that my birth parents didn't even acknowledge my birthday this year. Those hurts don't ever quite vanish. But he's lucky to have a MOM who loves him so much!

mayhem said...

Oh sweet Puppy...

I think sometimes part of what makes it tricky for me is not knowing what will happen and therefore not knowing how best to prepare. Does that make sense? Pumpkin's mom has always called on his birthday and on significant holidays, which is awesome. Sometimes she sends a gift and sometimes not. Happily, Pumpkin doesn't seem to be super sensitive about whether or not there are gifts/cards. He's most excited about getting to talk to his sisters on the phone. So I'm glad that so far he's always been able to have the contact or acknowledgement that's most important to him. Hoping for that for Puppy this year!

Actually, my son's grandparents (my in-laws) sometimes don't recognize their birthdays at all and that annoys me to no end. The boys have not noticed...

luna said...

that has to be so hard, trying to manage or at least address his expectations. I really hope they pull through this year. he sounds like such a sweet boy.

Tiruba said...

I have only heard from one of my kids first parents on a birthday...ever. And it was a month late. But it was something. Sad.

karlindaadoption said...

Oh, poor Puppy. He sounds like such a sweet little boy. And it must seem like such an impossible thing to explain to him. I hope he has the best 4th birthday, with presents from all the important people.

(We've just nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger award over on our blog.)

Sonya and Scott said...

I went back and read your earlier posts that you linked. I have SO been there on the subject of wishing things were simpler, and that I didn't have to "share" my boys with another mom, but it IS reality, and sometimes it's just emotionally draining!!! BUT, our kids would not be who they are if I wished life to be different, and I have no desire to change my life...so I just have to "suck it up" (my words to myself) and move on...

Anonymous said...

I so hear you on this. Happy birthday to a sweet, big boy. Four is awesome in so many ways- I hope he has a good one, and that you all do too.

Annie said...

We have a boy that is soo into his birthday, it's in January and we're already asking about it. He'll be five this year, and as soon as that happens he'll be asking about Kindergarten.

We are just finalizing our adoption of him and his twin sister and their older brother, we've had them since the twins were five weeks, and finally after all this time, mama is remembering that they love their birthday and want to share it with her.

hugs to puppy and you

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