Today marks one year since I've seen my baby girl in person. I feel like, since October, the only two words out of my mouth have been "one" and "year," so I apologize for being so redundant. It's just hard to stop and think about what I was doing one week ago, one month ago, and especially one year ago, when I'm not completely moving forward. I hope that this gets easier with time. I don't believe I'll be sitting here dwelling on what happened two years ago or five years ago or ten years ago...but one year is like the tippity-top of a giant mountain for me. A mountain I've been climbing since, well, a year ago. Being 11/11/11, I've heard and seen so many people saying 'make a wish' today. I wish I could be with my daughter. I wish I could have given her what the W's give her. But the truth is, I couldn't then and I can't now. I can't dwell on that "what-if's?," they drive me insane.
I received a message today that stung, really badly. It screamed of ignorance and at first I thought I could try to educate the girl who sent it to me, but after one message back to her, I realized that it was a lost cause. Maybe she didn't mean to hurt me, maybe she did, I'm not sure. Let me start from the beginning. I worked with this girl at a financial services building, and there were five or six of us packed into little cubicles. We all got to know one another, but not extremely intricately. We were more than acquaintances, but would never spend time together outside of work. Anyways, that was in late 2009. We all got laid off in early 2010 (when I had just gotten pregnant and didn't even know it), so while she knew about my daughter's bio father, she knew nothing of my pregnancy or the adoption (because, at the time, I clearly didn't either). Let me also clarify what I mean by "she knew about my daughter's bio father" - she knew he existed, knew I was in a relationship with him. She knew nothing else, no one there did. She didn't know that that was just around when we started constantly arguing...she didn't know that he was the reason why I'd disappear into the conference room with my phone and come out with tears running down my cheeks at least one day a week.
I'm getting off track. What I'm trying to say is, while this girl knew me, she also didn't know me at all. Knew my face but barely knew the first thing about me. She friended me on facebook way back when, and we've been friends ever since, until today. I posted a status about my daughter today, saying something about how I can't believe it's been a year since I've seen her in person and that missing her never gets easier. Looking back on it, I guess I did it as sort of a 'warning' to my friends. I've been in a mood for the past week or so, and they either try to cheer me up (much appreciated) or just leave me alone. I planned wholeheartedly to just be anti-social today and stay in bed and watch sappy movies, and I didn't want anyone to think I was annoyed with them and/or ignoring them. So I sort of made a PSA about something I probably should have sent in a text message to the 3 or 4 friends who I talk to on a daily basis. Shoulda, coulda, woulda...isn't that what I was just saying I can't dwell on? Right.
So within 3 minutes I get a private message from the girl mentioned above. She may or may not read this, I don't know, and I don't care. The following is our conversation:
Her: Hey girl I know I'm being wicked nosey but I can't help but reading ur status's and seeing how much pain ur in and how much u miss ur baby why did you give her up?
(side note: just reading the phrase 'give her up' went through me like a rusty nail, but I looked past that because I would have used the same wording two years ago, before I had this experience. I wasn't going to answer at all, but if you know me, you know I have a hard time letting things go)
Me: Because although I knew it would kill me but I'd rather be upset so she can be happy. It wasn't necessarily what I wanted for me but I had to put her first and she needed and deserved more than her father and I. She is extremely well taken care of and will always know me.
Her: I don't have much I'm unemployed I live in public housing and can't go out every weekend with them or anything but I'm happy cause I have them and they are happy with what they have, I think without my boys I would literally be dead by now they changed my life around for the better I just don't understand and I don't mean this in any wrong way but my heart breaks when I read ur status i have been in shelters and slept in my car with my son but as long as we were together everything was ok and we stuck in there and now we have a roof over our head
Me: I guess I can't explain it to you. I could have done the same thing with her and I don't mean this in a bad way either but I didn't want her going through that because she didn't ask to be born to someone with an unstable job and an unstable relationship. Going into a shelter with her and waiting for housing crossed my mind many times but I couldn't stand the thought of her going through that with me when she could have so much better. She would have been happy with me and more than loved and taken care of but wouldn't have had all that she deserved
Her: OK But my son does not even remember any of that he was 3 weeks old and his father is not around but my 10 month olds dad is but right now at this very moment I do it all myself I'm a single mother of a 4 year old and a 10 month old and we get by we may not have it all but we have eachother. I just don't think I would understand if my mom did that u know? Don't you know all babies want and deserve there mother?
ARGH! (I won't even go into the their/there error, although I want to) can you believe this? Who is she to make me feel like scum? Worse, why am I letting her? I let it go after that and didn't say anything. I was nicer than I should have been. What I wanted to tell her was: You, as a mother, should be familiar with the feeling of wanting your child to have the best of everything life has to offer him or her. If you think that living out of a car and having a dad come in and out of his or her life is what's in your child's best interest and what your child deserves, then more power to you. I, on the other hand, wanted my daughter to have so much more and knew she deserved so much more. I could have done it and yes, she would have been happy. She would have known no different. There are millions of young, single moms who do it everyday, and I look up to them for being so strong. It's a personal choice, and I don't think you have any right to tell me one way is better than another. You chose your path and I have chosen mine, and they are both difficult roads to travel. We are both mothers who did and are doing what we think is best for our children whether they are with us or not. Lastly, I know my daughter deserves her mother, and she has her mother - the woman who loves her as her own and raises her is her mother. In fact, she has two mothers who love her to the ends of the earth and would do anything possible to keep her safe and happy. Which is what I did and what her mother continues to do.
I have never, ever, ever been one to put myself on a pedestal, and that is far from what I'm doing right now. I'm not being self-righteous and saying that adoption is the only way to go if you can't provide your child with a solid gold training potty and a Mercedes for their 16th birthday. I did what was best for me and for my daughter at the time, and I would do it again for her in a heartbeat if I knew she would be happier and more stable. Keeping my child and doing what this girl is doing would have been the easier thing to do. It may have been a struggle every day, but it would have been a million times easier on my heart.
I would never and have never messaged this girl when her status' were about fighting with her son's dad or needing food stamp money. Never once, because (a) I'm not judging her and (b) you couldn't pay me to be that rude to someone. I understand that she has not been through it and is not a birth mom herself, and it's hard for anyone who hasn't worn these shoes to try them on even for a second. But it's because of this that she should have realized to keep her mouth shut. If she meant to be consoling or helpful to me in any way, all she succeeded in was the opposite.
It offended me to the core and hurt, a lot. Again, I guess it's hard to be on the side of the fence you have to stand on when you defend the statement, "I did what I did because I loved her to death," because that sentiment is rarely understood by the majority of people. Most think, if you loved her so much, how could you be without her? I can't tell you how. It's hell sometimes. I can't tell you how I get up out of bed every day and live my life without her because most of the time I don't know how I do it. I just know why I do it, and that is because I need to be someone she is proud of someday. I did what I did all for her and I do what I do now all because of her.
This girl acted as if I elected to get pregnant and walked down the yellow brick road that is adoption and happily signed away my rights to my daughter. She also acts as if I just dropped her off on the sidewalk and hoped someone who was qualified to be a parent picked her up and took her home. I think this got under my skin more than it normally would simply because today is the one year mark. It's 8:18 right now . . . I walked out of the house without her at 8:30 on this day last year. It's hard. It sucks, and it hurts, but I'm not going to throw a pity party, so excuse my language, but fuck you for making me feel even worse on a day that was already a living hell for me (which she knew, due to said status that sparked this entire dialogue). I started out wanting to explain to her the amount of love it takes to be a birth mom. I wanted to explain to her that I love my daughter just as much as she loves her sons. I wanted to explain that I understand that your son won't remember the first few tough weeks of his life, but that her conscience had to have known it wasn't fair to him.
It just brought all of the 'what-if's?' to the surface, yet again, which is why at the beginning of this post, I vowed to try and stop that way of thinking. There's really only one 'what-if,' anyway. Whether or not I could have done it is not a question, if I could have given her enough love is not a question, if she would have had food and a roof over her head is not a question, if she would have been happy is not a question (and just in case they are, the answer is yes). The only 'what-if?' is what if I had taken her home with me. I will always wonder how each of our lives would have played out had I done that. But I didn't, so I'll never know. I'll only get to see one outcome, and the chances of her being successful and stable are 99% higher at the end of the road I chose for her than they would have been had I chosen the opposite path. That's the truth that I don't need to justify to anyone but myself and my little girl.