That's always been someone else's role. Someone else's privilege. And now it's mine, and I want to savor every last second of it. After Aidan went to bed tonight, I started decorating for his party tomorrow. Mickey tablecloth, Mickey confetti, Mickey centerpiece, Mickey plates and napkins. His two gifts from us and one gift from a friend who won't be at the party. All adorably matching (or perhaps nauseatingly matching on some level). Then, I felt the need to take pictures. I now have a dozen pictures of a dining room table partway-decorated for a birthday party. For my kid's birthday party. Seriously?!
I've been thinking about Aidan's birthmom a lot today. During a visit when he was three or four months old, I remember her laughing and saying she had to stop and think about which date he was born, and how strange that was. Will she be thinking of him tomorrow? Will she be missing him? Will she - like me - be replaying the events of that day in her mind over and over? Will she hug her kids a little tighter and wish he was there to hug, too? I have such a strong hope that she is okay and that the day isn't painful for her.
Actually, knowing her, she'll be rejoicing for us. That's the kind of person she is. She's been like that from the start. Happy for us. Excited for us. Thinking of us. Selfless for Aidan and for us. This is one of those times that I wish she lived closer so that I could take her some flowers and give her a big hug... and have Aidan give her one, too.
Tonight I had to run to the store for a few last-minute things for the party tomorrow. My favorite radio station (it's country, no hatin'...) had already begun the 9/11 reminiscing and playing appropriate music. Alan Jackson's Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning came on. I turned the radio way up and sang along. Tears came to my eyes. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I bet I always will. I'm not going to rehash it here, because I don't think it's useful for me to do so. (Nothing at all against those who do feel the need to do so!) But, I remember.
For the first time, I had to fight feeling guilty for being so excited about tomorrow. Yes, it's a happy day and most certainly a reason to celebrate and to party like it's 1999. (What?) But it's also a somber day. Suddenly my feelings were mixed. I processed all of this on the five-minute drive home. It was chilly and raining. It was just past dusk. Headlights of oncoming cars shone bright on my tired eyes, magnified by the raindrops on my windshield.
Then it hit me. No, not one of the oncoming cars. Aidan is our little light in the darkness of the memory of that day. It was dark and rainy in the world that day, and exactly nine years after it happened, a series of miracles took place to change my feeling about 9/11 forever. A single spark created a light that now shines over my entire life.
A woman labored tirelessly to bring a baby into the world that she knew she wouldn't be keeping. The delivery went beautifully and the baby was healthy. The mother selflessly and deliberately chose to continue with her plan to place him with us - her family of choice. And at last, after so many years of being so afraid I'd never claim the title...
I became a mother on 9/11.