As my daughter grew, I always sent her a gift on her birthday. The first couple of years it was a balloon bouquet. The bouquet changed once she became a girl and around her 5th birthday I sent roses, one for every year. She loved it, someone sending her flowers, and she knew that it was her mother, her birth mother. I continued on with the tradition every year and each time I would get a letter telling me how much she liked them and told everyone that the were from Kelsey. She knew I was thinking about her. She knew that I had never forgotten the day she was born and I was sending these as a token of the love that I still had for her beauty, her life and her amazing little soul. I still do it to this day, only now the vase is getting larger to hold all the beautiful roses.
The hardest year for me was when she turned 10. It was a milestone for me. She was a decade old. It had been ten years since we were one and it just did not seem possible that I had a 10 year old daughter. Don't get me wrong, it was wonderful that I did, but it just hit me really hard. I had my own child at that point, had been married for a few years and our lives were both very happy, very fulfilled. But I just could not shake the sadness of the years I had lost, all the years that I had not seen her grow. It was the sports the most. I was a good athlete when I was in school and she was as well. I would have loved to have seen her play a game. She played two sports, one of which I also played all my life ... softball. I bet she had quick hands, and gave it her all going for a ball. I bet when she batted she lifted her front foot slightly and inward in order to adjust to the inside, or outside pitch. I bet when she ran she slid around the outside of the plate to avoid a tag. I would have really enjoyed seeing her on the field, in the batters box, perhaps behind the plate like her mother? So these were the kind of thoughts that I had and made me begin to doubt myself only in that perhaps she wasn't seeing it the way I did. That the flowers were just some cordial delivery that were for show.
So I made arrangements to pick the flowers and send the card. That is another thing I do, I make sure that I send a card that I chose with a personal message from me that is delivered with the bouquet. I really believe in being personal, writing what you feel and making sure that the words get to who it needs to go to and in this case, it was my daughter on her 10th birthday. So I chose all pink with beautiful fill and a pink ribbon on a beautiful vase. I liked it, and I was filled with that familiar feeling of accomplishment. It wasn't easy keeping the tradition that year, but I did it. I knew it would make me feel better just knowing it was on it's way to her, would be there the day she woke up and it was something she liked to receive. I was busy with my life and what with a toddler, well there is no rest until they are out of energy! I filled my days with laughter from my boy and on her actual birthday I took him to a park, baked a cake and played with playdoh for a few hours until I fell asleep, with him snuggled up next to me in his bed.
Two weeks after her birthday, I got a letter in the mail. I did not recognize the handwriting, but I did recognize the address. It was Bella! I opened it immediately and pulled out a purple piece of paper and a Polaroid picture. I stared at the picture. It was her, sitting in a chair with the roses, in her arms, resting on the table. Her smile just has wattage, I mean it jumped right out of the picture at me. She was wearing a pink shirt and jeans. There was a headband in her hair. She had pretty earrings. I looked at it for a while, not crying or upset or anything. I just looked at it. She looked so happy, she looked so proud. I opened the paper and it was, for the first time, a letter in her handwriting. This simple piece of paper brought immediate tears and filled my heart with the most amazing love. It was the first time she had ever done this, my contact with her had always been through her parents. It worked out that way for a long time, and I guess this time she wanted to write the letter. It was a giant step for her parents I am sure, to show the acceptance to her though that one small, simple act. I am so very thankful for those parents that I have, they were always in my corner and let me take the lead when it came to keeping in touch through the years.
Her letter said that she was so excited when she got the flowers. She looked forward to them every year, and this year they were so beautiful. She said that they made her feel special because she knew that I was thinking of her. She then said thank you and told me that she would like to see me sometime. Love, Bella.
Simple letter, not much said. But it spoke volumes that she accepted me and was going to love me in her life. It was the single most beautiful letter I have ever received. Thanks Bella, for everything.