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The First Birthday in a Very Long Time

Ian birthday postFor years I would write birthday posts for my kids.  There are years of birthday letters on the internet for them should they ever want to find them.  When you decide you want to try to make a business of your blog, birthday posts go by the wayside.  This blog is not a business, and therefore birthday posts absolutely can be and must be a thing.

Today my son, who I seldom write about, turns 24.  And here’s some sad, hard truth.  I don’t know him.  But today I start to change that.  In 2007, I gave full custody of a 13-year-old boy to his father, and moved 2 hours away.  It sounds harsh, because it was.  I chose his sisters over him.  That is the first time I have ever admitted that.  I chose the girls over my son.

I explained away the guilt with “I have no idea how to be a 13-year-old boy, his father does.”  We tried visitation weekends, where Ian would come spend the weekend with me, but eventually there were reasons he didn’t want to come, and it was easy to believe those excuses.  The truth was, I didn’t make the effort. I used to blame his dad for turning Ian away from me, but the truth is, my actions spoke louder than any words his father could ever say to him.  I spent a good many years hating the wrong person.

I did this to us.

And so it is up to me to undo this.

Dear Ian,

Today you are 24.  And a stranger who shares my DNA.  Above is a gift of sorts.  The owning of my shit.  Admitting and owning how I failed you.  Turns out, being a mom is a lot more than just giving birth to someone.  I stopped being your mom, I stopped choosing you, and for that I am deeply sorry.

I am thankful for this opportunity to celebrate your birthday with you.  This chance to mend some fences, and heal some hurts.

On your 12th birthday I wrote

He’s my son, and he’s growing up.  That means he soon will start growing away, but I won’t love him any less, maybe even a little more, if that’s possible.  His father wants him to play sports in high school and maybe professionally.  My sister swears he’ll be a hair dresser.  I just want him to be happy, whatever he decides that involves and looks like.
Happy Birthday Bo.  I love you, up to the stars, the moon, and the sun and back. Forever and always.
Mom.

On your 18th I wrote this

So, here we are.
His 18th birthday.
I haven’t had any contact with him in two years.
None.  Not an email, not a text, nothing.
And the hole in my heart where my son should be continues to go unfilled, aching with the child I miss.  Even now, especially now, on his 18th birthday, my arms ache to hold him, to tell him how desperately I love him and miss him

On your 24th, I will write this.

24 is not too late, apparently.  I hope that it is just the beginning.  I hope, now that you’re older, and I’m wiser, that this is just the beginning of birthdays and holidays and vacations together.  I owe you so much more than an apology for all the ways I let you down.  I am so deeply sorry for the years and milestones I missed.  I have loved you every single day of your 24 years.  Happy Birthday Ian!

Love you always,

Mom

1 comment to The First Birthday in a Very Long Time

  • I am in the process of reclaiming my older children, it is not easy and it is not neat. This post says a lot about who you have become! I am proud of you!

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