For once when the alarm went off at 5:00 AM this morning I did not wake up with a startle wondering if it had to be morning already. You see, since yesterday evening my mind and emotions have been on overdrive rewinding the days, weeks and months back to this calendar date last year. My day then started as it did today. Waking up at an ungodly hour.
We were packed and ready in what would be a journey of our lives. Except when we left home our feelings were sombre and cautiously detached. We sat on that flight not knowing if it would be a repeat of the let down from a month back or the most ecstatic day of our lives. Occasionally stealing a glance at each other to see how we were feeling we focussed on staring out the window or catch up on sleep except sleep was eluding us. Somewhere when we were about 5 hours into our 8 hour journey and we had to change planes, I powered on my phone and there was this message that said “she signed.” and I felt a chill go down my spine. Whether it was terror or happiness I am not sure. All I remember is that overwhelming emotion making my knees buckle. Thankfully I was still seated. Eyes brimmed over and the rest of the journey was filled with emailing the few people who meant the world to us letting them in on the fact that miraculously we were parents.
Around 6:45 PM we arrived at the hotel where our daughters awaited us. The trip from the car to the room was the longest I can remember. Every step was filled with a mixture of feelings I cannot even attempt to put in words. We stood still for a few seconds before we knocked taking in the baby squeals that were coming from within. Steeling ourselves we knocked and waited. The door opened to balloons, mellow lighting and happy faces within. Hugs and flash lights as the camera went off, we caught sight of Kay and Cee playing in front of a tall mirror. Wiping tears we lowered ourselves on our knees and held out arms willing them to crawl into our hearts.
That moment I believe is representative of the zenith and nadir of emotions I felt at that moment. Even as I stretched my arms waiting for Kay to come to me, it hit me hard that sometime that week Kay’s momma must have stretched her arms to hand over her daughter to the care of unknown strangers. People she now trusted to take over the care of the sunshine of her life. Even at what must have been the happiest moment of my life, I felt the gut wrenching, soul crushing pain she must have felt at leaving bits of her behind when she walked out the door.
Each day since, in my moments of utter joy are thoughts of this incredible woman who trusted us to do the best for her daughters. Pain and loss are irreconcilably tied in with our happiness. The day I celebrate as the birth of my motherhood is a day which Kay and Cee growing up will associate with loss and gain. Perhaps we will find a way to celebrate and grieve as the years pass but this is the simple truth of our lives.