The Greatest Gift

This past Saturday, my boy turned eight.  Eight!

Where has my little one gone?  I looked away for just a moment and years slipped away.

I’m melancholy for days of a tiny boy dressed in onesies and blue jeans, small white sneakers on feet not yet walking.  A bald head, so smooth to touch, bright eyes and a smile.

My pal, my little man, who went everywhere with me.  Graciously listening to my ramble from his car seat, greeting me every morning with a smile and at night, a snuggle, while reading Good Night, Moon and Big Red Barn.  Those books, now tossed by the wayside, making room for Harry Potter and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

What a beautiful baby you were.  Happy, curious, never once bothered by two strangers whisking you away from all that was familiar in a northern Russian baby house to a new home far across the sea.

I think you knew we belonged to you, as much as we believed, you belonged to us.

I ponder your birthday…the day you were born and how I wasn’t there to greet you as you emerged into the world.

Who welcomed you?  Who was first to hold you?

Those thoughts used to break my heart, distraught I’d let you down by not being there in your first moments, your first weeks, as I’ve been everyday since you were six months old.

I’m better about it now.  I understand you were in good hands until you were in mine.

This year, your birthday and Mother’s Day collided on the same weekend.  I wasn’t a mother until you.  Motherhood was out of my hands until a woman I never met made it possible.  I owe so much to a stranger somewhere on this planet, maybe still Russia, maybe not, for giving me the greatest gift of my life.


And I wonder, does she think of you?  Of where you might be, if you’re safe?  If you’re happy?

I hope somehow, she knows…You are.  For that is the only gift I can give her.

I see you now, my eight year old.  So grown up, in such a hurry to rush headfirst into being a teenager.  Before your time.

Before I’m ready to let go of my little one.

Slow down, please.

Happy birthday to my beautiful boy.

23 thoughts on “The Greatest Gift

  1. Happy birthday to your son, and happy Mother’s Day to you. This is a beautiful post (and it leaves me very hopeful for my future with motherhood).


  2. So beautiful, Stacey. As we were singing happy birthday to him on Saturday, the miracle of how he came halfway across the world to seemingly seamlessly join our family flashed into my head, with some of the same exact thoughts you articulated here. 🙂


  3. Reading your words gave me chills…so beautiful and, as you know, so familiar to me as well! But you expressed the range of emotions we go through so perfectly. Blessings to your little boy and to your entire family! ~ Barbara


  4. Stacey,Oh my, this is so poignant. Motherhood is really something isn't it? The love you have for your boys is so evident in your writing. You have a wonderful family. And just wait til a few more years go by – then you will really start to wonder where the time goes. Enjoy each precious stage. Thanks for this lovely post. And yes, happy birthday to your beautiful boy! Great photos too!


  5. He is just adorable..what a lovely post Stacey and as Nancy says poignant too. On another note..this is the first time I have seen a pic of you (I am assuming that is you in the photo?) You are beautiful!!!


  6. He's a beautiful child, Stacey! This post is so beautiful. As an adoptive mother, I totally understand the idea of not being there to greet one's child into the world. I adopted my daughter when she was 13 months. I, like you, are forever grateful to the woman who made it possible.


  7. I am lost for words, Stacey, this is such a beautiful post valuing gratitude and love. What a special day, having Mother's Day falling on your son's birthday. Thank you for sharing 🙂 xox


  8. Catherine, thank you and if you're alluding to adoption, then yes, be hopeful! It's so possible. I've done it twice and love to talk about it, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask away. I can honestly say, it's the best thing I've ever done. My husband and I couldn't love our boys more if I had given birth to them. One thing adoption teaches is that there's a world of difference in wanting to be pregnant and wanting to be a mother. Adoption gives us the gift of motherhood. I wish you all the luck in the world achieving it. xoxo


  9. Thanks, Wendy. He always seemed to belong so perfectly, but I can't forget the woman walking this earth somewhere that made it all possible. A huge thanks to her.


  10. Thank you, Barbara. I know you understand and the fact that my words resonated with you, mean the world to me. This adoption thing? It's pretty great. I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day with your children.


  11. Thanks for the kind words, Nancy. I'm sure you have some of the same thoughts about the passage of time lately with your daughter getting married soon. I can't wrap my brain around that event happening here, but we have some time. I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day.


  12. Hi Marie, thanks! It's funny you mention that photo, I nearly left it out because I didn't want a photo of myself in the post, but I just love that one so much. I love that he's sitting by my head with that great smile…I went for it and stuck it in. I'm glad you liked it. Hugs to you, my friend. I know these are not easy days. xoxo


  13. Hi Beth, feeling guilty about not being there for the birth is a weird one, isn't it? Somewhere along the line, I felt he'd always been with us and how could I have NOT been there for this big moment in his life? That takes some getting used to, but as you say, I'm forever grateful for the one who was there. The one that carried him for nine months. The greatest gift.


  14. Such a wonderful, loving post. The pictures are glorious. You and your beautiful boy are so lucky to have each other. Tearing up…I have several friends who have adopted children, who have literally travelled the globe in some cases, and one couple who recently took in a 12-year-old girl who was shuffled through our foster care system for years, whom they have just adopted officially. I am so moved by the adoption journey. You and your husband, our Beth Gainer, so many of you, I have nothing but admiration for you all. Bravo!!


  15. How totally sweet, this post! The photos speak volumes of love and beauty. Happy birthday to your wonderful boy. Before you know it, he will be grown and gone. But he will always be in your heart. xx


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