Today is your 18th birthday. I woke up with a heavy heart and imagine that I will carry that with me.
We had a lot of plans for your 18th birthday. For starters, it would have been the day of the long awaited 10 espresso shot latte with vanilla, caramel and chocolate syrups, topped with an enormous amount of whipped cream. This was your dream coffee and it was the first thing you were going to order when you turned 18, financed by your mom. We used to have many conversations about this coffee and why coffee for kids was not really the right choice. My coffee was always safe from you, since I don’t add anything to it but you loved the smell. I know you would have been safe from me wanting any of your dream coffee.
You asked me if for your 18th birthday, you could be adopted. And if I would still be willing to do so, even though you wouldn’t be a kid anymore. I remember saying something appropiately immature like “Of course, DUH”. You told me that you thought that would probably be the best gift someone could have on their birthday. We talked about how we would make that work.
It’s something I have been thinking about most of this week. If things had been different, today we would have been meeting somewhere with a fancy pants lawyer who was willing to meet with us on a Sunday and start the paper work process. We would have been impatiently waiting for a hearing date to be in front of a judge to say “Yes, Your Honor, we are 100% sure we want to be (legally) family forever.” We would have been applying for a passport for you and most of all, we would have been so happy to know that only you could decide for yourself where you would live, there would never be another social worker making that choice or panel that only knew you as a case file.
Two years ago, after your death, I added you to my official family tree. I felt that you needed to be there, you are part of my family. So, you can’t be forgotten and you won’t disappear.
I had so many dreams for you, Raven. You know that we believed so much in you, what you could do and what you would do. Now it’s a matter of taking those dreams I had for you and reshaping them to have impact on your behalf. Honoring your place in my life and my heart by keeping you near.
I have the same feeling about you that I do about my Mom. That there will be a moment where you will come walking through the door, full of stories about where you have been and what you have been doing, as if you have never been gone.
When I met you, when you had just turned 8, I had no idea what role we would play in each other’s lives. I did know that the first time I saw you, I literally felt like someone had kicked me in the chest. I guess that’s how you know it’s love. You love your child from the moment you see them, forever.
I love you, Raven.