I've told you before that one of my all time favorite Christmas songs is A Baby Changes Everything by Faith Hill. It's incredible. It really is. And when we were in the depths of our struggle with infertility, it was a song that struck home on so many levels. Each holiday season, as I pull out my carol collection, this one still chokes me up. Because it's so true-a baby really does change everything. A baby melts hearts. A baby brings hope. A baby unites those who otherwise would be separated. A baby changes lives.
Today. Today was a difficult day. Today I met with my babe's birth mom. She had texted me a couple of weeks ago a picture of a Christmas present she had bought for him. And today we had planned to get together so that she could give him her gift, and see him again. He's six months old today, and it has been five months since the last time I handed him to her. I was, to say the least, apprehensive of our visit. Not scared, not nervous, surprisingly I felt an incredible peace about the whole thing. But I was still a bit unsure. After all, I cannot imagine what it feels like to give up a child. And it pains me to think of our roles. That I'm not the first or only mamma, that she has lost so much. It's an odd dynamic. One that I never had imagined my life taking on. But its there none the less-because a baby changes everything.
She's had a rough life, my babe's birth mom. She's been hurt. She's been let down. And there are times in life that I know she wishes she could do over. But her's is not my story to tell. And yet, her story will always be linked with mine. Because a baby changes everything. When we met today, she looked happy, content. And it warmed my soul. I have always wondered how she would refer to me, and to herself. When we ran into her at the store months ago, she called me mom, but I couldn't help but wonder if this would still be the case. What if she regretted her decision? What if this was a do-over she wish she had? A baby changes everything.
All night last night I fretted. I wanted to give her a Christmas gift, but wasn't sure what to do. In July I gave her a photo album, with printed pictures of my little man, and though I printed more, it didn't seem like enough. It's Christmas after all. I know that she loves footprints. She has a tattoo of each of her children's baby feet, including my babe's, but I didn't think she has his hand print. Well, I do. We had been given a frame with ink and a matting to take a print of his hand and footprint at our baby shower, so I took down the frame, copied the hand print and re-matted/framed it for her. I just hoped that she liked it. Such a small thing, for what she has given us. A baby changes everything.
Today as I pulled in and waited for her to arrive at our meeting place, I prayed. I prayed that it would go well, go smoothly. That there would be peace. And when she pulled up next to me there was no anxiety or apprehension. None at all. We both climbed out of our trucks, and as I handed her my babe, she smiled. And I had to wonder-does he recognize her? I know it sounds odd, but is there some fundamental part of his being that recognizes who she is, what she is to him? There has to be. And even still, she referred to me as his momma. We stood there and chatted for a bit, I gave her our gift, which she didn't open then, and she told me she had gifts for us as well. I was astounded when she opened the door. Not only had she bought the babe presents, but had thought of our older kids as well-making each of them their own little Christmas treat. And for the hubby and I was a basket of canned jellies and home goods, which she had made for us herself. It warmed my heart. She has already given us so much. And it broke my heart at the same time. I've always mourned the loss that my kids have with their biological families. And deep down I've mourned for their biological mothers as well. But the babe's is the first time I've actually met one. Known one. And it is different on so many levels. I know her story. It doesn't differ that much from my other kids' birth mothers. But it's easy to sit back and make judgments on the other mothers who are strangers to me. It's a whole other story to do so with the one I know. And knowing her has softened my heart for the others. We all have our burdens to bear, but a baby changes everything.
She texted me again after she got home today. She said she loved the gift, and to make sure that my hubby knows she is thankful that he's a part of our amazing family. And the magnitude of that brings me to tears. That she sees this situation as beautiful. That she loves me as the mother of her son. That she loves my husband as the father to her child, and my children as her babe's siblings. That she finds peace in knowing that he is so loved, and so happy. So this Christmas there will be extra presents under the tree. For the first time we will have presents from a birth mom, and not just for her child but for us all. And as amazing as that is, it's not about the presents. It's not about the extra candy or the wrapping paper or toys. It is so much more than that. This Christmas is about change.
Because this baby, he changed everything.