Today you are five years old. How did that happen? I swear you just barely learned to walk and now you're reading chapter books and dancing and playing tennis and starting kindergarten in the fall. How did you grow up so fast? You're taller every time I see you, and smarter. You are the most fascinating little person I have ever met. Everything about you is interesting to me. You are my favorite in all the known world. There is a light in your eyes that fills my soul. When you smile, it seems impossible that there's anything other than joy in the world.
Do you have any idea how amazing you are, Roo? Everything about you is a miracle to me. I haven't found the words in any language to properly express how much I love you. It's not something I can explain. It's something that I feel. I didn't know I could love anyone on earth even half as much as I love you.
I was scared when you were born. You were brand-new and tiny and I knew what I wanted for you; I knew what you deserved. I was scared that I didn't have a way of making sure you had everything in the world that you deserved by merit of the love I felt for you. I wanted to be the best mother in the world because you deserved it.
I couldn't do it. I certainly couldn't be the best father in the world. You deserved that, too.
As desperately as I loved you I could never quite shake the feeling that I was raising someone else's child. The moment I first saw you my heart claimed you but some ineffable part of myself wouldn't settle down. A few hours after you were born, when I was recovering in a hospital room and you were burrito-wrapped in your bassinet, I found my gaze moving from your sleeping face to the door. My rational mind expected no visitors but the waiting part of myself kept watching the doorway. I didn't dare use words for what I was anticipating at the time but the truth is I was waiting for your parents to come in.
I took you home and you were mine for nine fragile and beautiful weeks but the entire time, I knew.
I have never fought anything in my life as desperately as I fought to be your mother. I warred with myself for the first seven weeks of your life, searching for some way to change what I felt in my heart. I wanted you so badly! I had already been through so much pain. I had already broken so many times. I couldn't bear the thought of shattering again. I loved you so much! How could I not be your mother?
Then I found your family. I saw their picture on my computer screen and the part of me that waited in my hospital room stopped waiting. It wasn't your dad or your mom that did it, either. Would you believe, darling Roo, that the first member of your family I found was your big sister? I was ready to keep looking at profiles and reading letters but I saw your sister in that photograph ... I looked at her dear, perfect little cherub face and I thought, that's Roo's sister. I knew she was your sister. I knew. I looked at your parents after that but it didn't matter who they were, because if they were your sister's parents they were yours as well.
No matter what else happens in my life, no matter what I believe or disbelieve, no matter what circumstances change, I will never believe anything contrary to this: your sister was meant to be your sister, and you were meant to be hers. I have never known anything to be true as strongly and solidly as I knew that the two of you were meant to be together when I saw that picture, and nothing anyone ever says is going to change that.
I love that you girls are such good friends. I hope you always will be. I hope that you always take good care of each other.
There's more to your story that your parents have told you, or will tell you when you're older, and more that I need to tell you as well, but I'm saving that for you and only you. But today, on your birthday, I want you know two things for sure.
The first is that there's no doubt in my mind you were meant for the family you've got. You belong together. I couldn't have placed you with any family in the universe but theirs. I couldn't have done it! I tried. I met with other families and I wanted them to be right but none of them were and it wasn't until I met your family that I knew why no one else would do.
The second is something that I hope is already a solid and immovable fact in your mind: I love you. How inadequate those words sound! They're overused. They've lost meaning. But in the absence of any others, I'll use them over and over again and hope that repetition will lend them weight. My dear little Roo, I love you. Nothing in the known universe will stop me from loving you. Any good thing I ever accomplish in the world is because of my love for you. Any improvement I make, any happiness I find, any good and worthy thing I do is a manifestation of my love for you. My task as your birth mother is to take the love that I have for you and spread it around.
Never doubt, not for a second, that you are loved. There's no one else in the world for whom I'd break my own heart. Only you.
You were worth it. You always will be.
Happy birthday, darling girl.
Your birth mother Jill