Okay, so you all know that The Signing Time Family is growing… right? No… literally, our families are expanding with more children. (This is not about another DVD or board book)
Yes, my sister Emilie just had her third child, a baby girl, six weeks ago… still nameless… I know. Get over it. She almost has a name. But, I already blogged about that.
This… this… I haven’t ever blogged about.
You see… well, now I have an announcement to make…
Some of you may want to sit down for this one.
No. I mean it.
I have a third child as well… and it’s a girl!
But, before you start mailing pink baby outfits and headbands with big flowers on them… I suggest you keep reading this post.
Oh Heaven’s… where to start? Ummm, ok, so you know how on my CD “Shine” there’s that song “Nobody Would Know”? and in the liner notes it talks about how that was the very first song that I ever wrote and that I wrote it when I was 17 years-old? And some of you had written to me and wondered how it could be that I would write a song like that BEFORE having my children Leah and Lucy. Some of you listened to a certain line in that song and thought… “Wait a minute!!! Could it be?” But then you know that I share a lot. I share the good, the bad, and the awkward and you convinced yourself that something THAT big, would’ve been shared by now.
So, here’s the thing. The truth is… I don’t share everything. Especially when it might impact someone else’s privacy, their life, and their choices. I don’t share it, even if it’s indescribably intertwined with my life, my experiences, and totally shaped who I am and why I care about the things I care about. Vague enough for you? Well cut me some slack. This isn’t easy folks.
The day after this past Mother’s Day, I sat down to my desk after getting Lucy out the door and on the bus to school. I opened my computer, opened Facebook and collapsed on my keyboard in helpless sobs as I saw a message that I had waited more than eighteen years to receive.
Facebook Private Message
Laura S. May 9 at 4:53pm
Happy Mother’s Day You’re always in my prayers and in my heart.
Aaron walked in and seeing my state asked, “Ray? What happened?”
“LOOK!!!” I could barely speak, the message may have been short but it was enough to level me emotionally and immediately, “IT’S… IT’S TODAY!” Aaron looked at my screen and started crying too. We hugged each other and sobbed and laughed and sobbed some more in happy disbelief.
Aaron had waited 15 years for this moment. I had told him on our very first date about the baby girl I had placed for adoption. He hadn’t even blinked when I told him. It wasn’t something he fought to deal with or accept. He just told me about his very close friends who had gone through the same thing and he told me how much respect he had for anyone who could give their child to someone else. Through the years Aaron has held me as I cried on my baby’s birthday, on Mother’s Day and the countless other times I found myself mourning the loss of my very first baby girl. I had only held her in my arms for three days, but my heart has never let her go.
I messaged her back as quickly as I could type.
Rachel de Azevedo-Coleman May 10 at 8:41am
You just made the last 18 years of my life!
I don’t think you can possibly fathom how much I adore you. How much I have missed you.
How much I love you!
I could hardly function that day as I waited for her response. I had a news interview that day about running the Salt Lake Half-Marathon and honestly I didn’t even shower before the news crew arrived. I was glued to my computer screen waiting to see what words she might grace me with next. Words I had waited almost 2 decades to read.
The previous day, Mother’s Day, I had started crying as we drove from the luncheon with my mom, to dinner with Aaron’s mom. We were in the car around 5:00pm. “What is she waiting for?” Tears streamed down my cheeks. “I mean… it’s not like I really thought she was going to show up on my front porch the day she turned 18, but I guess I didn’t realize how that date… how that was the date I was living for… I don’t know. I always imagined that I would be at her high school graduation… What is she waiting for?”
I can’t tell you how many times, since 1992, I had calculated how old I would be in 2010. Especially in the beginning, when I’d wake in the middle of the night hearing the echo of my baby’s cries in my head, I just needed a goal. I thought if I could hold on until then… it would be okay. February 2010 was my “finish line.” But, her 18th birthday had already come and gone. Leah, Lucy, Aaron and I had celebrated by going out to dinner and we had cupcakes.
I’ve celebrated her birthday every year.
“Mommy,” four-year-old Leah signed to me enthusiastically, “I’m your first baby. Lucy is your second baby. I’m the oldest!”
“Nope. Remember?” I pointed to the smiling baby pictured in the gold, sun-shaped frame on the mantel. “She’s my first baby. You are my second baby and Lucy is my third baby.”
“Mom, I hate this!” Twelve-year-old Leah threw herself down on my bed in tears. “I hate that I have a big sister, but I don’t have a big sister! I really need one right now! I don’t understand how you were ‘too young’ to keep her, but only four years later you were suddenly old enough to have and keep me!”
When I was seventeen I really did believe that nobody would know or really understand how much I hurt and how much I suffered. I guess I was too young to imagine that my future children would inherit the pain and that they would share my loss.
After Mother’s Day dinner with Aaron’s family, we came home, put the girls to bed and watched a movie. My phone had died at some point that day. I went to bed with no idea that while I was crying in the car, my oldest daughter had already reached out to me.
Laura S. May 10 at 2:11pm
I think it’s been 18 years too long. I should have made contact sooner. I love and miss you and my little sisters.
Each message started a new wave of tears. “She said ‘my little sisters’” Aaron cried, “she didn’t call them her half-sisters.”
In the world of adoption, I think we all just want to be wanted.
Rachel de Azevedo-Coleman May 10 at 5:21pm
We are ready when you are.
I haven’t told Leah and Lucy yet because they would both be sitting in the car waiting to drive down to meet you.
Lucy has said if she ever got a wish from “Make A Wish” she would only wish to meet you.
I have a million things I want to tell you and there are a million things I want to know. I want to hear all of your stories. I want to hear you sing. I want to see you perform. I’m nervous and thrilled and I don’t want to mess anything up. I’m afraid of disappointing you. I’m afraid of overwhelming you. AND I’m supposed to be a grown up here!
Mostly I’m afraid I’ll wake up just like all the other times I’ve been this close… I’ll wake up and find it’s just another dream.
PS- you are just so beautiful!
You could say I have been more than a little distracted over the past six months. Now you know why. I mean, you would be distracted too if your wildest dream had just come true.
My heart is healed.
“So, are you going to tell your Signing Time fans?”
“Of course I am… I’m just trying to figure out how. I mean… I think people’s heads are gonna spin!”
“Yeah, I bet you probably don’t want them to know that you had a baby when you were 17.”
“WHAT? That is not it at all. Laura, look at me. I am not embarrassed or ashamed. You are not a secret! I don’t care what anyone thinks! I’ve been waiting for you for… your whole life! I am so happy I want to shout it from the rooftops! I love you! We love you! And you know what?