Today is Evangeline's birthday. She has officially joined her sister Polly in the five-year-old club.
This morning I sent Evie's favorite treat to school with her to share with her classmates: mini-Hershey chocolate bars :). Before she woke up I hung the Marchenko family birthday sign up for her in the dining room, and each time her three sisters woke up today the first thing they said was, "today is Evie's birthday! Yeah Evie!"Evangeline has been home with us a little over two years so this is her third birthday with us.
In the last two years I've had mixed emotions about Evie's birthday. This year is no different. I woke up today wondering about her birth mom. Is she thinking of Evangeline? Does she go over the day she gave birth five years ago, recalling every detail? Does she remember the moment she decided to sever her parenting rights? Does she think of it all with sadness, or hope, or confusion?
Don't get me wrong. I cannot judge Evie's birth mom. I was not in her shoes. There is no way I can know what she was thinking or feeling when she had Evangeline.
I am just glad that she had her. And I am glad that I get to share in the privilege of being Evie's mother with the woman who grew her in her womb.
Sometimes at the park while Evangeline is swinging, another mother will ask me about her.
"How old is your daughter?"
"She's almost five," I say, and the mother may look at me out the corner of her eye, because Evie more so resembles a two-year-old with her cute, tiny gymnast legs that still house baby pudge. And she doesn't talk. She still doesn't really sign. She's short and little. How can she be five?
When people ask me how old Evangeline is, I consider just lying and saying she is two. That way everything about Evie will be more appropriate and comfortable for all involved.
But today I am thinking about the number five. Evie has been alive five years. And they were hard earned years: two-and-a-half in an orphanage in Ukraine and the rest with us here in the States. Evie has survived more in her little life than I can ever fathom.
And yet, she has a smile for me today of all days, on her birthday.
So I say happy FIFTH birthday to my youngest daughter. Congratulations, honey. You've come so far. And I can't wait to see what God has for you next.
(And stay tuned for birthday party pictures in the next few days :).