Tomorrow is my birthday, and there is something about turning another year older without being a mom that makes me sad.
I should be happy. We are on a great path to motherhood. I have a fabulous husband, wonderful family and friends, a good job, an awesome dog, a roof over my head, and food on the table.
None of this, though, can make up for the piece of me that's still missing.
Of all the milestones I come across each year, this should be the easiest to deal with. Soon, we will all suffer through Mother's Day commercials, followed shortly after by Father's Day ads. Then we get a break from the madness until late fall, when kid's Halloween costumes and Christmas decorations come out and slap us in the face. There's nothing like watching a tiny child rip up and drool all over wrapping paper that makes us want to crawl in a hole and hibernate until January 1.
Yet there's something personal about this time of year that is especially difficult for me. Maybe it's the fact that my birthday, Joey's birthday, and our anniversary - both of our wedding and trying to have a baby - are all so close together that I can feel the time slipping from under us with more force. Maybe it's because both of us are getting older, taking away valuable years in a life that is never guaranteed to last for long. Mostly, I think it's because I lack the one gift that I've wanted so desperately. I can sit there and politely respond with, "A gift card to ______" when friends and family ask what I'd like for my birthday. Truthfully, that is not what I would like at all. What I want can't be placed in a greeting card or opened over birthday cake.
I know: just as I should be happy on my birthday because I have a wonderful life, I should be happy with the presents I receive. And I am.
But none of these gifts can take away the painful reminder of the gift I've not yet unwrapped - the one that's still out there, waiting for me to claim it.