Why April is my happiest month
Happy spring, fellow Solo Moms!
Man, I love April. It’s full-blown shorts weather here in New Orleans, and it’s also my birthday month, so I’m celebrating one more year into middle age. (Check back in with me in three years when I’m sobbing hysterically into my pillow about hitting 40.)
I also love April because it was a cold, rainy April day when I took the biggest ray of sunshine ever to enter my life into court and finalized his adoption. Many mothers will tell their kids that the day they were born was the best day of their lives. And it’s very true.
But for me, I think the day my son was formally adopted outranks even his birthday on the joy-o-meter.
He was dressed in his mini tuxedo onesie and pants (shout-out to H&M for always having the coolest boy clothes), along with a fedora and studded crib shoes. It was pouring out as we made our way in an Uber car down the West Side Highway in Manhattan to the courthouse.
I had kept him in his bright-yellow raincoat, even after we got inside, to protect his swoon-worthy outfit from the curdled formula spit-up that was all the rage those days. We sat in this stately Manhattan courtroom and waited for the judge to come and greet us.
When the clerk came in and motioned for us to come with her, that the judge was ready, I quickly stripped off his yellow coat and straightened his bow tie. He promptly spit up all over himself. Naturally.
When it was all over, we made our way back up the West Side Highway—still in an Uber car, still pouring outside—and out to dinner with my mom. As soon as we were seated, he fell asleep in his car seat, and I burst into tears, the emotional weight of the day leaving my body.
While I was his momma long before that day, it was on that rainy day in New York City that everything changed.
I made a promise to him that we would mark the day every year, not with gifts or toys (even though of course my child doesn’t have enough of those) but with experiences and memories.
We’ve done ice-cream parties and pizza nights. I’m not sure yet what this year will have in store. He’s old enough now to choose, so he will get a say in his special day. We call it Adoption Day.
I recently read an essay slamming Dear Abby for calling the day one is adopted “Gotcha Day.” I can’t say I disagree. We do have a Gotcha Day in our house—it’s the day we brought the dog home.
The essay reads: “It objectifies the child, like a prized toy that was finally acquired,” and “‘Gotcha’ is often a term used to indicate victory or advantage over another person. Adoption is a life-altering experience for a child. . . . This is not the best foundation for building a family.”
I nodded my head as I read these words. “Gotcha” isn’t an appropriate way to talk about that special day—it cheapens it, turns it into something less than what it is.
This will be the first year my son can express how he wants to mark this day, even if he may not fully grasp what it meant for any of us. While it is a celebratory day for me, it may not be for him someday. Those years, I will be supportive and let him take the lead.
I will always have memories of that tuxedo-clad baby hamming for the judge and smiling wide at how happy his mommy was.
Until next month,