I love Daughter with all my heart. I’m grateful to have her in my life. I’m glad I adopted her. There are times, though, when I am jealous.
I’m sitting around waiting to go visit her at the hospital, and as I wait, I get a call from Sister. She’s taking Niece to a birthday party. Niece is a very talented, charming, 3 year old. I think I took Daughter to one birthday party—and that had more to do with my friendship with the mother than Daughter’s friendship with the child.
I talked to one of the saints. She won’t be in church tomorrow morning because she is going to her daughter’s to help her paint. Her daughter is the same age as my daughter, and is almost done with her bachelor’s degree. She’s working, happy, doing well. I can’t imagine Daughter ever living away from me. With all the cuts being made in Medicaid, even getting her into a supported living situation is years, if not decades, away.
I received a message from another young woman. I had the honor of officiating at her wedding several years ago. She wanted children; her husband-to-be did not. They had agreed to have one child, and I baptized their son over a year ago. On the way out of church about 8 months ago she told me she was pregnant again. She was beaming. I expressed my surprise, remember their agreement. She smiled more broadly. “He changed his mind!” Yesterday she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Her boys will grow up safe and sheltered. They will grow up learning that parents are trustworthy. I wonder what Daughter would be like today if she had had the same opportunity.
Tomorrow I will lead worship and pretend everything is fine. I will celebrate with people celebrating rites of passage: the birth of a child, the start of college, the start of first grade. I’ll talk to proud parents. Then I’ll go visit Daughter, and hope that she will talk to me. Today, though, I mourn all the things I will never celebrate with Daughter.