Tomorrow is your birthday. You will be seventeen. And it has been almost three years since I've seen you.
When I was last with you we still lived at our home of nearly twelve years. It was Tanith's birthday the next day. I was getting ready for her party. She was going to have a slumber party with eight girls. Your dad was gone. I had asked him to move out and had already filed for divorce. What a horrible, painful time that was. For you kids I'm sure it was excruciating. I had a panacea already--a boyfriend to ease my pain. I chose to tell you and your brother and sister I had a boyfriend. Looking back, of course, everything I did was all wrong.
Your father has been so bitter toward me. I was so angry at him. I'm sure he was hurt, and so was I. Now that time has gone by I remember more of the good things he did, and his good qualities. How he liked to go on outings as a family, how we went to Oregon every summer driving up in the Suburban and stayed with my sister, your aunt Lisa, and his dad, your grandpa. I remember how he took care of everything with the Suburban, getting it ready, new tires, tune up, getting a VCR player put in so you kids could watch movies on the trip up.
And your dad got the Suburban for me because I said I needed three rows of seats for you and your brother and sister: one row for each of you. Once your sister was old enough to pester you, you fought like wild cats when you were in the car. Your dad agreed that separating each of you would be a good solution for the arguing that went on anytime we went somewhere as a family. One afternoon he came home driving a shiny new Suburban.
You will be seventeen, tomorrow, June seventh. When you were born all the nurses came in to look at you because of your astonishing hair. It was black at the base, red in the middle, and white blond at the tips. Your dad called you "Flame Tipper." The nurses had never seen anything like it. And you had so much hair. You were the biggest of my babies, nine pounds. And happy. My Keegie-love, I called you.
I meant to write about you--because it will be your birthday. You have been so angry at me, too. Not that this is new. You became a hostile child, teenager. And I suppose the fact of you being your father's and my child that should come as no surprise to me. Your father and I were moody rebellious teenagers.
I know you are in a band and play guitar. You are so tall and skinny now. And handsome. You have your dad's gorgeous jaw line. I see videos of you in your band on YouTube. I know too, that you have played with bands I idolized as a teenager. I'm pretty sure you have no idea I know any of these things, and I know you have no idea how proud I am of you. And how in awe.
It will be your birthday. I was blessed to help bring you into the world. You have been a gift to me. Happy Birthday.