A poster similar to this one here hung on the wall of my social worker’s office at the adoption agency.
Its message struck my 17-year-old self as profound. I understood it to mean that I should live in the present, forget about the past and the baby I couldn’t keep. Go forward. Never look backwards. These ideas were routinely espoused by adoption professionals in the 1970s. Birthmothers were assured we’d forget the babies we gave away. That the other children we’d have later would fill the emptiness.
For me, it was the opposite that occurred. There were no best days. It was after the birth of my first daughter that I realized the fullness of what I had done. What I had lost. What my son had lost. Those feelings consumed me. Every day I climbed out of a dark hole, only to fall back to the bottom again and again. When my third child was born, I knew I had to search for my son. To at least try to find him. To leave a message in a bottle, so to speak, in the hope that he would someday know that I had always loved him.
All these years later whenever I hear or see, “Today is the best day of the rest of your life,” it’s a shot to the heart.