Meta turns 5 today. We've been talking about his birthday since March 4th of last year (the day after his last birthday). This kid loves birthdays!

When we first came home from ET, we celebrated his sister's birthday. Then a bunch of cousins and neighbors and school friends. He wondered if it would ever be his turn. Then it was and he realized how quickly it went. So he started looking forward to 5. And today is the day!! I'm betting tomorrow we'll start talking about when he will turn 6. As frustrated as I get somedays with his constant "looking ahead", I know that I'm the same way too.

It's been a whirlwind year since birthday #4. It has been such a nice change to be done with the "firsts". To be honest, I'm enjoying this "2nd birthday in America" so much more than the first. We don't even call it that ... it's just Meta's 5th birthday. Last year was a big deal. His first birthday cake, his first birthday party, his first birthday gifts, and on and on and on. It's nice to be able to *just* do a 5th birthday, without all the pressure. Without all the explaining. It's nice to just be able to "be".

Although I've been here, done this once before; the day continues to be a bit of an anomoly for me. It's odd to not have been there on my son's birth day. I don't know what the weather was like, what time of day he was born, what he looked like, how he smelled, whether he cried or shrieked, how he ate or slept or pooped. I didn't get to be his Mom until he was 3. I don't even know what day he actually came into this world.

And so March 3 is kind of wierd for me. As much as my feelings for him are the same as the other 2, the birthday is not. I'm going to be celebrating in July when he will have been home 2 years. I'll celebrate the day we scooped him out of that orhpanage and fed him and bathed him and read to him and tucked him in that night. The day we threw a ball and watched videos and looked at pictures and sang songs. The day we smelled him and touched him and held him and whispered to him and even counted his toes. That's the day I celebrate.

We're going to Chuck E Cheese tomorrow with some of his friends. We bought him a gift and a cake and will sing "happy birthday" and snap pictures and do all the birthday stuff.

Every adoption story, no matter how great it is, includes loss. I used to not "get that" like I do now. Maybe you have to be in the story to really understand what the loss looks like, feels like, smells like; or maybe I'm just a slow learner. Either way, days like this remind me of some of that unique pain that adopted kids and families have to walk through. That is why, between you and me, I'm saving my celebrating for July.