Today is my 33rd birthday.
I have always looked forward to my birthday with bright anticipation. I’ve held on to the childlike delight throughout my life.
When I was little, I believed my birthday was a national holiday, because it always fell during Spring Break – I never once had to go to school on my birthday. My family was divided, so I always had a Dad’s Family Birthday Party and a Mom’s Family Birthday Party, and when I was old enough, I got a third party – the Kyeli’s Friends Birthday Party. This made my birthday a week-long celebration, wherein I was treated like a rock star and showered with extra love, affection, presents, and the ability to choose where we ate and what we did.
And my 33rd birthday – wow! 33 is this amazingly awesome number, so curvy and pretty and full of 3’s. It’s my favorite double-digit number. I’ve been looking forward to this birthday since I was old enough to count that high.
I’ve used my birthday as a milestone, as an event marker, as the announcement date for important things, time and again.
And there have only been two times in my life I regretted that.
The first time was the year I lost my little baby girl. My first ultrasound was scheduled on my birthday, so I could see her for the first time. After I miscarried, I dreaded my birthday with feelings so heavy they could sink ships.
And now, this year, on the dawn of my most-ever anticipated birthday, my heart is again heavy.
Today, I was going to launch Womb for Rent. My surrogacy business.
Twice in my life, my womb has been instrumental in my sorrow. Twice, when I felt I would be celebrating the life I would bring into the world on the day I came into the world, I am instead mourning the lives I will not create – and the life I will not have.
Today, I will celebrate the day of my birth. I will be with my wife. I will talk to my family. I will see friends. I will surround myself with joy – and I will take some quiet time to honor my grief.
A new year, a new chapter. New beginnings and potential swirl around me, and I wonder where they will take me from here.