Connections. They’re what we live by as human beings. We need those connections, whether they’re to our families or our friends or the community or to a higher power we might feel drawn to.
Connections are how we define ourselves as individuals with a purpose in life and they’re how we make sense of the world – our thoughts and actions and relationships are all passed through the filter of our own individual web of connections.
Today is my surrogate baby Mackenzie’s eighth birthday and even though she is only two years old in this picture, it’s still one of my very favorite shots ever. It’s not a technically superior picture (I took it myself) or even that interesting of a composition, but what I see in the picture far surpasses its mundane appearance.
The fact that I took this picture myself means a lot to me. It was her second birthday party and she was celebrating with her large extended family.
I was there. I was one of them in that moment.
Mackenzie’s older sister is to her left and she’s absolutely reveling in the celebration of her baby sister. The look on her face still fills me with joy, six years later.
I made Madeline a big sister.
And that pink frock Mackenzie is dressed in? It’s her post-swimming dress, a second-hand ballet costume. But it’s not just any ballet costume, it’s my daughter’s ballet costume, something my youngest had outgrown a few years prior.
I delighted in my daughter wearing that dress and I delighted in their daughter wearing that very same dress.
There is a sharp disconnect between my own children and my surrogate children and this is by design. Mine are mine, theirs are theirs, with my role limited to the vessel bringing their children to them.
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t find the connections between theirs and mine astonishing and deeply satisfying – because despite the disparity between their DNA and mine, they are all inextricably linked, through me, to me, and to each other.
They are all linked through the womb they’ve all shared, through the beat of my heart, through the pulse of my blood, and through the energy delivered from my very own life force.
The thirteen of us (one of me, three of mine, nine of theirs) are all connected, and nothing crystallizes that fact for me more than this image of a tiny girl celebrating her birthday with her sister by her side, surrounded by the love of her family, dressed in my daughter’s hand-me-down fairy dress.
Mackenzie and her family have since moved away, so we won’t celebrate together this year, but that matters very little. We celebrate together every year no matter what the distance, whether we see each other or not.
Happy 8th birthday dear Mackenzie. Much love to you.