My daughter was born in the foothills of Shirak, Armenia in the shadow of Mt. Aragats. The landscape is rugged, the winters long, brown hillsides fold into each other and barren beautiful vistas stretch as far as the eye can see.
But come springtime—and May—the month she was born, miles upon miles of wildflower meadows unfurl under snowcapped peaks and icy mountain streams. Sheep and cows dot the valleys and farmers till the soil.
When I think about my daughter’s birth, I will always remember where she is from, an ancient and awe-inspiring place. I have seen it with my own eyes and, one day, she will too. This land is in her blood, in her soul.
And in this month of May, a month of renewal and new beginnings, I will also hold a special place in my heart for the woman who brought her into this world, a woman who will always have my deepest respect, because when faced with difficult circumstances, she made the choice to ensure her child had a home where she would be loved and cared for, even if this home couldn’t be her home. My daughter’s first mother wished for a new beginning, a wish I take seriously in my role as mother.
So when we blow out my daughter’s birthday candle, to celebrate her first trip around the sun, we will also light another candle in her birth mother’s honor, a candle made from tuff, a stone of volcanic origin as old as time, like Armenia where it is found, a stone that is light, strong and beautiful…just like my daughter.