Dear Michaela … Happy Birthday!

It’s not quite the 24th yet here yet, but I don’t know where you might be, Michaela, and in some places it is, or will be soon.  I wouldn’t want you to wake up anywhere and say, “It’s my birthday! I wonder if my mom remembers,” and sign onto this blog and not find anything. So I’m home today, alone, and I am sending you my birthday wishes early.

I have a card for you. I’ve actually had it for over a month. When I was shopping for a birthday card for your younger sister at the beginning of December, I saw this one, and I burst into tears when I read it. So I bought it for you….

When you were born, we lived off Santa Clara Street in Hayward. I have been coming home from work that way for a couple of weeks now, trying to avoid the traffic on the main roads. I am always filled with the memory of driving down that street when we brought you home from the hospital. My head always turns at the street where we turned off for home. At the stop light, I glance around at the palm tree in the front yard, which was little at that time and now towers high in the sky. I remember the promise of that time, and my throat fills with tears at the way it was broken.

I don’t know what I will do for your birthday tomorrow. Over the years I have handled it in so many ways. The first birthday after you were kidnapped a local church had a concert in your honor, and close to a thousand people attended, and they had a cake and asked me to blow out the candles. For some of the middle years I had friends, most of whom I had come to know because of you, come to my house, and we would sit in a circle and celebrate the fact of you and what an extraordinarily wonderful and special person you are. In recent years I have kept your birthday a personal and private day. Honestly, I am always torn between wanting to keep your name and face out in the public, wanting to keep you alive by keeping your memory alive in people’s minds and hearts, and wanting to withdraw into the privacy of my heartbreak, and yours. On the anniversary of your kidnapping I have been having a public remembrances, but for your birthday, it’s just you and me in my heart. Some years, I’d get cakes, but I remember a few years ago I went to the store and looked at all the cakes, and the thought of having something sweet for your birthday while you were missing just filled me with sorrow. But yesterday when Johnna asked me what I was going to do for your birthday, for some reason I burst out with, “I think I’m going to buy a cake and eat the whole thing.” I’m not going to do that, of course, but I suppose this is all symbolic of the emotional roller coaster I have spend the last 23 years on. There have been times when my feelings have gripped me so tightly, have been so raw, that I could not eat. But you know me — eating is one of the things I have always done to numb myself so that I don’t have to feel all those feelings.

But I guess there is only one thing that is important, and that is that it is your birthday. It is the anniversary of the day you were born, the day I first met you. I remember that day so clearly, after five years of infertility and two days of labor, the miracle of your actual arrival, holding you in my arms. I remember I woke up early the next morning, so excited as I remembered that you were here! I scooped you out of your basinette next to my bed and woke you. I carried you to the window where the sun was streaming in, and I said, “Look, baby, your first morning!”

You changed me, Michaela, changed my very identity. When you were born, you changed me from “Sharon” to “mommy.” When you were taken away, you changed me again. And one day, I will find you, and I know I will be changed once more. I have been asked, since you have been gone, whether or not I would have chosen to have you, if I had known what was going to happen. For your sake, Michaela, I might say no, in order to spare you the suffering you have had to experience. But for myself, however much pain and grief I may have experienced in losing you, it cannot eclipse the pure joy of having you, or being your mom, of watching you grow and seeing what a beautiful, talented, magical and special little girl you grew to be. I love you, Michaela, purely and completely, totally and forever.

And I have decided, I am going to get a cake for you … just in case you should decide to come home tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, sweetheart.

I love you,

19 thoughts on “Dear Michaela … Happy Birthday!

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  1. As a Mom whose arms long to hold two little (not so little now) boys, I could FEEL every ounce of pain in reading that. Happy Birthday Michaela! Sending Love and Comfort your way Sharon!huneyann


  2. I had to cry while reading I am so sorry .Is there any progress of investigations ? Like in madaline maccans ,s case ,cant you ask for a reinvestigation through your president using FBI or any other means.I wish a very happy birth day to michaela! and all the best to sharon.chandanee- srilanka


  3. Sharon,Just sending you big hugs on this day, as a mom, it was very hard reading this post. I cannot begin to imagine your pain and suffering….I pray that soon Michaela will be found to bring joy to all of us who long for her to come home.LoveDanielle


  4. Happy Birthday Michaela. I know you're celebrating your life wherever you are, but we would love to be celebrating it with you. Big Hugs from Old Friends. The Varner's


  5. Happy Birthday, Michaela! May your life be filled with happiness and love. I pray everyday that you will be back home again to celebrate it with your family and that the kidnapper who so cruelly snatched you away from your family is caught. Sending you love and best wishes…Radhika


  6. Hi Sharon,I was born in California. I moved when I was a youngster. Although I would have lived in California at the time this happen. I don't remember hearing about this as a child. I wasn't allowed to watch much tv as a child so that might be why. I have however seen alot of news coverage over the years about different missing children. It was only a few years ago I saw your blog or something on the web about Michaela. For some reason you & Michaela have touched me more than others cases. I'm not sure if it's because Michaela and I oddly share the same birtday or I spent my childhood in Cali. Every once in a while I stop by to see if she has come home. I am not able to visit your blog that often. It always makes me sad and breaks my heart. Also I know this will sound selfish. The truth is sometimes I wish you were my mom. My mom was a bad mom. I know a lot of people say this about there parents. My mom did things to me parents aren't suppose to do to children. My mom really was a bad mom. I think the world would be a better place if more children had mom's like you! Happy Birthday, Michaela! Sincerly,Alley


  7. Happy Birthday michaela I pray that you come home soon.sharon I pray that you will have peace and that Michaela will come home to you. I cried as I read your card to your daughter. She ,as well as all your children are Blessed to have you as their mom. To be able to share her with the world I know it must be a struggle but just know that you have helped many people out there going through similar situations. I pray for you and family. Susan


  8. Oh Alley, Happy Birthday! And thank you for your message, for caring about Michaela, and for such a compliment. I am so sorry you had to go through what you did, but it sounds as though you grew up to be a really kind, caring person anyway, which is a credit to the strength of your spirit, and your heart. My birthday wish for you, Alley, is that the year to come will be filled with love and warmth and laughter. God bless and take care,Sharon


  9. Happy Birthday Michaela! Sharon, your such an inspiration and your daughter is so lucky to have you. I have been reading your blogs a lot and I never had the courage to comment before. It is Michaela's birthday so I thought it would be the perfect time. I'm actually only 14 and I heard this case for the first time when you where on the Oprah Show when Jaycee Dugard was found. At the time, I was only 11 and when I heard the story of what happened to Michaela, I burst into tears. It's so heartbreaking. Ever since that day of the episode, i've been looking more and more into this case. For the past couple of months, I have been reading your blogs. Always wanting to comment, but never knowing what to say. I just want to tell you that there isn't a day I go without thinking about her. Although I wasn't there the day she went missing or even born actually, I still think about her a lot. I pray for her and your family every night to have your daughter to come back home. Well, I finally had the courage to say something to you, I will continue to read your blogs. Happy Birthday Michaela! Sincerly,Becca


  10. Becca, I'm so glad you finally decided to comment, and you write so well! Thank you, Becca, and thank you everyone, for the birthday wishes for Michaela. I really appreciate it, and I hope Michaela gets a chance to see these wishes for her also.Sharon


  11. Happy Birthday Michaela! I have been reading your blog for a while now, and have never commented. My heart goes out to you, Sharon and Michaela. Jessica


  12. Happy Birthday, Michaela! Sharon sending you a hug & some love miles away! I'll be in touch soon. Hope you enjoyed a slice of the cake.


  13. Hello Michaela,I hope you come here from time to time and see how much everyone is thinking about you and how much you are missed.I wanted to share with you some of my own personal experiences in life in hope that it might help you find your way back home. I grew up in a family of twelve kids..I was the first born and growing up I felt very loved. My siblings were my whole life and I loved being around them so much that I could not wait for the day that I would become a mother myself. When I was 23 years old I met the man of my dreams and was very happy. However my family did not like the fact that I was thinking about moving out and starting my own family. They were use to my help around the house and I also had a job in which I gave them most of the money I made. When they thought about the lost help and money they were mad and they tried to talk me out of getting married. My husband is quite a bit older than me and his mother was worried that I was way too young for her son. However she had me over for dinner and was very kind to me. My mother and Father refused to have my boyfriend over for dinner or even speak to him. When we finally married I did not invite my parents to the wedding because it was too uncomfortable for me to have them there know that they hated my new husband so much. After getting married my mother and sister called me all day long telling me how I had ruined my life and I was doomed forever. Nine months later I gave birth to a beautiful little girl. However things were really falling apart with my family. After all their pleading I finally seperated from my husband in the hopes of winning back their love. It did not work. I spent the next 6 months is such a deep depression…I missed my husband so much. I was told to start dating again and that they wanted me to divorce him.They did not support my decision to seperate and they would invite my sister that I was living with to dinner but they would not invite me. They let me know that I would have their love back as soon as I divorced him. My mother in law however was completely different. Even though she thought I was too young for her son and even though she was angry at me for leaving him she showed me love. She told me not to go back to work because she would pay all my bills. She bought me a new washer so I would not have to go to the laundry mat. She keep my baby in diapers, Wipes and kept me in groceries. I was not doing what she wanted yet I had her support and love. To make a long story short I went back to my husband. We now have five beautiful children and to this day my family will not talk to me. To make things worse they told me I was no longer allowed to speak to my siblings. So I lost my whole family whom I loved so dearly. The reason for the long story is you are with someone I am sure you have grown to love. Someone who tells you that they love you so much and cannot live without you in their life. But do they ever stop and care about your happiness?? Would they love you enough to share you with your family?? Your mother is very much like my mother in law. She does not want to force you to come home. She does not want you to do anything that would cause you pain or make you unhappy. She just wants to know that you are okay. Whatever you decide from there she will support you. She is the person in this life who trully loves and cares for you. Please know that someone who trully Cares about you will not threaten you to do what they want they will care and ask about what your dreams are and help make them come true.


  14. Happy late birthday Michaela. That was a beautiful letter to your daughter Sharon. As a long-time resident of Hayward, I have always thought of you and your family. God bless.


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