A quiet hotel room amidst a bustling city along the Ganjiang River. A woman quietly folds and refolds tiny clothes, not quite sure how to put things back, how to arrange these unfamiliar articles. A man paces the room, looking often at the view of the river...as if seeking for something he'll not find. Not out there at least.
The phone rings, breaking the silence. The couple turns and stares at it, unable to quite fathom what it truly means.
The voice on the line tells them to hurry to the elevator, that the moment has come.
They have arrived.
The couple wait - excited, scared, thrilled and terrified all at once. How will these next moments change their lives forever? The woman starts to cry, unexpected tears full of emotions too hard to put to words. The man comforts her, says it will be alright.
As the elevator doors open a line of women exit, carrying small bundled objects. Eight sweet babies, some with red faces full of tears, some staring silently as if wondering what would come next, all about to embark on the next part of the journey of their lives.
Names are called, matches are made. The couple wait, ever so anxious, scared, so excited and....
They hear their name called, they are asked some basic info and then. And then.
I became a Mom.
Six years ago today, I became a Mom.
Those intense feelings that had been in my heart for ages were finally becoming a reality. The dream of actually seeing her in person, of holding her, of being Mom were now fully real. The love I'd felt for a photo of a small chubby baby now had a smell, a feel and a weight.
She had a voice as well, and boy oh boy did she use it. What a bittersweet moment becoming a parent to an older infant can be. All those months preparing for this very moment, but never being fully prepared.
Now let's picture the days to follow.
Bus rides were peaceful as well as late night. In between was hard, for my sweet QingLu - it was a new beginning she'd never asked for. Her world was with another "Mama" and parting from her was so painful. But as days went by she grew to like us, more and more. Until we became all she knew, all she needed. I started to really feel like a Mom too, the more she allowed me in, allowed me to care for her and love her, the stronger those bonds became. I remember the day she first smiled at me, the warmth of that beautiful grin produced just for me.
We still do talk of her "other mother", the one who fostered her. We speak of the obvious care and love she gave to that baby girl, and of the gratitude I'll always feel for giving her such a positive start in life.
And of course we talk about the most important "others". The ones she will never again know, only knew for a brief moment. Today probably means nothing to them, yet I seem to think of them so much on this day, more so than any other day really. I feel a pain for them, for never knowing what a joy, what a gift and what an amazing being they brought into this world. What I would give to just let them know....share with them my gratitude.
But honestly I can't dwell, because on this day I celebrate the awesome blessing I received six years ago. I celebrate this child, my child, so full of sparkle and depth and joy.
My sometimes quiet and reserved child, the one who wants to know the rules so she is sure not to break them. My sweet girl who is always full of laughter - that deep warm laugh that radiates through and through. My dumpling who is good at singing and dancing, but even better at making up new lyrics. Her creativity is wonderful and she makes up songs to calm her brother, to let me know what she wants for dessert and sometimes just to amuse herself. My artist, she has such an ability to create drawings that pop with life and that are so very detailed it amazes me on a regular basis! My little girl who is growing into such a young lady who is gaining such self confidence and poise.
My Simone QingLu, my daughter.
I love you all the way to Pluto and around the universe. And back..... Happy Family Day my love.
The day she first smiled at me...on the bus ride from the park to the hotel.