Sunday, May 27, 2012

He's Home and We Are All Better Than Okay

Papa came home yesterday. Yes, he did. And suddenly the world, the Universe, our home and our hearts are all in order.
We actually didn't meet him at the airport until 7:20 pm, so we had all day to wait and Ev had all day to fret. Would we get the decorations all up? Would we get the cake done? Would we be on time? Would we find the right gate at the airport? And she strapped on her wristwatch and was not shy about keeping me up to date on the exact time and also how much time we had left (that wasn't too nerve wracking at all driving through Philadelphia).
One of the things we love about Ev is that she is genuinely invested in making sure that others feel special on special occasions and she wanted Papa's homecoming to be special. She worked for three days on a welcome home sign that we took to the airport, along with two ballons. Les said that he couldn't see us around the people in front of him but when he saw those balloons floating above everyone, he knew that they were for him.
I can say now that my kids were both in partial shut down mode while he was gone and they have come back alive with his arrival. They are bright and shining and full to the brim with "papa papa papa!".
Aggghhh.(sigh of relief)
He was terribly missed.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fun at States

This Gymnastic season has come to a close. Ev finished out the year by going to the NJ State Gymnastics Competition. It was a long, 9 hour day, mostly because we also stayed to offer support to her friends who were competing after her group. I really am still trying to fully process what I think about and feel about today but, it will probably boil down to me feeling absolutely amazed that this tiny girl walked right into that big convention center, dropped her stuff off and started warming up. No hesitation, no balking. She just walked in and started doing the thing that she loves. I watched her all day and all day she smiled and laughed and talked with her team mates, she was happy to be there and I was so glad that she was there. 
She came home with a medal for Best All Around. She came home tired and happy and full of a quiet self confidence and champing at the bit to start her summer training.

She is a determined little thing but the thing that I love most is that gymnastics just makes her happy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

As of May 8

We were so busy these past weeks, visiting and distracting ourselves from Papa's absence that  one little detail got a bit lost in the shuffle- on May 8 we reached the seventh year anniversary of the day we met Evelyn.
The girl has been with us for seven years and though I become acutely aware of each day of those years when I look at how long her legs are, when I listen to how sophisticated her speech still seems like the blink of an eye to my heart.
I'm left wondering if it will ever feel like I have had enough time with her. I know the answer to that one, really I do, it's just that there is a certain comfort in thinking that I don't, in thinking that maybe one day I will be able to say, "Ok, go on, I'm ready".
On the day we met her, it was steamy hot in China. We were in a big conference room in our hotel in the middle of Jiangxi City and we were just one couple in a group of 19 that were waiting to meet their child. I remember the big doors at the back of the room being opened and the hall being filled with babies and nanniesAnd I remember catching a glimpse of her and realizing right there that it was really going to happen, they were really and truly going to let me have her.

She has been an absolute joy, this girl that I had to go half way around the world for. She has completed me in a way that I never thought possible. I had no idea how much a person could love another until my love for her started to grow and take root in my heart. She came to us as this tiny, fragile, frightened baby and now, though she is still tiny, she is healthy, glowing, full of light and laughter, she is a real bit of magic, this Fu Mei, and Leslie and I are completely honored to share this part of her life with her.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

When It Rains

When it rains, and this is something I absolutely love about my sister, Melissa will corral all of the kids, strip them down and send them out into the world with a big smile on her face and her laugh filling the air. I can never seem to get them up and out with the enthusiasm she whips up. If it's a real good gully washer? All the better! Then they have a place to go and stomp and splash and squeal. They can march in lines up and down the street, yelling and hollering and pretending that they are in mortal danger. They can run under umbrellas and imagine that they are using magic forcefields or...well, who knows what happens in those little minds?

Most of the time, our kids are the only ones out in the rain. And Melissa and I never understand this. When we were kids, it was easier to find drippy wet, squealy playmates on a rainy afternoon than it was on a clear, dry day. I even remember running to the top of a hill at my Grandma's house with 3 or 4 of my Aunts so we could all wash our hair in the rain that flooded out of the gutter of an old building.

My children have learned from their Aunt that magic can happen when it rains.

And now that we are older, my sister and I, and the world has worn some of our shine off, we mostly just stand and watch and laugh together as our children fill their hearts with a magic and joy that once belonged to us too.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Store Closing

Today one of my all time favorite stores closed.
Rabbit Store.
Rabbit Store is closed for business.
Rabbit Store was a game that Ev and I played with her little Calico Critters set.
We had a house with rabbits, and a General Store and one of our favorite things to do was to sit down in her room in the afternoon and play...Rabbit Store. You know, where the Mama Rabbit decides she needs stuff and goes shopping- over and over again.
It really was the nicest little store and the proprietor, a rabbit named Peach, was the spirit of generosity and fun.
And today, my daughter decided that she was just a bit too old for that doll house and the store.
And today, my heart is a bit sad as I think about those quiet afternoons playing Rabbit Store being all over.
Of course I am happy to see her grow and change and of course we have other special things we do together.
I was not ready for this.
I knew it was coming and I AM the one that blithely brought the subject up this morning. She hasn't even touched that dollhouse or store for weeks and weeks- months really and I thought it would take her almost a year to be ready to put it away. I thought we would have a few more trips to the store together.
But a few weeks ago, she asked me to play Rabbit Store and, I didn't have the time.
I didn't play with her that last time.
I didn't know it would be the last chance.
It was, and that is what has me in an emotional mess today.
I missed that opportunity with her and now she is on to bigger things.
I just have to keep telling myself that I only ever said no about 2 times, including that last one, so there is that.