Saturday, August 20, 2011

Leavin' On A JetPlane

So this last Monday I put my 6 year old on a herself.  She flew to N. Carolina to see her "big sis" Michelle and her husband Sean.  I am so grateful she has had this opportunity.  I am so proud she took it all in stride.  And I am a little amazed I was good with it.

It's been a weird week for me.  I am ashamed to admit it but I have enjoyed this time alone...sometimes.  When I've had to get go to work or get work stuff done, it has been easier.  We've skyped with one another and I think this has helped the "miss yous".  It makes me a little sad that she is having so much fun; I don't get to do enough of the "fun" stuff with her.  Real life can truly get in the way.

She is having the best time.  Today's activity: horseback riding.  She has been to Great Wolf Lodge; spending hours (so it sounds) in the wave pool, waiting for the bucket drench, going down the "big slide" and playing "Mommy shark and Baby shark".  She went to the drive-thru zoo in Charlotte.  Her favorite animal was the Emu there.  And she's had her first real pedicure; she had to make the difficult choice of a diamond or a flower for her big toe.  (Guess which one bling-girl choose...yupe, the diamond,)

So I have three more days of Me time.  I will enjoy it...most of the time. 

Love you Most Lttle Girl!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The "Rena" Dress

In my last post I stated one of the first things I did when Isabella and I got to our hotel room was put her in the "Rena" Dress.

The "Rena" dress is one of the dresses I bought my friends Angela & Bill's daughter when she was a newborn.  I love(d) that dress.  It is white with a gauzy overlay with little pink flowers on it.  I always thought Rena looked adorable in it as a newborn (and Auntie Becky certainly wouldn't be partial).

When Rena was about 3 years old Angela gave me the dress back.  I remember saying to her, just give it to Jasmine (her sister) for her one of her daughters.  I think I was about a year out from my hysterectomy; I never in a million years expected having a daughter who would fit in that cute little dress.

Angela adamantly refused to send the dress on to Jasmine; she insisted I take the dress back (and those of you who know Angela understand the statement "insisted").  I am so glad she made me take the dress back.

That first day with Isabella I remember proudly taking her all over the hotel (the adoption agency rules forbade us from leaving the confines of the hotel).  I remember going into the Jade Shop at the hotel and the gentleman waiting on me asked if I was in the country on business or pleasure.  I remember saying I was there to visit my daughter.  He asked me if she worked at the Marriott; I laughed telling him Isabella was my daughter. (OK, so he thought she was my Granddaugher),

So after strolling the hotel grounds...and showing off the most beautiful baby, we went upstairs to our room where I received a phone call; I initial thought it was my cousin, Lorei who was in Guatemala with Physican's without Border's group, but it was Auntie Angela.  Isabella was cooing away, and Angela was the FIRST of my friend's to hear her "Rena" dress.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Love at First Sight

I received the referral for Isabella in December.  The first of February I let the agency know I'd be going to Guatemala in late February.  I was told the paperwork was going quickly, and this may not be soon enough for Isabella to be a US citizen when I finally brought her home.  Oh what to do??  I really wanted her to be a US citizen as soon as she entered the country because it was less paperwork.  So on Friday February 12th I decided to fly to Guatemala on Sunday morning...yes, two days later.  Oh yes, and I would only be staying over night.

So the flight and hotel were booked.  Now I just needed to sit back and relax...right.

On Saturday I was so excited, anxious, nervous, and a little frightened I couldn't sleep.  So naturally I stayed up all night making a baby blanket.  I've made many, many blankets for my friends over the years, but this one was for MY baby.  I'd like to tell you it was a beautiful pink, lilac and purple, but oh no, it was a pee green.

So I am up before the sun on Sunday.  I am pretty sure Angela took me to the airport that morning.  I flew into Miami and then on to Guatemala City.  I remember waking up as the plane started to descend into Guatemala.  My first thought was, "What a beautiful city, all ringed with mountains." My next thought was, "What if this is a big mistake!!  What if she hates me?  Maybe I don't want to be a Mom?"  Terror, absolute terror. 

It was about 10 am when I got to the hotel.  I called Fifo, my contact; we would meet in the lobby in about an hour.  Jitters, nerves...

Finally I head downstairs to meet my daughter.  When I first saw her she was in her Foster-mother's arms (Ruby),  sound asleep.  I took her into my arms and burst into tears.  She was perfect.  Simply perfect.  What had I been thinking being nervous. So silly.  I just cried and cried, telling her what an amazing, perfect baby she was.  Ruby was trying to give me information about Isabella (eating schedules, etc) and I am completely oblivious.

After about 10 minutes or 12 hours, I am not sure which I stopped staring at Isabella and asked questions, "how long does she sleep at night?" (all night), "how frequently does she eat?" (every three hours), "what do I need to do for her earrings" (the only words of English Ruby didn't need translated; nothing she had them pierced at a week old).

So Ruby and Fifo were getting ready to leave when Isabella woke up.  What amazing brown eyes; and then she smiled, her "gummy girl" smile.  She was the most beautiful baby in the world.  Really.

She was perfect; I took her upstairs and counted fingers and toes, checked her hips and back.  And then dressed her in the "Rena outfit".  It was the best Valentine's Day EVER!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Just a short reflection....

Tonight Isabella & I spent the evening at TOP (Top of the Park) in Ann Arbor.  I watched my daughter run around with her "new friend" she'd meet this evening trying to catch fireflies.  The joy on her face when she would catch a firefly.  She proudly showed it to all of our friends.

Is there any greater joy than this?  It brings back wonderful memories of my own childhood.  And I hope this will someday be a part of Isabella's sweet memories.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bucket List??

So this last weekend we spent the weekend with my college room mate, Laurie.  At one point she asked me what was on my "bucket list".  My only response was "raising my daughter." 

When I really think about this question, I still don't have a different response.  My dream for so many years was to have a child. Anyone whose done the fertility route can pretty much tell you what an obsessive compulsive, all consuming roller coaster ride it is.  And then I became the Mom of the most special baby in the entire world.

Of course I have dreams for Isabella and I.  Someday I hope we will work in the National Park system together.  Her during her summer vacations from college and me in my motorhome/camper.  She can live in the dorms of NPS and me in my quiet camper.  I am hoping she gets over her fear of all bugs before this.

So I guess my bucket list of Summer 2011 include: going to DisneyWorld in the next year, getting a good enough second job for the fall & winter so I can take most of next summer off to spend with Isabella, scrapbooking once a week with friends and getting my house clean.

I don't think this is what Laurie had in mind.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Gotcha' Day

Last Monday was Isabella's Gotcha Day.  I can't believe it has been 6 years since the woman at the US Embassy asked me if I would adopt her if she was in the United States, and I replied "Yes, in a New York minute".  What a time to quote Bill Bonds.  Then with a click of her stamp we were a family...forever.

This year Isabella has been interested in her Birthmother.  I showed her the one picture of her I have with her holding Isabella.  We had a few discussions about what a brave thing she did by allowing me to adopt Isabella.  I think Isabella "gets" about 60% of these discussions.

I've always said Isabella looks like my Dad.  Not so much anymore.  She has his sense of timeliness-God help me. I know there are people who think she looks like me, but really she looks somewhat like her birthmother.  All I really know is that I adore those big brown eyes, those amazing eyelashes and that laugh.  I've never met anyone who likes to be tickled before in my life.  But she sure does. 

Tonight I told her the story about what we did 6 years ago today.  We went to Church (she had a little sailor outfit on complete with hat) and all the ladies in the back 2 pews made eyes at her.  We went to the scrapbook store so I could show her off to all my friends.  And we went to the Art Gallery Doris and Gary Galvin used to own.  Gary's Dad and my Dad were best friends.  Gary cried when he saw her; I was overwhelmed with his response.

But yet I understand.  There are moments I look at her and I just want to cry.  I just can't believe it is my responsiblity to raise this amazing child.  And I am thankful, I will be forever thankful to the woman who gave birth to my baby and made the ultimate sacrifice to not be her mother. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

An ending...a beginning

Tonight was Isabella's Kindergarten Graduation.  How did that happen??  It seems like yesterday she was this extraordinary small thing in my arms.  Or that she'd decided it was time to potty train.  Or that she was, you know, just a baby.

I can't believe how much my girly girl has changed this year.  It's not just the fact that she's reading at almost a 2nd grade level, or doing simple addition and subtraction with ease.  She has changed.  I can actually explain to her WHY she can't do something, have something, etc. and she actually listens and makes a judgement call on the WHY.  (Not that meltdowns don't occur, every 6 year old has to "keep face" sometimes, you know.)

I am beginning to be able to use REASON with her.  Now, don't get me wrong, frequently the reason is because I'm the Mom and I said so.  Period.  But when we are having a particularly bad moment, hour, day over really nothing, I can ask her, "Are you having fun, because I'm not having fun arguing about {name something stupid}"  And 7 times out of 10, there is no more discussion.

I am hoping this is the new beginning.  The beginning of CALM.  Now, for those of you who know my daughter and have ever entered into debate with her, I am not delusional, foolish, crazy, etc to think my house will now be a place of butterflies, woodland creatures and sweet singing birdies.  But a relative time of less drama. 

I fully plan on hearing: "you're a bully" (one of her favorites), "you're mean", "stop it now", "don't tell me again" (one of my favorites)...on a daily or hourly basis depending on how it's going.  But I think (or maybe it's only hope) that reason will occasionally overrule, for both of us.



So those are just some of my thoughts on the day of my sweet child's graduation from Kindergarten.