We have no idea what happened. We traveled to China, we came home and all of a sudden SS is about to celebrate her third birthday. It does not seem possible, we just got back home a little while ago. Next Monday SS will be blowing three candles, totally mind warping. I am writing about her upcoming birthday because there are some things I rather not discuss on her actual birthday post (if I get around to writing one).
SS's birthday has hit me hard, I do not recall being so freaked out over JJ's third birthday. But I was barely 21, and I was not facing my last shot at parenthood. Years ago, a friend puzzled me with her completely different approaches to raising her daughter and her son, born only four years apart. Her daughter was self assured, a leader, and very independent. Her son was timid, afraid of everything, and clung to his mother all the time. The thing is that my friend treated them so completely different. She carried that boy on her hip until he was five. A bit of an overkill. And she encouraged his fears and over reliance on her. Heck, she seemed to enjoy it.
I finally asked her why, why would she want to coddle him knowing that it was counterproductive (this woman knows childhood development very well). She told me that she knew her son was her last shot at motherhood and that it was very difficult for her. She wanted him to remain a baby for as long as possible. That is why she did not cut his hair until he was over three years old, why she carried him around, why she encouraged him to rely on her and only her. She told me that I would not understand, because I still had Baby S to look forward to, to give me hope.
SS finally came home and what was supposed to be our first of two adoption trips is quickly turning into our only one. There is a 99.9% probability that SS is my last shot at motherhood, and it makes me really sad. This is not what we planned, but reality has a way of screwing up plans. I am glad that we have had this forced time together, and I'm trying to hang on to every little thing. Like the song goes...
May be the reason I survive
The why and wherefore I'm alive
The one I'll care for through the rough and ready years
Me, I'll take her laughter and her tears
And make them all my souvenirs
For where she goes I've got to be
The meaning of my life is she
(LOVE Elvis Costello's rendition and it is so SS).
And that is what we are doing, making souvenirs. Life goes on and SS needs to grow. We have regressed her in some areas out of necessity. But it is not fair to her to keep her a baby because it fills our emotional tank. Maybe I did not understand then, but I sure as hell understand now.
Also, as SS's birthday approaches, I have thought a lot about her birth family. Selfish me, the person who along with her husband thought not knowing her birth mother, and never having to deal with her, was the most attractive part of China adoption. We know this is the last birthday when we won't have to answer SS's inquiries about why (we have the how down) we became her parents. And there is so much we do not know about why. We wonder if her birth mother is feeling sadness or even regret right now. We wonder if her birth mother regrets her decision, or if she even wonders how SS is doing. There is one undeniable fact we do know and will always impress upon SS. Her birth mother chose life, her life, and unknowingly gave us the most amazing gift. We will always be grateful to her birth mother for each and every souvenir.
Baby SS through Baba's prism (cell phone):