Tuesday, September 21, 2010

When did she grow up?

This morning we visited MU, and SS was more than ready. When I walked in her room this morning the first thing she said to me was "Jammies come too?" She was wearing her BL PJs and wanted to show them off. Sorry SS, we have to pretend that we dress you normally, so no PJs. Teacher S gave us the tour and SS joined the sophomore class for outside play time, snack, and structured time (singing, going over the day of the week, date, letter of the day and reading). SS was very impressed with the kid size sinks, toilets and water fountain. P and I had never seen such a tiny water fountain. Before we left, SS asked to use the toilet. Maybe this potty training thing won't be too difficult.

I was taking notes as we talked because I do not trust my aging brain to keep information on the three schools straight. Teacher S has worked there for 11 years, and the person with the shortest tenure has been there for four years. It is a small school, we are pretty sure that it is the smallest of the three by far. They keep the teacher to student ratio way below state requirements. I did worry that there were no hitting/biting/pushing/shoving/screaming/drama incidents during the hour we were there. Not because I am pro violence, but because it concerned me that SS would be the loudest, and perhaps least well behaved there.

Everything was OK until SS joined the class for structured learning time. Teacher S, P and I were standing in the back. SS was sitting on the front row, because she is shy that way. I had a sudden flashback to SS's journey so far, and it overwhelmed me. The first thought that hit me was reading the report about when SS was found, the condition she was in, and the thought of what would have happened if she was found only minutes later. Then the image of when we first saw her in Kunming came to mind. Our little girl, who was not walking, but not for lack of trying, but because her legs were too weak and would not support her weight. That was followed by the moment when a beaming P placed SS on U.S. soil in front of La Taqueria in San Francisco. P had a mega kilowatt smile, so proud to finally have our daughter home. Then right there in front of me was SS, not Baby S, but Big Girl S; healthy, beautiful and no different than the children around her (other than her ethnicity).

And that is when I messed things up because the tears began to flow. They were happy tears, but embarrassing nonetheless. Who the heck cries over everyday stuff like that? But it wasn't only happiness that I felt, it was also pride and gratitude. I was so proud of SS, of how her fighting spirit got her to where she is now. I was so proud that she calls me Mama, and that no matter what happens in my life, she will always be my daughter. I was also grateful for whatever higher power and CCAA employee that collaborated to bring such am amazing child into our family forever. I was so grateful that I was a part of that journey for two years, every day and every night. To have all that hit you in a matter of seconds is quite an experience. Teacher S jokingly said that if I cried I was going to make everyone cry, and went to get a box of tissues. When I turned to grab one I noticed that she was crying. Great, way to go drama queen. Then I looked at one of the two teachers in front and she was teary eyed. UGH! I felt so stupid, and all I could say to explain was that I was so proud of my big girl.

SS and I went shopping after the visit, then met P for lunch and eye exams at C0$tco. It made sense to have the exams there because one of us could walk around with SS while the other was being examined. We need to return and pick frames at another time. I need bifocals and not happy about it. My near vision has decreased a lot in a short time. Dr. H told me that it should have happened six years ago, so I should be happy that I held on to it this long. Sorry dude, that does not make me feel any better. Aging absolutely sucks.

Our little ham quickly posed for her before visit picture.

Proof that SS spent an hour there and the building is still standing.

Grandparents do not freak out, SS does not need glasses. She was just having fun trying on frames.

Last Saturday SS also scored a BL backpack. We thought it was on clearance for $6.98, but when we got home realized it was only $2.48. P returned to the store Sunday and now SS has a spare in the garage.


Brenda said...

Well it sounds like MU is the one from what you say. I like the teachers' responses and the fact that SS did so well. Time for the baby to grow up - and it sounds like she's ready. Another rite of passage!

2china4S said...

We were impressed with MU, but still have two more schools to visit. The staff's longevity, class sizes and proximity to P's work are big pluses.