A Recent Moment
Looking down into her precious face, now nearly 4 years old, I still see the quiet calm in the darkness of her almond shaped sparkling eyes and see the baby I met three years ago. Her arms are raised up in search of the comfortable embrace she has found in me—her momma.
Picking her up, her now gangly long legs can nearly wrap around my waist. One of her arms, the left one, finds a comfortable spot draped around my neck and the other huddles close to my chest with the thumb on the end of her hand finding her mouth, a source of self soothing since long before we knew each other. The sweet smell of her hair fills my nostrils and because her face is turned away from mine, I can only imagine her tired eyes struggling to stay open, though the weight of her warm brown lids gradually pull them shut. Occasional muffled heavy sighs, make way for her body to sink ever deeper into my embrace; her legs become more and more slack dangling at my knees, as we become like one shifting from side to side to the slow melodic rhythm.
We are dancing, or rather I am swaying to the music that fills our living room with her wrapped in my loving arms. This is nothing new. We’ve been perfecting this choreographed dance since we met three years ago. Now a days, however, it seems that the independence that comes with her maturity finds her far too busy to need or want this place of comfort for long, although it will always be here for her.
I am delighted yet surprised that she still remembers our dance. Once a daily occurrence, now has become a rare occasion that I get to hold her in this way. Perhaps her need for a dance has been swayed by the change in the season - the chill in the air, the darkness that comes sooner with each passing day, bringing with it the urge to cuddle up and be warm. Perhaps she is aware of the approaching anniversary of our forever family day and is feeling as nostalgic as I. The difference this time is that she has sought me out and I drop everything to hold my pumpkin pie.
Forever Family Day 2008
For me, this is a gift. A chance to reflect on that fateful September 18th and marvel at how far we have come together as a family in just three short years. We have gone from falling in love with a small photo, to being legally joined, to finally living out the dream of being a family. To comfortably now know the familiar feel of her soft skin against mine, to know the thump of her heartbeat as her chest rests on mine and to hear the slow and steady whisper of her breath. These wonders, now my reality in becoming her momma, are what I know and would recognize anywhere. I feel blessed each day I get to experience her.
It seems each day we discover something new about her multi-faceted personality. Phrases, facial expressions and small glimpses into her world that give tiny hints about the girl, teenager and woman she will one day become. One thing is for certain...she wants to be a momma one day and will tell you what a good one she is going to be! This journey of joy is so far from what we thought we would ever experience as parents and we are enjoying every minute of her growth.
Forever Family Day 2010
This year, to celebrate our Forever Family Day we decided to reenact our September meeting. To do this, we restored the baby doll crib that my grandfather built for my sister and I to play with when we were young. A funny side note about my grand father, Elmer Joseph Schrag is that he was a jack of all trades...a wonderful talented man who with my grandmother raised 4 daughter's while working as barber, dentist, postman, farmer and carpenter in the small city of Alsen, North Dakota. I mention this because to us grand and great grand children he was a gentle giant among men. A true saint. While one child thought he was a direct decendent of thee Joseph (given his middle name and the fact that he was a carpenter) I thought he invented Elmer's glue, because he was always using it in his projects and it had his name right on the bottle!
In any case, the crib, once stained wood, somewhere along the way became white, and so we began with a fresh coat to spruce her up.
We were so excited to get started, we nearly forgot to protect a set of tiny lungs from the fumes.
Devi chose the color scheme...pink and purple, which I think is every 3 year old's favorite colors!
With the original jumping lambs and bunnies covered by countless coats of paint, we added flower, butterfly and dragon fly decals to bring sweet dreams to the baby dolls that would one day be resting there.
Crib completed we headed out to Gateway to India for our traditional Indian meal and to "ching" a toast with our glasses to another wonderful year. Devi had her Mango Lassie downed in almost a single gulp!
Full to nearly bursting, we came home and discovered the crib all made up and ready to play with. To our surprise, Devi began playing adoption on her own. We had hoped to tell HER story, but she had another story in mind. She approached the crib in her overly dramatic fashion saying "AWWWW!!! I LOVE it. Daddy, look at the baby God chose for us. Her name in Treya Sonilka. Isn't she beautiful? I am her big sister and I love her." It was over the top cheesy, just like the smile in the picture below, and so cute.
Finally it was time for bed. We sent Devi into her room to change into PJs. Things got quiet, that oh-no kind of quiet where your mom alarm goes off and you run to the place where you once left them. Her bedroom door was shut and the lights off inside. When I opened the door, there was Devi. She had pulled the rocker up to the edge of play crib and was reading a bed time story by nightlight to the baby, who has now for reasons unknown, become Treya Sonalika Wanda Sue. When she saw me, she put her finger up to her lips to shush me and whispered that her baby sister was asleep so I was to be quiet.
Ending our evening with a sweet treat, we say hello to what another year together will bring. I don't think there is any question what the three of us are wishing for.