Monday, December 20, 2010

Girl On A Mission

Leaping into my arms at preschool pick up last Thursday, Devi asked “Mommma, can we go see Santa?” There was a hint of panic in her voice so I knew something had to have happened to spur on this sudden need. Up until this time we had planned to go see Santa, but the date had not yet been set. Devi couldn’t decide what she wanted to ask Santa for and kept proclaiming that she wanted to keep it a secret. For the better part of the past two weeks Pat and I had been trying to guide and direct her toward a suitable request of the jolly old elf, realizing that to surprise Santa at the 11th hour would make him considerably less jolly and more heavily white whiskered.

Honestly, there was not one item that she could think of that she really really would love to have. When asked while driving, she said a skateboard, because that is what she saw out the window of the car, or a motorized scooter. At one point she was set on princess ice skates, but we live no where near an ice arena or in a geographical location conducive to ice.

So why the sudden need to have a chat with Santa? Apparently, a girl at preschool told Devi that Santa would not stop at our house and that there would be no present for her. The school yard bully. She has a hold on Devi’s emotions that is unstaggering at times. Naturally, I capitalized on the opportunity to not only ease the mind of my believing child, but also to narrow down her scope of gift possibilities. With her decision made, off we all went that night to seal the deal on the lap of the big man himself.

With the furrowed brow of concentration she studied the procedure of the family in front of us as they had their conference with Santa. She is one of those people who likes to be prepared in tense situations. Then, as they excited with candy cane in hand, she, feeling confident, readied herself. Adjusting her posture to full height with her chin up, she smoothed her dress, brought the heals of her black leather mary janes together and steadied her hands, one with her letter of wishes, the other clutching a baggie of cookies. Pat and I whispering an over the top, "Oh brother", stood back and watched as our little princess politely walked up to Santa and offered him first a hug, then the cookies. Hypnotised by his presence and with eyes big as dinner plates captivated by his, she appropriately nodded yes and no to his various questions. Then she gently turned as he pulled her up into his leg and she, ever so tenderly folded her hands and laid them politely in her lap. I could tell she so nervous, but was trying hard to seem confident and sure.

Together they read her letter requesting a horsey flashlight that neighs when the light comes on and new socks. She also threw in a pop-up book for extra good behavior. Santa stole a glance from me and winked leading me to believe that all her wishes might be coming true this year. Santa told her she had a strong position on the nice list as he, with large white gloved hands, unwrapped her prize peppermint sucker. This sucker, the ultimate symbol of her successful mission -assuring that Santa would in fact, be coming down our chimney this year.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thankful in Cancun!

At 4, this girl all ready knows how to vacation!

In light of the recent exciting news, I almost forgot about the wonderful and relaxing eight days we spent in Cancun for Thanksgiving. And, thankful we were...for the warmth of the sun; for the indulgence of fine food and drink; for the evening of pampering massages for the adults; but mostly thankful that our Devi’s noggin was going to be okay.

The day before we left, she slipped on a patch of ice in our driveway, hitting her head and knocking herself out cold. Coming to in daddy’s arms lead to a seizure and a trip to the ER to be checked out. Having just received 6 immunizations two days earlier at her 4 year old check up, doctors were not her favorite people making her behavior at the hospital....well, the word hysterical comes to mind - a first, for our typically jovial girl. We got the green light to travel, with a thick cautionary pamphlet of information about head injuries. I must have asked the doctor eight times, “Would you travel with your child under these circumstances?” before I was convinced it would be okay.

She swims! Devi's first trip swimming unassisted.

Stealing daddy's hat is so funny!

Proof! She really is the best napper.

To give the highlights, this is the first trip we’ve taken that Devi has decided that napping on the pool deck was really a good idea. Typically, we would take her back to our room, but on this trip, around 11am each day, much to the envy of the other nearby parents, Devi would ask to take a nap. She then preceded to leave her newly acquired friends playing, climbed into a shade covered beach lounger, covered herself with towel and would close her eyes and sleep for a good couple of hours. Blowing on my fingernails and buffing them on the shoulder of my shirt (as if I had something to do with this), I do take a teeny bit of credit, but from day one, God saved our sanity by granting us an easy excellent traveler.

Devi soon charmed the bartenders and by weeks end they knew to have a nice supply of maraschino cherries and apple juice at the ready. Daddy and I sipped one or two banana monkeys (wink, wink), adding a drizzle of chocolate on top as our signature. The food was great - nothing compares to fresh guacamole and tomatillo sauce, liberally applied to everything! The highlight was Japanese style wok cooking table side which was a thrill for all of us. Japanese food in Mexico? I know it sounds odd, but this all-inclusive resort had seven great restaurants, serving all types of food, Italian and wood-fire pizzas too! Yum.

Seeing the world through rose colored goggles?

Higher daddy! Throw me higher!

Unknown to us, the UN conference on global warming was occurring at the same time as our visit, making excursions away from the resort near impossible. Due to the heightened security, the smallest of drives took hours. Luckily, we were quite content to stay put at Cancun Palace and just swim, play in the sand and relax, which included a wonderful therapeutic massage for Pat and I. Devi’s special evening was earning the opportunity to stay up until 9pm for the fire show one night. She worked so hard, eating good meals - even taking an extra nap, all in anticipation of watching dancing girls and swirling flames set to drum music. Dev chose seats in the front row chatting nervously with everyone around us in anticipation of the show. As luck would have it, just 3 minutes into the introduction, she was out like a light, before a single flame was lit. Nice try pumpkin pie. She did however experience the circus show and a night of dancing, both events scheduled for earlier in the evening.

Swimming! This is the first trip where Devi really swam all by herself. It was so fun to watch the deliberate movement of her arms and legs, visible signs that the hours of swimming lessons are paying off. This said, lets face the facts. When she stops propelling herself forward, down she goes, buoyancy being what it is in a girl with no extra body fat. She is still sporting an 18 month sized bathing suit!

Night of the fire show that she didn't see.

Coming back...yes. Enough said.

Filled with revitalizing quantities of sun induced vitamin D, we realized just how much we needed to escape from the stresses at home. It was a wonderful excursion taken just in the nick of time. Now home, we can enjoy the upcoming end of the year holidays and prepare for the next adventure. India anyone?

Away for some R&R, someone is still always on our minds.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Smiles Anyone?

Our Pune Princess - November 2010

Five years ago today, my mom left this earth headed heavenward. Relieved that she was finally rid of illness and pain, I was still filled with selfish thoughts of how I would miss seeing her tomorrow or have that kind of mother/daughter relationship we once shared. Over time, this feeling has waned, but she is never far from my thoughts. This year, I guess because it is a milestone year, I found myself especially blue when I woke up this morning. Perhaps due to the previous evening; preparing the wreath for her place of rest, attaching one additional red rose to mark the passing of another year, or writing the annual letter of thanks to accompany the plate of baked goodies for the staff of the Hospice House, once again acknowledging their compassionate care provided to those living out their final days, just as both my mom and Pat's dad did. They passed away nearly two years apart to the day.

Paged to the phone at work, I noticed the time was 8:45 am, the typical time I receive my daily Devi update from Pat after he drops her off at preschool. To my surprise it was not his voice I heard, but rather the slightly high pitched soft familiar woman's voice of Lisa, our adoption representative. This recognition began an explosion of adrenaline through my veins; the kind that evokes that queasy feeling in your stomach, causes an immediate lump in our throat, rendering you incapable of uttering anything but a waver in your voice. We exchanged pleasantries, but honestly, I was unable to comprehend much, certain that I did not care to hear what she had to say. Pat and I had just discussed how we would tell Devi if this adoption did not go through and I was certain that the news she had called to deliver would be this sad reality. With the delays and turmoil surrounding the reorganization of the adoption process in India, we had been preparing ourselves for this very possibility.

My heartbeat pulsing like a bass drum in my ear drums, the pounding soon became a melody in the making. Much to my surprise Lisa said, " I have good news. Your case has just moved through the court in Pune and it was approved. You have guardianship!" I think I had her repeat this a couple of times before I could believe it. Our NOC was approved on November 8th and guardianship was granted on December 8th. This step was expected to take 3-4 months. Two months would have been optimistic, but guardianship in one month is nothing short of astounding. What a way to change this day of difficult memories to pure joyous ones! Thanks mom. There is no doubt, that you had some hand in bringing this happiness.

Pros at waiting, we've grown used to making our way to the front of one line only to step to the back of the next. Imagine my surprise when Lisa then said, "You can apply for your VISA's and should expect to travel around the second week of January!" Trying to swallow this information I swear I went into shock. Tingling form head to toe, my mind became an instant swirl of lists, thoughts and panic. Flat footed to react, we went from endless waiting to drastically behind in preparation in an instant.

Receiver still in hand, I dialed Pat and asked him if we had plans in mid-January? Naturally, he stepped right into my trap and answered, "No, why?" That's when I screamed into the phone, "Because we are going to India!" I could hear Pat begin to cry on the other end of the phone, trying to compose himself enough to respond, but all I could hear were squeaks of acknowledgment. (I secretly love that he is such a softy).

Within the hour, Pat had left his obligations at work and found himself in my office for much needed celebratory hug. With this embrace, faces buried in each others arms, the Hercules sized boulder of stress that we had been shouldering for the past two years immediately left us and simply floated away.

As you can see - she smiles! To add the icing on this decadent cake, we just received this photo from an Internet acquaintance who visited SOFOSH recently. She was taking her adopted 9 year old daughter there to see where she lived as a youngster. After our random connection, she offered to look for our Pune Princess while there and this was her report.

We did visit SOFOSH and got to meet Sonalika. She is a pretty girl, looks healthy, very friendly, and smiled a lot. She did not appear shy. Sonalika is a favorite of the ayahs there and they all like her a lot.

We got to tour the entire orphanage and see children from 2 days old thru toddlers. It is very clean and organized and the ayahs give good care to the children. We saw the toddlers eating lunch, feeding themselves, taking their plates to the sink to be washed and cleaning their hands. They were very happy and self-sufficient. All of the children that we saw looked healthy. We also got to meet the director and she took the time to talk with us and was very pleasant.

They gave my daughter a couple of gifts and a welcome home ceremony.
Tags from our thanksgiving Mexico trip are crumpled and still attached to the handles of our luggage that will NOT be finding their way back into the closet just yet. Look out Treya. Here we come!