Same clothes - same post
Happy Forever Family Day 2012
Fulfilling a yearning that I held so deep, I picked her up out of her crib and our eyes met. Holding her seventeen pounds of baby roundness in my arms for the first time felt so foreign - a sensation that I always gracefully dodged when other mothers offered their new babies to me. I guess one could say I was saving myself for this moment - to hold and caress my own daughter. That was five years ago today.
In the days following our first embrace, those clumsy feelings of caring for her were slowly replaced by the kind of confidence and responsibility that only a mother knows as I deciphered her likes and dislikes about everything from how to hold her, feed her and what sort of crazy antics would conger a smile. Mother. I had become one, and though it didn't come in the form of a degree from a chosen university, I was learning at an alarming rate through life experience as I was mesmerized and captivated by her every move. For months time stood still.
Over the course of five years, my parenting comfort level has grown as each new phase of development has eased into and out of our lives together - each one becoming a little easier to navigate. I would never suggest that I've taken motherhood or parenting for granted, but with her age has come a more mature and self sufficient girl who needs less from me everyday. Whistling, catching her first fish, riding a bicycle, making her bed, reading and writing were all achieved with little to no help from me.
In fact, our days have become so busy, this Forever Family Day sneaked right up on me. My memories are still vivid and dear, but I dwell on them less often now. It is not because this day is not important or any less of a miracle to me, but though we built our family through adoption, the key is we are now a busy and thriving family and time no longer stands still.
Just when I figured I had it all sort of figured out, history repeats itself. Dropping her off at Kindergarten this year brought with it a bit of that nostalgic feeling of uncertainty reminiscent of when we first met. No longer under my wing on a daily basis, that foreign feeling has come rushing back as I watch her face 5 year old struggles and I once again, have to learn yet another facet of motherhood - helping her navigate more independently , desperately wanting to make things come easily. Where once I searched for the answers to fulfilling her basic needs including how to diaper her, now I am faced with how to handle the cutting of one's own hair, making and trusting new friends, telling the truth and understanding the importance of listening to authority figures. Looking into her eyes with the first bottle I'd ever fed to a child, thoughts of these recent days were incomprehensible, but these uncharted waters have served as a wonderful reminder of how remarkable our journey together has been thus far, and how much I have yet to learn from someone so young and small.
As was suggested by a dear friend today, in the next five years she will be nearly 11, another five, and she will be driving and in another 5, she most likely will be calling ME to celebrate this anniversary, no longer living full time at home. So it seems these times of growth and discovery that began at our first meeting, will continue to resurface over and over again. It is this reality that makes my head dizzy. How can this be? I can still so clearly recall returning from ISRC in Calcutta, laying Devi on our bed in the hotel and staring at this beautiful child that had just entered my life and having Pat turn to me and say, "what do we do now?"
I guess we continue to take things one day at a time and on this day we turned to tradition. After school the family went to Gateway to India for dinner to celebrate our forever family day AND the anniversary of Treya's adoption which was finalized on September 16th. She has legally been a Ross for a whole year. That too, sends my head spinning, unable to keep up sometimes with the passing of time. After dinner we told the story of how we first met Devi and how Treya sat at the pulpit with the judge, her arm still in a pink cast. A family photo and ice cream rounded out our evening. Pausing at lights out, I couldn't help but stare a little longer at these two sleepy-eyed precious souls. Though time has passed, it is pretty amazing how far we have come, from standing crib side holding our baby daughter for the first time to today, living this crazy, but very real life. Happy Forever Family Day!