Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Heart Letter, Month 60

Dear Lucy,

You turned 5 years old last week! F.i.v.e....FIVE!
I delayed your letter in order to include your birthday party which we had this weekend. And what a party it was! We had an illusionist come to the house and he put on a great show for you and your friends. In addition to the illusionist, you made it quite clear for months (MONTHS AND MONTHS) that you wanted a Frozen themed party. You would not be dissuaded so Elsa and company it was. Blue and white and pink reigned supreme and you couldn't have been more thrilled.

Right before your party, your daddy and I gave you your special gift from China. Remember that when we were in China, I went on a day-long shopping trip with Uncle Ry-Ry and Uncle Paul? Probably not as you were only 22 months old and didn't understand English! But I digress. So on that day I picked out one gift for each of your birthdays until you turn 18 and one for your high school graduation. This year's gift was a necklace with a jade pendant of an ox--the Chinese symbol for your birth year.
It made you happy.
Your birthday lasted a long time this year (much to Kate's dismay but that is a story for another time...). We celebrated as a family on your actual birthday, as well as celebrating at school.

You seem so grown up some of the time and then all of a sudden you are...not. But I have to say that this month you have been a pretty happy camper. You LOVE your birthday and all the attention, gifts and singing to you! It is so lovely to see you soaking it all in and reveling in your specialness!
This month was not all sunshine and giggles though as right before Thanksgiving, you, your sister and I were all felled by the flu. It was a miserable week and you seemed to have been hit the hardest. You got it first and your fever would not be cooled for several days. The only silver lining was that I got to spend 2 whole days with you asleep on me like you were in your toddler years.
We had a nice surprise this year for Thanksgiving as some dear friends we met in China visited from PA. We met Jodi and James and their daughter, Emara, as they traveled to get Adalah three years ago. Although she hails from a different orphanage/city in China, you both were adopted on the same day and both share cleft issues. You spent a little bit of time comparing lips and noses but mostly you were just happy to have another friend (and her siblings) to play with!

So much about you has changed since this time last year. You are much more confident and poised at school.
You can swing on the big girl swings all by yourself and you are not *quite* as messy in the kitchen when you help me cook.

Your language skills in both English and Chinese have increased and your writing has improved.
Your imagination has also grown by leaps and bounds. You spend a lot of time telling me what your China mom fed you, told you, or gave to you. I think you are just beginning to understand that your infancy was vastly different from Kate's and you are trying to normalize it by giving structure to what was a very fractured first 22 months of your life. You startled me, however, when you said this:

"I was the first one to get handed over (in the orphanage), to get you. Because I wanted a different mama, I wanted you. I picked you."

Not much is in your control as a now 5 year old and both you and Kate try in various and often infuriating ways to wrest that control from your beleaguered parents. But you do have control over how you imagine your life began and you are asserting that daily. So it is not surprising, now that I think about it, that you would imagine that you were the one who got to choose who would "get you". The alternative, the truth, that you were indeed handed over to complete strangers on a random day in September, is so much scarier.

I don't know what you wished for when you blew out your candles but my wish for you is that you will grow up knowing just how much you are loved.
Completely and without reservation, by your daddy and me and your China parents. I don't know the circumstances that led them to make the decisions that they made but I do know that somewhere in China on your birthday, there is another mother and father remembering you and wishing you happiness and love.

Happy birthday Lucy Xiangling. I wish you nothing but happiness and joy and this look on your face: the look of complete and utter joy that only Elsa and Anna and a rock candy ice castle can bring when you are turning 5 years old.

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