Thursday, January 25, 2007

One Year

One year ago, we were waiting nervously at the airport to meet our friends as they returned home with their new daughter.

Dear Lila,

It’s your new “Auntie Carrie” here introducing herself to you. Let me start in the beginning:

Your Mommy and I have been traveling in similar circles for almost all of our lives, but didn’t become friends until eight years ago. At that time, your big brother Braydon was just a little baby and McRae was only a little bigger. I was impressed with the way your Mom was so “put together” and she could actually put her baby down for a nap without loosing a good two hours of herself and have a pretty house all at the same time! She was superwoman and my first real grown-up mommy friend!

Over time, our friendship became stronger and stronger. We shared all of our joys and frustrations (lots of those since we were so new at the parent thing), bonded over walks, trips to the park and playtimes with the boys; who became three after Wyatt was born just before Braydon had his first birthday. We were busy moms attending preschool, helping at the preschool and going to meetings about the preschool. Let’s just say preschool was our life!

Time went on and eventually the boys all started “real” school. Yes, they were gone most of the day and we could join the land of the living, breathing, don’t forget shopping, coffee drinking mommies! That is when I became pregnant with Katie(although we didn’t know it was a Katie for a few more months).

I had always pictured myself having three children so I was pretty excited. Your Mommy and I always talked about having daughters together like it was a far-off dream, and now it was happening. And then I knew for sure, I was having a girl. I thought I’d won the lottery! But, I have to admit, I was a little worried because we had all of our boys (McRae, Braydon and Wyatt) so close together and they were older now, who would Katie have?

Your Mommy was such a good friend to me during my pregnancy (as if she had a choice!). I was a typical crazy pregnant person and not once did she make me think that I was being, well, difficult (and I know now that I was). She was always there for me. Katie was born on November 6, 2003. You were already 3 months old! She was a cranky little baby (I hope you were easier on your foster mother). We fell in love with her right away and even though she cried for most of the first four months, I knew that it would get better.

The year flew by and before I knew it, Katie was celebrating her first birthday! You turned one in August, right about the time summer turns on the heat around here. We were just getting back from our annual trip to Lake Chelan and counting the days until school starts.

The holidays came and went that year and Katie seemed overwhelmed and lost in all of it. I look back now at pictures of her, all alone, the only little one in a sea of big kids and I can’t wait for that to change.

In January, your Mommy and Daddy and Uncle Brett and I went on vacation in the Caribbean. We had so much fun and not long after we came home, your Mommy was “up” to something. There was a lot of conversation about adoption in general, and even a bunch of books and magazines casually left around to inspire more talk. I don’t remember the specific day, but I can’t explain how happy and excited I was when your Mommy told me that they were going to adopt a little girl from China. We had always talked about this, but never “for real” and now it was! And that’s when your Mommy’s “pregnancy” began.

I remember when I first saw your picture on the adoption website, how much you looked like Braydon. I thought your Mommy was moving too fast, but she knew better. She knew that you were hers and she had to move fast, really fast! It was amazing how organized she was (always is, that Superwoman thing again) and her whole world changed the day the agency told her that she, your Daddy and Braydon were chosen to be your family.

We watched the website picture change to read “I have a family” under your picture. It was like seeing an ultrasound of your baby’s beating heart for the first time. Then, your Mommy started to get more information about you and you grew in our hearts with every passing day. And through it all, your Mommy and Daddy kept right on track with the enormous amount of work that they had to do to prepare. They did it all. They were probably the most thorough and organized people the agency had ever seen. They had to get to China, and yesterday would not have been soon enough! They couldn’t wait to come and bring you home.

Now that time is almost upon us. Your Mommy and Daddy have everything ready to go and it is about a week from the time when I will say goodbye to them and your Brother Braydon at the airport. I hope the time goes by quickly. I will be thinking of you and your Mommy while you all are in China together. I will be so relieved when you are finally in her arms and you see how much she loves you. You are her daughter and she is coming to get you.

I have enjoyed every second of this journey with your family. I have learned so much about so many things by experiencing as much of this as I can with your Mommy (without getting in the way I hope!) I have a lot more to learn, but hopefully you will put up with me. I have been looking at your sweet face in the picture on my refrigerator since June, only moving it when a new one came to take its place.

Katie and the boys consider you a part of our family already and can’t wait to meet you “for real”. We are trying to learn a little of your language, but don’t want to confuse you with our jumbled version of it when we finally can meet you. We are filled with hope, happiness and excitement for your arrival and are counting the days (22 until we see you). I hope you will be excited to see us too, but I understand if you are not. We will be patient.

I am most excited for Katie and you to meet. She and I spend a lot of time talking about you and how she is going to share her toys with you. She tells me “I hold her”, meaning that she is going to hold you! She always tells me that you are “night-night” and “Shhhh”, and you probably are sleeping when we are having these conversations due to the time difference. She tries to talk to the waitress at the Chinese restaurant in Mandarin for you too. You can help her with this soon, as I fear that she isn’t getting it right either! She can’t wait to see you. And, silly as this sounds, it is as if she has been waiting for you all of her life.

Lila, my wish for you (just like one of the good fairies in the Sleeping Beauty fairytale which I will read to you someday) is Happiness. No one can imagine what the future holds for any of their children, but all anyone wants is for them to be happy. You are so beautiful already and have a wonderful twinkle in your eye; I know that your life will be full. It will be full of everything that makes a life good. I can’t wait to see what it will be . . .

With all of My Love,
Auntie Carrie

*Written last year and given to Linda on their departure to China.

Here we are with our girls (finally!) and no, like Linda said on her blog, the girls were wearing matching outfits on purpose, we were not!

Big brother Braydon showing Lila how to give the "peace" sign.

Their first hug!

Little Princess!

The best of friends!


Oh, The Joys said...

Aw! So sweet!

Christina_the_wench said...

Those girls are adorable. Wow.

Emma said...

This is so beautiful. My hubby just came over to see why I was crying and to check if I was ok! What an awesome friendship.

Mamacita Tina said...

How wonderful that the girls have each other! It was meant to be. What a wonderful letter you wrote to Lila, something she'll cherish all her life.

Lisa said...

Oh that is wonderful. Those pics are darling!

Left Coast Sister said...

You make me cry when you write like that. Your little ones and Lila too are so lucky to have you and your big heart around.

Jenny said...

I love this post so much!

Beautiful and touching.

Jenn said...

What a great letter! And adorable pictures!

jen said...

oh wow. honey. wow. what a lucky family, and a lucky little girl to have you for an auntie.

this is really beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I have to post anonymous. I want everyone to know I'M the lucky one to have a friend like Carrie. I really do not know where I would be without her.

Thank you again for the letter, and for making me cry before i left for China.



Kristin said...

Damn, Carrie, it's too early for me to cry!

mk said...

oh that was so sweet. Choked me up. I love the hug pic! Keeper!