There were a few surprises for me the first full day back Stateside. The first was that I found myself waking up in my own bed on the 24th; somehow my head hadn't quite caught up with events yet, and I'd spent so much time living out of a suitcase and moving between hotels that somewhat that had become normal and the "home stuff" was on the verge of becoming a memory. The second surprise was that I woke up at all on the 24th -- I was so tired that I'd honestly expected to sleep through the whole day! The next surprise was that I was really awake -- a little jet-lagged, maybe a little confused, not entirely sure of what time zone I was inhabiting -- but awake enough to be ready to get moving and run over to AJ's to "help" with the first family get-togethers with the Pipsqueak.
The next two surprises were a little less pleasant: somehow I'd forgotten about aaaaallllll that dirty laundry in my suitcase, and then as I left the house I discovered that driving felt a little strange. It was more than being driven around in buses for the previous two weeks; I had seen so much of Chinese driving that I had pretty much programmed myself to to think it was A Bad Thing to be doing. I don't think releasing the parking brake & steering a vehicle down the street has felt like that since Driver's Ed classes back in high school!
After two weeks of becoming steadily more attached to the Pipsqueak, I had actually worried that I wouldn't like "sharing" her with the rest of the family -- but it took me all of about 15 seconds to begin really enjoying the sight of Mom & Dad connecting with their new granddaughter and put those (in retrospect kinda dumb) thoughts behind me. When Miri fell asleep in her Grandma's arms for the first time... Well, let's just say I had to remind myself to take the picture (one I'd been hoping to be able to take for quite a while). My folks and I had spent so much time discussing how worried we were about the effect of the waiting & paperchasing on AJ that I had almost forgotten how much they were being hurt by it -- there wasn't any sharing going on, we all "belonged" to each other and Miri was as much a part of that as the rest of us.
It felt good for all of us to be talking to each other in person, able to exchange hugs and watch each other reacting to the Pipsqueak's antics with the phone being ignored in the kitchen and the only "laptop" in sight being the one that magically appeared when we sat down & disappeared when we stood back up. Eventually the jet lag began to catch up, and it was time for everyone to head for their respective beds (and cleanups, and laundry... <sigh>). I quickly realized it was going to take a little time to get used to the feeling of being alone at home again, of not always having someone on hand to share comments & observations with, or of keeping the Pipsqueak in sight 24x7... but it felt good to have Mom & Dad close at hand, to be able to read & understand all the signage I saw, to not worry about what I ate or drank (with the exception of one forgotten package of something... now green & fuzzy... left in a back corner of my refrigerator), to not feel like I was sticking out like a sore thumb...
Yep, I was home. And "home" really was. :-)
My niece joined the family on July 12th, 2010. This special young lady's mother is my younger sister, which in classic Chinese culture makes me her Jiu Jiu (舅舅-- thus the title of this blog. Here I intend to semi-regularly post reflections, thoughts, stories, and assorted whathaveyous pertaining to our trip to China, adoption in general, and (mostly) watching my niece grow up. Since the web is a very public place, I will attempt to maintain my family's privacy while telling the story... but I invite you to follow the blog and come along for the adventure!