Two years ago today, in a land far, far away, the day began with AJ & I blurring through the morning. It wasn't that we were moving that fast -- we (and, I suspect, the other two families we were traveling with) were running on autopilot, our bodies just going through the motions of getting up, having breakfast, etc. while our minds kept sticking on a single subject. Today is Gotcha Day. Today we meet her.
I only have a couple of clear memories of the morning & early afternoon... After breakfast, I laid out all my still-damp-with-sweat cash (Dude, that was some climb up the Great Wall, wasn't it?) on a bed to dry while we sorted out what we were supposed to bring to the ministry building. Then, after lunch, the entire group circumnavigated the hotel property on foot, choosing the very real possibility of actually broiling in the sun over sitting with nothing to do except second-guess what would happen later that afternoon. I took a few photos, laughed (with everyone else) over the comments about how I'd sweat-warped my passport the previous day, and tried with very little success to not be nervous. I can't imagine how AJ was feeling at that point -- but I hadn't seen her grind her teeth or wring her hands that much in many, many years.
And then... there was another bus ride, and a building that was half hotel, half government ministry... small, hot elevators... a large room with old sofas and a few play items...
"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break."...and at exactly 3:33pm local time, the ends of an invisible red thread finally came together.
-- old Chinese saying
I'll refer you to my original posts about Gotcha Day for more of the events and emotions; suffice it to say that, special as the date already was (Dad's birthday -- his 80th, in fact) it has taken on immensely important new dimensions for the entire family.
One year ago today, we were finalizing the plans for a big double event the coming weekend: Miri's Naming ceremony (in which she was given her Hebrew name, formally joining the "family" of Jews everywhere) and Dad's big birthday bash, one year later & happier than originally planned. That quiet, nearly bald little baby we had met just 12 months earlier was well on the way to becoming a little girl, one whose bangs would shortly need to be trimmed for a second time... and who would get angrily jealous whenever anyone else would hug her Mommy without her permission.
Today hasn't really started for me yet... I got home from work around 2:00am again, fell asleep a while and suddenly popped awake around 7:00 for no obvious reason. (Dude, as long as you're awake, how about an updated blog post...?) I do know that as I waited for my microwave oven to tell me "food ready" I was looking at the shiny silvered plastic "princess" crown sitting on my kitchen counter. (It's actually a tiara, but the Pipsqueak refers to it as her crown.) The plastic snapped at a particularly narrow spot Saturday afternoon, and I brought it home with me for repairs after none of the glues Mom & Dad had available would hold it together. It's a silly, gaudy thing, with big blue "gemstones" in a pattern across the front, including a particularly large blue "gem" in the middle that flashes different colors for about 30 seconds if you press it -- and I guarantee you that the Pipsqueak pressed it many a time in the few hours she had the thing before it broke. She enjoyed the fake pearl necklace, the silvered plastic bangle bracelets, the shiny plastic clip on earrings (yep, you read that right -- big clip-on plastic earrings that she kept insisting I help her put on at age three)... but she was really unhappy when her crown broke, and reminded me about it again on Sunday. I explained the glue had to dry a little longer and she said, "Okay" but her expression added a question mark to her reply.