Four years ago, a two-year-old walked into the upstairs room of a government building in southern China and changed our lives. Those years seem like a whole lifetime. Not because they have been difficult, but because they have helped to define my life, a life that would be incomplete and gray without her.
We celebrated Lily's Gotcha Day anniversary yesterday. I asked her what she wanted to do to celebrate her special day and she requested to walk the dog to the park. So that was certainly high on our priority list. "And open presents." Well, it is like having two birthdays when you celebrate such an important day as becoming part of a family. Much to Seth's dismay, who is NOT happy right now that he was born in mommy's tummy and his Gotcha Day and birthday are on the same day. "I NEVER get a Gotcha Day," he cried. It's been a rough weekend for him with all the attention Lily has gotten. I've been extra patient and cuddly with him.
Lily and I also went to the salon to get haircuts together, her first salon visit. We went from all one length to short bob with bangs for her, and a haircut that wasn't quite what I had in mind and feels much too short for me. Lily's looks adorable! She looked at herself and said, "I'm a Japanese girl!" Her cut does accentuate her beautiful Asian features. I wonder if she thinks Japanese is more Asian than Chinese.
I do know that she has to work hard to find her unique place in this world. I do everything I can to guide her on her own personal journey. Not an easy job for a white mom and dad with three white sons and one Asian daughter. We met a Korean family at the playground this week. She really wasn't overly interested. Should I be concerned? I can only offer her opportunities and choices, and it's her own job to find her own path among them. I will be with her every step of the way.
Later yesterday, we all went out for dinner at our new favorite Chinese restaurant, China Garden, the same name as our favorite restaurant in Michigan. A little taste of what used to be but no longer feels like home. Not only did we celebrate Gotcha Day but Chinese New Year as well. There are no local festivities in our corner of TX, so we just spent the day with our own little family.
We also gave Lily a few gifts consisting of several books about China and children in China and the *last* silk dress that we purchased for her when we were there. I guess it's time to go back. I would jump at the chance, believe me.
Happy Gotcha Day, sweet Lily. You are a gift in every perfect sense of the word. You are amazing, and I hope someday to be as brave and smart and beautiful as you are. We love you!