Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A letter to Rose- October 25

Dear Rose,

Tomorrow it will be a month since the first time we saw your beautiful face. It's hard to believe it's only been a month, because it feels like forever. We're completely adjusted to the idea of having you join our family, and if we could jump on a plane tomorrow to go get you, I'd do it without a second thought and I think I'd feel like we had most of what we needed to welcome you into the family. The hard thing is that we probably won't actually travel to see you for another four months.

Mimi has been staying with your Aunt Jilly, watching your cousin Sammy while she's at work. So nearly every day I get an update on Sammy. He's playing with his gym, he's trying to turn over, he's grabbing things, he loves taking walks in the morning. Sammy is just a couple months younger than you are (we're very lucky that you have two cousins, Reuben and Sammy, who were born in May and July, so you have built-in playmates), and on the one hand, I imagine you, all the way over in China, doing the same things. They mentioned in your referral papers that you really liked playing with the toys in the baby gym, so I know that's something you do. On the other hand, I think of the time that Aunt Jilly and Uncle Carl have with Sammy, smiling at him and carrying him around and just enjoying him, and it's hard to think that you need and crave the kind of love I so want to give you.

I spent this weekend up in Idaho with a bunch of girlfriends. We try to get together every year, and a few years ago, Maren and I slept on the floor of a room with about ten other women. The sleeping arrangements were great, but it was really fun to get together with so many friends. This year, we stayed in a lodge where we were completely pampered. I got a massage and a pedicure and every time we turned around someone was giving us delicious food, made from scratch. At the end of the weekend, we were all talking about coming again next year, and as much as I love getting together, I knew it was something I couldn't commit to.

You see, the lodge has a strict "no kids" policy, which I totally get-- we went up there to get a break from motherhood. If we went again next year, you'd be a year and a half, and by the time your older brothers and sisters were that age, I didn't feel too much guilt about leaving them overnight. But one thing I've learned is that we'll need to interact with you based on your "family age." So even if you're ten or eleven months when you come home, you'll be a newborn according to your "family age." I didn't spend the night away from any of my babies when they were under a year, and I don't plan to leave you for one night, let alone three nights, the first you're home either. I imagine that my friends, many of whom have kids who are quite a bit older than you'll be, might get sick of me packing you around in your baby carrier or toting you around on my hip everywhere we go.

But I think that as important as it is to get you into a home and get your physical needs taken care of, my most significant challenge in the upcoming year is going to be to get you to feel connected to us as your family, to feel like our home is a place of safety for you, to feel like you can love us back as much as we love you. I'll be honest-- it's going to stretch me. Your brothers and sisters are older-- they don't need me in the same way that they used to, and getting back to the 24/7 kind of mothering will be a challenge. But I'm up for it if you are.


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