You turned one yesterday. It was probably just like any other day to you, right? I keep telling myself that parties for one-year-olds are really for the parents, and that babies have no concept of what it means to turn one. When I say that, it makes it a little bit easier.
When we were waiting for Rose, her first birthday was a psychological milestone for me. While we were waiting for our official approval, I just kept telling myself, "it needs to come so we can get her home for her first birthday." And then when it looked like it might take longer, I revised that strategy, "Please, just let us have her with us by the time she turns one." As it turns out, she was home for two weeks before her birthday.
But we first learned about Rose when she was five months old, and our paperwork was already in China, so the "approximately six month wait" clock started ticking right away. You were ten months when asked the Chinese government if we could become your parents, and our paperwork still has two or three weeks before it will be done. And then that six month clock starts ticking. There was no way we would have your first birthday-- we knew that when we started all of this.
Since first birthdays are for the parents and siblings, we decided we'd still party in your honor. You weren't here to blow out your candles, so your five older brothers and sisters each blew out a candle for you. You weren't here to open your presents, so everyone else in the family opened a present as your proxy.
You got some clothes and some baby toys, and if we can keep Rose out of the toys, they'll be here when you get home.
You weren't here with us, sweet Eli, but you've definitely worked your way into our hearts. Sometimes I think that the pain of waiting for you is part of what binds us to you.
And when you turn two, we'll celebrate. In a big way.