May 19, 2009

So late, so soon...

“How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?”
~ Dr. Seuss

If you were someone who once said to me "don't worry - time will pass and soon this will all be behind you" - thank you - you were right. It is...

And if you once said to me "hang on to this moment, because it will be gone before you can blink an eye" - you were right. It is gone.

I know I was there - because I look at the pictures and I recall the sights and smells, and sounds...and feelings. I just can't believe it was a whole year ago. 365 days ago.

He's been with us longer than he was with his birth parents, longer than he was in custody of the police officer that found him, longer than he was cared for by his orphanage nannies. He's been a part of us, and with us, and living life with us for a year. Oddly, that sounds like a long time - but I know better. Because I've just lived that year...and it was infinitely shorter than I expected it to be.

And longer too.

Do you know what's hard about it? Running the gambit of emotions that this journey has provided - day in and out. Living for the here and now, and reaching for the future, and dragging my feet away from the past. Away from the baby gurgles, and the sweet smell of his new baby skin, and from the sweet laughter that he gave me that very first day while I reached out to take him for the first time. Slipping into the past - those little sounds he made, the way he reached up to be held, and the feeling of his little body snuggled against me.

He was everything I never knew I wanted. A boy. A boy! I was eating, breathing, and living for a little girl - and then he showed up and changed my world.

One day it was a seed in my heart - calling me to Africa - terrifying me. The next day, we were packing for our trip. The next day we were stretching out our arms to snuggle the most amazing baby boy we'd ever met.

And the next day, he was already home for a year. Already in our arms for a year.

So late, so soon...

There are days I look into his huge brown eyes, and my heart melts back to that day I reached for him. Looking into those same eyes, searching for our connection. And there it was...ready, willing to love me back - even though I had already commissioned myself to jumping in front of a truck to protect him. He was willing...loving me and letting me love him. More than I had ever hoped for in a son. In a child...

I've never been one to tell people only the good. I have to be transparent about the frailty that parenting my son has left me with. About wearing my heart around the tiny frame of a little boy. About wanting to hide in the closet on the bad days, and wanting to shout with love and joy on the good ones. About wanting to take every drop of him in, and sometimes, wanting to get in the car and keep on truckin'.

Still...he's here and he has been for a whole year.

So late, so soon...

And I'd like to think that in that time since I first took his hand and snuggled him close to me - that we've taught each other so much more than either of us expected.

He expected to be fed, bathed, and looked after. What he got was two parents who eagerly anticipate his every need. Who love and dote on him, who cherish and adore him. Who laugh with him, and sometimes even cry with him. Who hate to see him hurting, and love to see him smile. He got a family and in it, the comfort and security to become whoever he wants to be and to grow and change under the umbrella of our protection and profound love for him.

We expected to be parents. To get a baby and join the "Mom and Dad" club, and finally get to know what it's like to have a little one running around. And we did get that. But that is the surface of a very deep well of emotions and benefits. We finally understood the vast difference between loving yourself, and loving your child. We got unconditional love and a daily dose of heavy reality. We got a lifetime subscription to being the proudest parents to walk the planet. We got the sweetest smiles, kisses, hugs, and snuggles. We finally had our "aha" moment - finally understood - finally got it - this was what it meant to love someone so deep in your being you would do anything for them. All other love seemed to pale in the brilliant comparison of the love we have for him.

And loving him, and getting to know him is going by so fast. So fast it hurts sometimes. Hurts to have to say goodbye to the small stages of his budding life. To see him change so much - and knowing at the same time, that love and trust are what have given him such dramatic change in the past year.

And we've changed too. So much it's hard to believe. From a self-professed princess, to a struggling new mom - trying to find her way down the long rabbit hole of selflessness. Living for another person, and always trying to anticipate his needs before he even knows them. Loving him and putting my heart completely on the line to see him nurtured and growing.

People say "you're so brave", "what a great thing you did for him", "what a blessing to rescue him", "you're his heroes to come and save him from a life of being an orphan".

Can I tell you?

We're not heroes. We're selfish people who wanted to have children. Who wanted to have a family. Who wanted Christmas to be more than a ham and some presents we didn't even need. We're not brave. We didn't rescue him.

He rescued us.

And any adoptive parent out there can feel that sentence to the core of their being.

Adoption is not for the "strong" or for the "special family". Adoption is for anyone who understands that love means the extensive selfless giving of yourself. Extending grace, compassion, and understanding.

And when you do - you find that the great thing you set out to do for someone else, is really happening for you. To you.

He's the great thing - and he happened to us.

Thank God - thank God...thank God...

Just tears now...

You can read about our Gotcha Day for Quint by clicking the link below:
Gotcha Day


Kim said...

Love this post.. I sooo remember following your journey a year ago..
I remember feeling what you were feeling..
You are an amazing Mom and Quint is sooo blessed to have such Amazing parents.. and he is a blessing..
love his little smile..
Have a great evening..
love ya girly..
YOu have me in tears..

Valerie said...

You captured it perfectly. The fastest/slowest year of my life.

I looked at Lil Dude today...and he looked different to me, somewhere between yesterday and today his face has changed. I was excited to see him becoming who he will be, but that precious baby face is melting away from me.

We are all SO lucky.

Love V

julie said...

Beautiful post, beautiful journey. Thanks for sharing it with us, on this Gotcha anniversary.

Shannon said...

Fabulous post. Beautifully written.

Jodi said...

and I love the new doo!
How did Quint's speech eval go?

Briana's Mom said...

All I can say is "Wow." This is an absolutely amazing post. Beautiful, just beautiful.

Every word you say, I can say the exact same thing. Briana rescued me and Doug, that is for sure.

And time does seem to fly by. It will be two years in July that Briana was put in my arms. It doesn't seem possible.

Happy 1 year as a family. I can feel the love running through this post (actually the whole blog).

Kayce said...

Such a beautiful post Christie! Tears here too! I completely understand those feelings, they still are with me even after 14 years of mothering my son. What a blessing Quint is to you and you to him. Enjoy all the moments that life throws at you!!

Linda said...

Oh you did it again!!! Tears in my eyes. How do you capture what everyone feels so well. Although I did not adopt, my daughter has and Lauren is the best gift we could have been given. I can see in my daughters face all the love that is there. Our children give us so much if only we see and not be caught up in the hustle of life... Thank you for expressing it so well..... Linda

The Gang's Momma! said...

LOVE THIS POST! Happy one year to you all. "He rescued us." Hmmmmm, so true, so true. What a treasure we have in these children chosen for us. What a treasure.

Hugs to you - you made me cry again!

Unknown said...

Why? Why do you want me to cry all the time? You are such a great mom and writer

Kelly & Todd said...

What an absoultely WONDERFUL post. Congratulations to you on celebrating being home with your little man for an entire year. I'm so happy for all 3 of you. Enjoy the day!!

-- kelly :-)

blissfully caffeinated said...

"He rescued us" made me cry. It's so amazing how fast the time goes. Each year is like the blink of an eye. Beautiful post, my friend.

frogglet said...

What a wonderful post. Congratulations on your first year together.

Debbie said...

Wow! What an awesome description of the first year and becoming a parent.

Happy 1st Anniversary!!!!

Ani said...

What a beautiful post. So heartfelt and so true.
Thank you for sharing this with us, and happy Family day!

Eloise said...

What a beautiful essay and a wonderful testament to the love you have for your son.

I've followed your story since you went to Africa, and yet, I looked at the pictures from your Gotcha Day and thought, "Surely Quint wasn't that small. Where's all his hair?" I can hardly BELIEVE how much he has grown in just a year.

What a lovely family you have!


Luna said...

Beautiful post. Beautiful family.

meme said...

Oh my gosh, you made me cry again! You are so gifted and can write it so right. Such a beautiful year. I remember your Gotcha Day. Seems like only yesterday. Enjoy every minute for they ALL pass quickly.
From your Kentucky Friend - Linda

AW said...

Beautiful post! And so true, no matter how you become a momma!

S.Wise said...

This might be one of my favorite posts ever. :)

Sue said...

How said it perfectly. : )


Ruby's Fairy Godmother said...

Oh so lovingly written...thank you...I felt your words all the way thru my skin to my heart...thank you! Beautiful put!

Anonymous said...

Wow--you don't realize how much they actually change in a year until you have pictures right next to each other. He is sooo precious!!

sawheeler said...

What a great post...He looks so small in those gotcha day pictures; just like Noah (who is still pretty small)! Congrats on your first year - you all look so content!