Thursday, March 15, 2007

It's our second anniversary . . .

. . . as a family of three! It was two years ago today that Maya became a permanent part of our family. It is also Maya’s half-birthday – she is officially 3-and-a-half today! This morning, Zoe and I sang her “Happy Half-Birthday To You,” and we all sang “Happy Family Day To Us,” coincidentally to the same tune!

Traditionally, the half-birthday girl (and the gotcha-day girl) gets to pick where we go out to dinner to celebrate, and I have the feeling that Maya is going to pick McDonald’s. I’ve always sworn to avoid McDonald’s in China, but it is, after all, tradition!

How astonishing that it has only been two years together – as clichéd as it sounds, I really can’t remember a time when Maya wasn’t part of our family. From the beginning, we needed her to make our family complete. She is the adored baby sister, and definitely Mama’s baby! I know I baby her more than I did Zoe at this age – for one thing, Maya will let me, and Zoe at this age was far too interested in growing up than in being a baby. And it is always Mama’s prerogative to baby the youngest child, right?

Zoe and Maya have been in love with each other from the start, and if it’s a choice between Mama & Zoe, Maya will pick Zoe every time. But I still get all the cuddles, because Zoe won’t sit still long enough to cuddle. And I get to hold Maya’s hand on the walk to school, since Zoe is far too busy running ahead of us. At least, I get to hold Maya’s hand when she isn’t running to imitate big sister. Today they were butterflies who morphed into cheetahs chasing deer before transmogrifying into “Hallie & Schuyler,” two girls in a book Zoe is reading – all within 15 yards.

Maya loves to cuddle, and has been a cuddler from the beginning. Even when she was grieving for her foster mom, and the only family she had ever known, she would come to me for comfort. It broke my heart the first time I held her, and she looked at me and said, “Mama?” I knew she wasn’t asking about me, she wanted to know where her foster mom was. I couldn’t tell her that, all I could do was hold her as she cried.

But it didn’t take long for her true happy-go-lucky personality to shine through. If you ask her what she wants to do on any given day, and she’ll tell you she wants to “plaaaay all day!” She’s an amazing mimic, loves music and ballet, and would sit on the couch and watch videos all day if I’d let her. For all her sunny disposition, she is also a world-class sulker – that lip sticks out, that head goes down, those feet drag . . . . and then the huff is over and she’ll smile up at me and say, “I’m not mad at you ANY MORE!” At least, not until the next time!

And how special to be back in China for this anniversary of meeting in China. We really look forward to going back to Nanning, meeting Maya’s foster parents again, and going to Mother’s Love Orphanage and Guiping Social Welfare Institute where Maya and Zoe spent the first months of their lives. I think everyone will be happy to see how those babies have grown into beautiful, smart, loving girls.


mimifrancoise said...

Oh, I remember taking this picture. It was such happy day. When I look at it I still feel the emotions. Yes, it does feel like she has been with us from day one. We are so lucky to have Maya (and , of course, Zoe).

The Miller Family said...

Happy Anniversary and 3 1/2 birthday Maya! What a blessing to have such a loving big sister and Mama, Maya. Enjoy your big day.

Darcy.. .who is enjoying your journey to Xiamen, thanks for sharing it.

Vicki Leihgeber said...

Happy Forever Family Day and 3 1/2 birthday to Maya! I remember this well, since I was anxiously waiting for 2 more weeks to travel to get Allysa. These two years have truly flown by! Enjoy your special anniversary in China. I'm really enjoying your adventures.