Saturday, June 20, 2009

13/6 months—Memories

Duc in DaNang

This is probably my favorite image of us. I am so thankful we had Chennie and Grandma Chow with us. Chennie is a wonderful photographer (I think she does the photos for her friend’s weddings) and she has an awesome eye. This photos was taken during our very first breakfast together on December 20th. I love the way he is looking at me while I feed him congee. He was so small then, but still so mighty! He kept grabbing my bowl of pho so Grandma Chow took over feeding. I loved having her there and she kept me smiling. Although my mother was there, Grandma Chow kept telling me what to do. Go walk. Go eat. Go, go, go! She would pick him up and just walk off with him—sometimes through the hotel, sometimes to the beach. Although she doesn’t even weigh 80 lbs, she held him not like the 18 lb infant that he was, but as if he weighed nothing at all. He loved her and she loved him and I loved to watch the way they looked at each other. Even now, Duc is attracted to Asian women. Young Asian women he will flash a smile with twinkling eyes (oh, I am such a sucker for those twinkling eyes!). But older Asian women, well, they respond to each other in a way that I can’t understand. It’s amazing to watch. Even perfect strangers are drawn to him and he to them. There is something that is familiar to both of them that I will never fully understand. I did not noticed too many older nannies, at least none that were particularly drawn to Duc. Whatever it is, I enjoy watching it play out.

After meeting Duc on December 18th, our group proceeded to the grocery store in the mall. What an experience! It reminded me so much of being in Hong Kong—the strong smell of fresh (and not so fresh) fish, foreign spices and a co-mingling of various foods and household goods. I guess I am not much of a shopper. Diapers are diapers so I picked out ones that fit his kg size and picked up the formula and gao that the nannies told me he drank and ate. While the rest of our travel group debated on what kind of cereal, mom and I wandered over to the Vietnamese version of Starbucks. For the life of me I can not remember the name—can anyone help me out?

The others drifted in once they completed their purchase. Bits of conversation washed over me while I sat there enjoying my first Coke Lite since arrival. As you can imagine, it focused on our kids, our first meeting and the excitement of the day. I just sat there contended. Mom finally asked, “Aren’t you anxious? Don’t you wish you had him right now?” I was able to answer that for the first time in months (maybe years) I was content and at peace. I had met my son. We were going to be just fine. Of that I finally knew. I can’t even tell you how nervous and edgy I was before I met him. When Mom was doing the interview piece that the Today Show had requested, I spoke with tears in my eyes. Each time. I managed to get through the morning, but the closer we got to meeting Duc the more snappy with Mom I became. I was really nervous. This was it.

As the van pulled up in front of the orphanage I turned to Mom and said, “This is it. The time has finally arrived.”

She looked at me and said, “This moment will pass before you know it. It will pass in a second and this moment will be the past. Before you know it, months and years have passed. Enjoy this moment.”

And I did. It was magical and not the way I ever expected our first meeting to be like. I was so prepared for a scared child. For a clingy child or one that pushed me away and yet from the beginning I think we both felt familiar to each other. Even a few people in our travel group kept asking if I had other children. I was relaxed, he was relaxed. According to my sister I act as if I just had my fourth child, not my first. I just don’t get worked up over most things and neither did he. Some of the locals we encountered would ask if his father was Chinese (that’s a post for another time, but it has to do with most VN’ese thinking he is NOT Vietnamese and most Chinese think he is Chinese).

Our G&R was the next day, on Friday. We woke up early and we rode the bumpy road back to the orphanage. The babies were all sitting on the floor while the nannies finished getting them ready. Before I even crossed the threshold into the orphanage Duc had picked me out of the crowd of parents and began clapping and tried to crawl over to me. The nanny was still getting him ready so we waited—his eyes never left my face and mine didn’t wander either. I couldn’t wait to feel the weight of him again, the way he felt heavy in my arms, the way he rested all his weight against my chest. After a quick hug and kiss I turned him over to the nannies to say goodbye. It was hard, so hard to watch. One of them caught us as we were walking out and I let her hold him and cry. They had pressed a piping hot bottle into my hand the heat scorched even my fingers so I handed it off to my mom to save for later. We climbed into the van and he settled deep in my arms. He chilled from from his first experience with air conditioning and I wrapped in the sweater I had no intention of wearing. Within minutes he was asleep and he stayed asleep through most of his G&R.

IMG_0968-2 This set the precedent for the rest of our visit—every official visit he slept through! Afterwards I opted to return to the hotel and not return to the grocery store. Mom went off to exercise and left Duc to get to know each other.IMG_0979_edited-2I love this picture. He was hiding a smile behind his hands. Following naps for all—well, naps for Duc and Oma—I just journaled and stared at my son. We walked the grounds and talked with some of the locals. We sat on the beach and waiting for Chennie and Grandma C.’s arrival. IMG_1020-2

It was a beautiful day and my days since then have been filled with an immeasurable amount of beauty and joy.


Anonymous June 20, 2009 at 11:30 PM  

Highlands Coffee?

B June 21, 2009 at 9:45 PM  

I enjoy every second of reading your posts. I read long ago and then lost track of you through the "Vietnam is closing for the U.S." period of time and just recently found you through Kelli and Aiden. I'm so happy to be back and reading again...

We have a wee bit in common (well it seems more than a wee bit). The Vietnamese don't think my little guy is Vietnamese either...every day locals stopped us to share their opinion while we were in VN. In some ways our boys seem to have similar features?

Dave and Teresa June 22, 2009 at 8:59 AM  

What a happy, happy day.


About This Blog

This started as my story, but has evolved to OUR story. This is the story of life as a single parent to a wonderful little boy while we wait for baby sister. China LID 2.12.07.

But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.
Habakkuk 2:3

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