Sunday, June 27, 2010

I Can Give Her Luke

When you adopt a child, you accept the fact that there is a part of his or her life that you will never know about. You will never see.

For me that part was thirteen months long. Three hundred ninety six days of Molly’s life that went on without me. I didn’t get to comfort her first cry. I didn’t get to feed her the first bottle. I didn’t get to watch her learn to roll over, sit up, crawl or pull her self up to a stand. I don’t know who got to do or see these firsts, or even when they happened.

I've accepted that. It’s part of adoption.

The thing that makes it difficult for me is that Molly will never know these things either. I can never tell her how old she was when she first smiled or who she smiled at. I can’t show her pictures of herself getting her first bath, playing with her favorite toy, or many other things from her first thirteen months.

That’s hard. Really, really hard. There are so many questions that I can’t answer for her and it breaks my heart (crying even as I write these words).

I think that is why I cling so tightly to the things from Molly’s past that I can share with her. And one of those things is not a thing at all. It is a person. A very special person. Luke.

Luke and Molly slept side-by-side in the orphanage. They were together the thirteen months for which I have no answers. They shared a time with each other that I wasn’t fortunate enough to see.

I can’t give Molly so much information. I can’t show her so many keepsakes form her past. I just don’t have them. But I can give her Luke.

Lucky for Molly (and for me!) I do know Luke’s family. They are amazing people whom I love dearly. I know where Luke lives. He and his family live many states away but amazingly, they only live blocks away from my sister. Blocks away. How miraculous is that? Every time we visit my sister, we visit Luke and his family.

When Luke and Molly are together, the time they’ve spent apart seems to disappear. They don’t need time to warm up or get to know each other all over again. They simply take one look at each other and run off to play together.

And I feel so happy that at least I can give her this part of her past.

Here are some (okay, a lot) of pictures of our last visit with Luke and his family.

“Hey, Molly! Look at this!”IMG_2470

“Let’s put stuff in the sink and see if we can wash it down the drain. Don’t tell my mom, though. I get in big trouble for this. Especially when my toys get ground up in the garbage disposal.”IMG_2473

“That's pretty cool, Luke. But I got something to show you!”IMG_2474

“First you take a big mouthful of food. Chew it up really well….” IMG_2475

“…and then you open your mouth and show everyone. I get in big trouble for this!”IMG_2477

Road Trip!IMG_2483

Friends swinging together.IMG_2534

Even better…spider swinging!IMG_2546

Nope…it doesn’t get any cuter than this!IMG_2554

Well, okay…IMG_2566

…maybe it does! IMG_2568

Reenactment of the noodle scene from Lady and the Tramp. IMG_2572



  Lounging with our moms...IMG_2586

….and wrestling with brother Mark.IMG_2590  Yep, at least I can give her Luke.

And that’s a pretty good thing to give.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Happy Fatheversary

Last Sunday, June 20th, Tony and I celebrated our 12th Anniversary. I can’t begin to explain how this wonderful man won my heart so many years ago and how he continues to win my heart every single day. He is, without a doubt, one of the best things that has ever happened to me (before Molly, he held this honor all alone…now he shares it with her!).

One of the qualities that attracted me to Tony was the fact that kids loved him. Nieces, nephews, friends’ children—they all flocked to him whenever he walked into a room. I knew that if we ever  had children, they would be the luckiest kids in the world.

How appropriate it was that the day that I celebrated my marriage to Tony, Molly celebrated his fatherhood.

Molly’s entire face lights up the moment he walks in the door. She adores him. And he adores her.

He is the person that makes her laugh uncontrollably. He will take her anywhere and do anything that she wants—even play princess. Oh, yes he does!

He stands next to her as a protector, a provider, and a daddy (not every father achieves this high status).

She knows she has him wrapped around her finger and he doesn’t mind it one little bit!

Last year we began a tradition of making Daddy a stepping stone. This year we continued the tradition because it wouldn’t be much of a tradition if we only did it once.

Here is Molly hard at work, crafting the stone:IMG_2631 IMG_2632IMG_2639IMG_2640IMG_2643

Molly was so excited to give Daddy the Father’s Day present she had made. By the huge smile on Tony’s face I thinks it’s obvious that he was excited, too. IMG_2651  What? You don’t see the huge smile? Trust me, it’s huge. Monumental even. This is the man who I had to tell to smile for each and every wedding picture. He gave this one without me even asking! And yes, he smiles all the time in real life, just not so much in pictures.


Molly couldn’t wait for Tony to put the stone in the garden.IMG_2658

Wow, there’s that huge smile again! IMG_2660

This year’s stepping stone:IMG_2661(Wo ai ni means I love you in Chinese.)

Last year’s and this year’s stone in an aesthetically pleasing display for your viewing pleasure.IMG_2668

And in other happenings ….

This is for my Dad in Colorado who is always fascinated by the Midwest's mulch consumption.

Here’s the mulch pile, Dad, pictured alongside the apple of your eye--for comparative purposes. There are three yards, to be exact. Not enough though..we will get more next week.IMG_2644



And in case you care, I tried to spread as little mulch as possible worked hard all day. What thanks did I get? I got bit on the chin by a mosquito. Here’s a picture of the ‘astonishing’ (Tony’s word) reaction.IMG_2647

And this is before it got really big. An hour later it had doubled this size. It looked like an egg was sitting on the right half of my chin (left side of this picture for those of you who are now looking at the wrong side and are not seeing the grotesquely disfigured section of my face).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Big Colorado Vacation Post

Big, because there are lots of pictures. Lots and lots of pictures!

Over Memorial Day weekend, Molly and I headed out for our annual pilgrimage vacation to Colorado. Lots of time with family, lots of time with friends, lots of activities, very little free time.

Surprisingly, I found myself at various events without a camera. As a result, I don’t have pictures of everything we did. *gasp*

No worries, I will just fill in the voids with the extra pictures of the events where I did have a camera (and took plenty of pictures). That should keep my Mom and Dad happy.

We started the big vaca with a trip to the splash park on Memorial Day.IMG_2363

After a little splash, Molly put on clothes and headed to the park.IMG_2378

But wait, she wasn’t done yet! Later that day, we went to a BBQ. Molly loved hanging out with the kids on this trip. Never mind that the kids were often 10-15 years older than her!IMG_2384

Another highlight of the trip was a visit to Heritage Square. This is a place I visited as a kid, but now they added amusement park rides.

Here we are making our plan of attack for the afternoon.IMG_2385

Most of the rides were pint-sized. Molly was big enough to ride them, but not big enough to ride them alone. So that meant that I got to accompany her on almost every one.


Here’s the Scrambler…IMG_2387

and the paddle boats…IMG_2391

and the tea cups…IMG_2407

and the flying banana ride.IMG_2419

Wait, the fun is not over yet. We still had to ride the alpine slide…IMG_2428

        and the roller coaster.IMG_2445Remember how I said the rides were pint-sized?  Here’s the evidence. Check out how much room I have for my knees. We road this torture device ride four times.

My daughter is a true adrenalin junky. She loved all of the rides, and the more they spun, the more she loved them. Me, not so much anymore. I was sick to my stomach before we left the park. Seriously.

Luckily, before dinner my stomach settled down. I say luckily because we met my parents at the Elephant Bar for dinner. And they were paying. I’d hate to miss a free meal.

Molly loved this elephant in the restaurant so much that everyone had to pose for a picture with her and the elephant. Here’s Ryan…IMG_2453and Grandma and Grandpa…  IMG_2455and Aunt Shell.IMG_2456

We spent lots of time with Molly’s Dongguan cribmate, Luke. Here’s a sneak peak picture. You’ll get an entire Luke and Molly post soon. But suffice to say, there was cuteness o’plenty!IMG_2487

Molly never missed an opportunity to pose like a princess.IMG_2516


And she wanted her picture taken with everyone (who was awake) on the day we left. Here’s Uncle Jeff…IMG_2598 and Aunt Shell…IMG_2602 and cousin Stephanie…IMG_2603and Grandma….IMG_2599and Grandpa.IMG_2604

One the way home we changed planes in Minneapolis. Molly was so excited to see Daddy that she was jumping for joy in the airport.

She made me take a picture with my phone and send it to Daddy so he could see how excited she was. I don’t know what it is about this age, but Molly wants pictures of everything.IMG_2607

Including this Coyote pup statue at the airport!IMG_2609

Eleven days of fun, fun, fun.

Molly slept 13 straight hours for the first 4 nights we got home. Do ya think she had a good time?

I think so, too!