Friday, January 19, 2007
In The Throws Of Birthdaymania
Yesterday Ava turned 5. I've known her for 4 years and 4 months. She is an amazing person. She is smart and confident and beautiful on the inside and out. She tells me that she loves me more than snakes or some other insignificant thing in our lives, I in turn tell her that love her more than polar bears or toys or oranges. It is a game we play to keep in touch emotionally. She started it.
Individual birthdays are not important in China, where she was born. Everyone turns another year as Chinese New Year approaches. Big deal birthdays are something she was adopted into, and she's not complaining. The party is tomorrow. Miss Extrovert 2007 is relishing every moment of the planning and preparations.
Every year on January 18th I look at her a little bit differently. I can't help it. She seems foreign to me. Forgive the pun, it is not meant to be flip. Most other days I just see her as my kid. I forget where she was born, I forget her silky black hair and quick mind came from people I don't know. I forget January 18th was given to her by someone working in an orphanage as her day several weeks after her birth. But on January 18th I remember all those things. Sometimes it makes me want to cry. I know it shouldn't matter. I know it's not even my story, but it is someone's I love and I can't help it. I know most of all it is a gift that I have the time and means to spend precious time pondering this phenomenon.
I know Chinese children who are adopted sometimes get estimated birthdays due to the circumstances their birth parents have upon relinquishment. I knew this when I signed up. But I knew it in my head, no one told me it might feel different in my heart. No one told me it still might still sting 4 years and 4 months later.
It is at this general time of year I think of a woman I don't know, in China. She gave me Ava. Sort of. I'd like to think she gave me Ava. But really, she didn't. It is something I sometimes pretend to make myself think that everyone wins in adoption. I hope she is ok. I have nothing witty or intelligent to make it seem like everyone got the outcome they wanted. I just don't have that information.
But she is 5. And she is amazing. And I love her. I hope that is enough for today.