Four? FOUR? It can't be. We...we just met. In that hot, crowded room in downtown Guangzhou. November felt more like June. All these families, people we'd never met and would likely never meet again. All linked together. And all of us tied up in knots, our stomachs twisting in silent witness to "the moment" soon to come.
And then, suddenly, babies started appearing, carried one by one into the room where we were all gathered. Some were crying. Some blinking back the question of "what is this all about?" And then you. Tiny! Amazing eyes black and trembling. When mom took you (enveloped? reclaimed?) in her arms, your thumb already installed in your mouth, you slipped almost immediately into sleep. Was it fear or relief?
We had NO idea what we were getting into, did we? The three before you were very little help as far as that goes. They were just too easy. Or perhaps it's that we're just worn out by them, which matters not at all to you. Because you are so all that, aren't you? So all about the magic of the moment. And social! You've all the time got to be in the middle of everything! Every birthday is your birthday, or so it appears. That seems just right, somehow.
Did your birth parents have any idea what they were giving up, there by that old, broken fountain? What must that have been like, laying a baby you just gave birth to on the ground and walking away? What kind of heart break could that be? We'll hope to never know. We clutch you close everyday (even at 6am! C'mon, Ellie, sleep in!) and whisper "thank you" once again and always to a tender Father who watched over our little least sparrow.
Happy birthday, little miss magic. "What are you gonna be?"