Thursday, February 21, 2008

Is it really EIGHT years?

The calendar tells me that it really is February 21, 2008, and I'm having one of those "where has the time gone" cliche moments of motherhood.

It was eight years ago this morning that we first met our little man Gabriel, who came to us scrunch-faced at exactly 10:00 AM, weighing in at 7 lbs, 7 oz.

I had a moment of angst the other day, when, having purchased him some new long sleeve shirts (size 10! Good grief his arms are getting long), Husband came into our room and said, "his new shirts don't fit on his hangers."

This seems like such a little thing, but, it means THAT HE NEEDS GROWN UP SIZE HANGERS. No more baby hangers. BIG REGULAR SIZE HANGERS for my baby's clothes.

Is it pathetic that this bothers me?

Last night I was telling Gabe the story of his birth (the highly sanitized version which is minus the blood and the screaming and the swearing like a sailor at the unknown doctor who was grabbed out of the hallway to come in and deliver him), and I had gotten to a key point in the story, the point at which my then-five-year-old-niece laid her head against my ginormous belly and started whispering, her mouth flush against my sweater. And when I asked her what she was saying, she looked up at me and said, "Aunt G~, I am telling that baby it is time to come out now!"

(After which, she also looked from me to her own mother, my sister, who was pregnant as well and said, "is my mom's belly going to get as huge as yours?" (No, I am not making that up, not even a little.) And considering the fact that my sister is an adorably petite 5-ft-tall tiny person, and I am a 5'7" Viking-lady, I assured her that it was impossibly unlikely that her mother's belly would get as huge as mine. And it didn't. Not once. Even though she's had FIVE babies.)

Anyway, I had gotten to the part where I went into labor only 4 hours after my niece J~ had whispered into my stomach that it was time to come out, when Lana piped up,

"What about me, mommy? What about ME!!??!!"

Oh, the crushing and irrational guilt that consumed me! I have no story to tell her about the night she was born. I cannot even tell her if it was night or day or raining or windy or gloomy or sun-shiny. Nothing. Nada. I got zip. Zero. Zilch. No information.

I have told the story of Gabe so many times that it is like second nature to me - and the little details are important (Husband had a fever of 103, I went to the grocery in a snow storm, the bit about my niece, and how we were watching an episode of The X-Files when we left for the hospital and how it's the only episode of the X-Files we have never seen all the way through*), but, even though I have been telling all of YOU the story of Lana for the last two years, I have not been telling it to HER.

And, well, let's face it, the past year has been a lot about getting to know each other, and her learning English, we haven't exactly had a ton of time to build our shared history, the story of 'us'.

I have yet to tell Lana the story of how, on the day we learned she was our daughter, we were swimming in the backyard when the phone rang, and a woman named Abbie, on the other side of the country, told us "Congratulations!" I have not told her of how I took the tracings of her feet with me to Frankenmuth, Michigan at Thanksgiving in order to buy her the perfect pair of shoes, and how I got excited to buy lace trimmed anklet socks to go with them. I have not told her of how her grandmother and I packed and repacked her suitcase 3 times on the night before Husband and I left for Vietnam, or how the lady at the Northwest counter in Detroit wished us "good luck with your daughter" when we checked in for our flight. I have not told her that I was nervous to meet her, or what I was thinking when I first saw her.

I have a good story, a compelling story, (really, it is a good story) to tell Lana. I need to work out the details, to get them right, to perfect the story of 'us'.

It may not ultimately be the story she is craving, it may not be the story that she wants. The time may come when she decides she needs to know the rest of her story, and I worry that she may never be able to find it. I worry about this, that no matter how compelling and interesting and humourously told, the story I have to tell her...may not be the story that she NEEDS. But, I will do my best, to craft a story for her, as carefully as I have woven the story of her brother, and I will weave those stories together, and I will hope for the best...


*It was episode 7.12, an episode entitled "X-Cops", and Mulder and Scully were followed around by the film crew of a "Cops" style show - I honestly think that episode only aired that one time, because I have NEVER seen it advertised, anywhere, as a re-run.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

First things first: HAPPY BIRTHDAY GABRIEL! And y'know, the hanger thing gets me too.

I'm still working on Zeeb's story too. I don't know why, but the telling is awkward for me. I started telling R her story when she was about 3 and now we have it down pat... but then hers is a lot less complicated than his.

Thursday, February 21, 2008 6:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mia's Mommy said...

I can relate to the big hangers. I had the same reaction with my second child, who btw, needed the big hangers a good two years before my oldest one had graduated from the little ones. The other night, I got all weepy just thinking that my oldest is going to college next year. sigh...they do grow up, which is a good thing, but hard to swallow at times.

You know, none of my children have ever really wondered about their birth stories, but I have a suspicion from watching my third one's reaction to adopting Mia that the more I reveal to Mia her story they more curious he'll be. But he seems to be the only one with any interest.

You do have a great story with Lana! It'll come and it will fill at least some of what she's looking for. You'll do a great job!

Thursday, February 21, 2008 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger Mia's Mommy said...

OH, sorry, Happy Birthday Gabriel!

Thursday, February 21, 2008 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger mam said...

I think, given how thoughtful and caring and loving you clearly are as you begin to build your "when we learned about you" story, it's entirely likely that Gabriel will become jealous that HE doesn't have one of those, too.

Thursday, February 21, 2008 10:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh man you totally made me cry.

Friday, February 22, 2008 3:21:00 AM  
Blogger maxhelcal said...

Happy Birthday Gabe!

I think Lana has a great story. Don't second guess it. All my children have wonderful and DIFFERENT stories. All very much their own. Doesn't matter if it's from the moment they were born or the moment we knew they would be our child. I remember exactly what I was doing and how it happened in very great detail for each of our 7 children. It's the beginning of a life not just a birth of a person. Maybe it's just me but I don't feel awkward talking about it at all and either do the children so far. None of them are saying they miss their birth moms or feel less important somehow because they were born to someone else. They just love to hear "thier story".

Anyway, I wish someone would have gone half way around the world for me. Kinda a great story don't ya think?

...and I agree with "Mam", my older children think it's very cool. They experienced first hand that initial "connection" to our children all of the emotions of wanting your child home so bad.


Friday, February 22, 2008 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger La Turista said...

Peach turned 8 in December, and I agree - the time has flown! And we're past the baby hanger size, but I don't want to accept that, so I just remind myself not to curse everytime I have to pick up a shirt that's slid off the baby hanger.

And, as far as Lana's story, the great thing about having a big brother is that he can add his own memories of when he found out about his little sister and the early days of getting to know her. How special is that?!

Friday, February 22, 2008 11:27:00 AM  

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