Six years ago, today, Gabriel and I flew from Los Angeles to Detroit, after spending a week in California, visiting family and friends and attending my cousin's wedding.
It was the first time Gabe had ever been on an airplane.
It was otherwise an uneventful day, as far as we knew then.
Six years ago today, in a city on the South China Sea, a woman whose name means "Jade Lotus" gave birth to a baby girl and she gave that baby girl a name that means "Jade Orchid". She stayed with her for one week, before taking her to an orphanage and asking them to care for her, because she did not have the means to do so herself.
I think the fact that she gave her baby a name so close in meaning to her own meant something of tremendous importance to her. I have to believe she chose that name with a great deal of care.
My feelings about this woman, Jade Lotus, have often been conflicted. And I think the reason for my conflict stemmed not from the actions of Jade Lotus, but rather from the difficulty I had in becoming the mother of Jade Orchid.
Becoming the mother of Jade Orchid was not easy for me. It was a road filled with potholes and switchbacks and, many times, as I began walking on that road, I stumbled and I did not think I could get up again and keep walking ~ because it was so hard. And in its difficulty, I did not have kind feelings about Jade Lotus.
But, that bumpy and difficult part of the road is far behind me, I am no longer becoming Jade Orchid's mother. I am her mother. She is no longer becoming my daughter. She is my daughter.
And in the transforming from the becoming to the being, I have come to feel something towards Jade Lotus that is not conflicted, but, merely simple.
I am grateful.
I am grateful for this little girl, who came into our family in such an unusual way, who, by all rights should have joined another family years earlier. I am grateful for this child who smothers me with kisses and sings me songs and tells me funny stories.
I am grateful, that six years ago, Jade Lotus made a choice to bring this child to the world. I am grateful that she gave me the opportunity to become this child's mother.
And if I could say anything to her today, it would be, thank you. Thank you for this beautiful child, and her beautiful name.
Jade Lotus, where ever you are today, I hope you know that Jade Orchid is safe, and loved, and that she is, above all things, joyful.
Happy Birthday to my beautiful, beautiful Lana, who woke up this morning with a smile on her face, and a blissful announcement that "Today is my BIRTHDAY!" It sure is, baby girl, it sure is.