In celebration of Mother's Day later this week, I invite you to indulge in a little momlove, a series of guest blog posts by the best of the best. I've invited some of my very favorite blogger moms to share a little bit of their wisdom and experience here.
Meet my friend Martha.
Sometimes you become a mother the traditional way, and sometimes you fly halfway around the world to meet your 3.5 year old daughter in a small, cold civil affairs office after only having “met” her through 3 small pictures and a brief medical/personality profile 6 months earlier.
I spent those 6 months gazing at those 3 pictures more times than I can count looking for any clues as to what her personality would be like. Standing there bundled up with her Minnie Mouse ears he looked shy and scared…I am shy by nature and I know how isolating that can be so I vowed that I would help her break through that. I wanted her to be self confident and fearless, neither of which were qualities I was in abundance of, but for her I would find a way to ensure that she didn’t grow up with those same self doubts that I did.
Little did I know, but this strong little girl already possessed everything I thought I would have to teach her. She was already fearless. She walked out of that civil affairs office willingly and without shedding a tear. She looks at pictures from that day and tells me how scared she was but somehow she knew everything would be o.k. as she faced her new life. In just a few days we saw her personality unfold and she was funny, and self confident, and self assured. Despite living the first 3.5 years of her life in a hard place, she did not let it define her. Why was I dwelling on the past and letting it define me for so long when she was able to leave that behind her and move on so quickly? Less than a week after leaving the only home she had known, taking her first plane ride and staying in her second hotel she was a giggly, happy little girl.
The most surprising thing to me on this journey so far has been that everything I thought I would have to work on with her, she has unknowingly worked on with me. I am not going to lie and tell you that becoming a mom for the first time at 43 to a 3.5 year old is easy, but in all honesty I have never felt more self confident than I do as her mom. I look at her and see how far we have come and I have this overwhelming sense that there isn’t anything we cannot accomplish. She pushes me (way) out of my comfort zone sometimes, it’s hard to be shy when she has you singing and dancing to Yo Gabba or has you engaging in conversation with a stranger because she has said hello and and wants to see their baby. Before she came home I can count on 1 hand how many pictures of myself I have from the past few years, but knowing that for 3.5 years there are only 4 pictures of her that exist and that none of them are with a family member I get over the fact that I don’t feel comfortable having my picture taken because she has a mom and she needs documentation of that and of us together.
Maybe I am trying hard to compensate for only having those 3 pictures by taking so many pictures of her now. Maybe I am trying to make up for the fact that my heart breaks when she asks “where are my baby pictures”. Maybe it is because my heart swells, I get goosebumps and tears well in my eyes on most days when I look at her and I just want her to look back and see the same beauty I see in her. Oh and maybe it’s because she’s cute, so darn cute and I am so proud to be her mommy.
Martha is one of my favorite moms in the world. Not to pick favorites, but ... she's pretty fantastic. I love her heart. We became online crafty friends years ago, and got the change to meet up in real life on a few separate occasions. The last time we hung out in Chicago, she told me that she was going to begin the process of adopting the beautiful girl you see here. This was long before Martha had ever seen a photo of this little girl, before she knew where she was from or what her name was. Since then, I've followed along with them as they found their way through their beautiful journey. A journey that began with a whole lot of waiting/hoping/wishing right here in the midwest which built up to an amazing adventure through Beijing, Xi'an, Guangzhou and Hong Kong China to bring their daughter home. Their daughter ... who I have watched from afar transform into a super smiley kid, bursting with energy, personality and pure gorgeousness. You see the love in her eyes and the love she shows is the love she gets. (That's Martha.) If you want to see a beautiful (tear-jerking, but in a happy way) video of Frances' journey home, click here. It's amazing. Watch. And to read more about life at home with Martha + family, check out her blog, Mugsyboo.