One year ago today your Dad and I walked in amongst teak houses in thick air to hear laughing, crying, and women giving instructions in Thai. We sat and had a cup of tea and talked about your first months and looked at baby photos of you. We wanted to jump up and find you, but we knew that this was our chance to get all the details we could about you. So we sat patiently and asked. When did you sleep? What did you like to eat? She told us you were a cheeky one, and she was aboslutely correct.
One year ago today we saw you getting your blue plastic shoes on to hop in the car with these two strangers that you now call Mummy and Daddy. You had little idea of what your new life would be. Later you took a nap in the air con and you must’ve felt that kind of cold for the first time. We wrapped you in a sarong and placed you in the wooden hotel cot. And when you woke up, you were wary but happy to eat rice porridge and fresh mango.
The next day you really started to understand that everything had changed, and you cried a lot. We finally put you in the carrier on Daddy’s chest and you immediately calmed down. You were enveloped in the warmth of Daddy on one side and Monsoonal breeze on the other, guarded from rain by the covered balcony. You both watched the tuk tuks drive along the road below.
Later we became busy with trips to embassies, consulates and hospitals. Document after document was gathered, stamped and turned in until the government authorities at the court told us they were happy for us to take you home. We went to a cafe, relieved. You still love going to cafes.
At the airport, Daddy and I were nervous. Would you cry the whole way to New Zealand? We had fun in the airport trolley, but then it was time to board. People tutted and rolled their eyes when they saw you and other children as if no children should ever be allowed on an aeroplane in case they cry, but we know that aeroplane trips are special for children, especially one like you. It was an aeroplane that brought you to our home in the Pacific. You had a one-way ticket. And you barely cried at all! You enjoyed your infant meal and had fun playing with the Thai Airlines flight attendants. But, most of the time you slept on either my chest or Daddy’s.
At home, we felt a bit guilty for bringing you from the warmth of Thailand to this cold place. The first time we bundled you up you just stood there as if you didn’t know how to move under the weight of all those clothes. We slept on the floor in your room so we could all stay warm and check on you if you woke up confused. You were much happier (as were we!) when the summer finally came and you got to discover sand, buckets and spades at the beach…and ice cream!
You’ve always loved the park even though you cried the first time you stood on grass. You were not so sure about the swing at first. You’d go back and forth a couple of times until you got a strange, greenish look on your face and we took you out. Then you’d ask to go back in. Eventually you fell in love with it and we spent a lot of time pushing you “Small” and “Big!”. You also started to climb. And even though you were intimidated at first, now you will climb on anything you can reach.
One year ago today I wondered what you’d think of your goofy parents. It turns out that you like to make silly jokes and be cheeky just like us. Three sanuk-ers in a pod!
One year ago today we all thought we loved each other, but it is nothing compared to what we have now. Every mountain we’ve climbed has woven us more tightly together. Even when you throw your best display of two year old rage in the supermarket or break your cup because you can’t have juice in it, you go for your nap and I sit and think about how much I love you. And when I can’t make the tea for you clinging to my leg after you’ve been ill, I just dial the pizza place so I can spend the time with you instead. One takeaway here and there can’t hurt, right?
And one year ago today, I was already planning your party. I knew you’d make friends (I could just tell) and I couldn’t wait to have them over to play and eat cake and celebrate your day. Happy One Year Day to all of us, but especially to you for making our lives so incredible.