Last Wednesday (September 11th) was the five year anniversary of the day that Lizzie came to us, forever and ever. Of course, we didn’t know that, at the time, that wasn’t necessarily true. But, that’s what the case worker told us because she sincerely believed it to be true when she said it. And, that’s what we told the boys. Thankfully, we did get to keep Lizzie, forever and ever, but it was a long year before we knew for sure.
But, this is not a post about how difficult it is to not know if you will get to raise the baby that you love dearly. This is about her first days.
I feel like my memory gets worse and worse as the years go by, in general. I’m lucky if I remember where I put my keys, where my debit card is, or where I put my keys… Oh, wait, I used that one already. See what I’m talking about??
But this day, I remember.
I remember being worried about whether we were doing the right thing.
I remember being stuck at work when the case worker brought Lizzie. I remember the case worker staying as long as she could so she could meet me before she left. But, I was with a client who was having a colonscopy and it seems that you can’t rush that, So, she had to leave before I got home.
I remember calling Brian to check in and hearing his voice, full of awe, as he said, “She’s beautiful.”
I remember finally getting off work and rushing home as fast as I could. I was very upset that I had missed the homecoming, but mostly just focused on meeting my daughter.
I remember walking in and unceremoniously saying “Give her to me.” It wasn’t sappy, but it was informative and I had waited a long time for a moment like this. Brian understood and was happy to hand her over.
And, then I held her.
I looked at this little thing in my arms and couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea that I was now in charge of her. I had successfully kept the boys alive since February. On some days, that was the best that I could hope for. 😉 But, a baby?? She was so tiny! And, wow, she was swimming in her outfit that her foster mother sent her in because, you know, she was so tiny! I was busy being convinced that I had no idea how to take care of a baby anymore when Brian said something about bottles and then I realized, hey, I know how to make those!
I remember all my friends and my sister and her kids coming over to “ooh” and “aah.”
I remember people coming over with baby items over that friends of friends had sent. Antwan had already been a year old when we got him and we had no inkling that Lizzie was coming, so we had very few baby supplies. By very few, I mean nothing. Lizzie’s caseworker called on a Tuesday and brought her on a Thursday. But, our payday was Friday. So, we were freaking out a bit. But, since people are amazing, we soon had clothes, bottles, diapers, blankets, a basinet, and a car seat. The car seat was even pink. J Like I said, people are amazing.
I remember that we had pizza and the pizza guy asked me questions about one of the neighbors’ houses. I don’t know why I remember that. Maybe it was because I was holding her while I paid for the pizza and that was so surreal. Or maybe it was because the pizza guy was cute. Hard to say… 😉
I don’t remember eating much pizza, though. I can’t imagine that I did.
I remember trying to give the boys extra hugs so they wouldn’t feel left out.
And, I remember when everyone left and it was just us and Jennice. She showed us how to swaddle Lizzie, I had forgotten. She laid a swaddled and sound asleep Lizzie down. We all gazed at her lovingly and then finally took a breath.
I remember sitting down and thinking that we had awhile to relax. Of course, that was when I remembered how short infant naps are. Right around the time that I was pondering going to sleep, she woke up, of course. 🙂
In the days ahead, I remember being tired, all of the time, and wondering how I was going to make it through. I remember singing to her, kissing her belly, and wishing that she would just sleep. I remember waking in a panic the first time that she slept through the night.
I remember the year of angst, visitations, laughter, love, and revolving caseworkers. I remember being terrified that we were going to lose her.
And, I remember the day that we finally knew that we wouldn’t.
But, most of all, I remember that she was amazing. That’s not hard to remember because I get daily reminders of it.
We didn’t know she was coming. I ended up having to quit my job because I couldn’t juggle home and work. I learned new levels of exhaustion and financial struggle. I watched a driver drive off with her once a week for a visit with her biological parents while I was left feeling like part of me was missing until she came back. And, I remember knowing then, like I know now, that she was worth every second of it.
|Happy birthday, Lizzie!
Last night, I danced with my daughter. When Tori sang on “Victorious” or the new “Honey Nut Cheerios” commercial came on, she said “Mommy, get up and dance!” And, sometimes, I got up first and told her to “get up and dance!” I spun her around and kissed her belly. I looked at her smile and listened to her laugh. Basically, I had my own little anniversary celebration. The best part was that she was smiling at me and laughing because she was dancing with me.
I’m so glad that I get to dance with you, everyday, little girl. You have some awesome moves.