Sunday, August 15, 2010

Little Sisters

video

Yanni, one of Jingju's little sisters from her orphanage, came to visit with her mother this weekend. Yanni has been home just a year and hasn't seen Jingju since last December when Jingju, Yanni, and Tessa had a reunion in New York City. These photos are of Jingju and Yanni building boats and then launching them at the museum where Jingju has been going to camp this summer. I've never seen Jingju so relaxed and natural playing with another child. There it was, the bond of sisterhood that held these girls together and defined their first family. How hard it must have been for them to say goodbye in China--to leave a family of sisters to follow a wish to have a family in which they would be daughters.

What joy, to see them today, sisters still, daughters now.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Maintaining

  
Kevin was in the hospital again.  He's OK, and now he's recuperating at an inpatient rehab facility getting physical therapy. We thought he'd be there only a week, thinking our insurance wouldn't cover a longer stay, but surprisingly, he's getting more time, which he needs. It was hard for Kevin to make the decision to stay and work on building his strength back. He so wants to be home for Jingju's birthday celebration tomorrow and our anniversary today. But if he doesn't return to his previous level of ability through physical therapy, we will then be living with a new level of disability.

Jingju seems to be holding up pretty well. And of course now she's completely focused on her birthday. Her behavior has been a little regressed... baby talk mostly. Jingju has never really liked to play with dolls, but ever since baba went into the hospital, she's been carrying her American Girl doll with her everywhere we go and my bed has been taken over by Jingju, an owl, 2 bears, and one of the Pleasant Goats. I'm trying to keep us to a schedule, but with visits to the hospital, karate classes, camp, my work schedule, not to mention grocery and birthday shopping, and general household maintenance, it's been a challenge. If I've learned anything in the 16 months since I became a parent, it's the importance of a routine. I think both Jingju and I are running on empty right now. I have also renewed my vow to limit Jingju's sugar intake! 


Jingju has been able to get some quality time alone with her baba because he's staying on a hospital floor of a hotel that's linked to a medical center. I was able to leave her with him for a few hours the other night so I could go off and order the birthday cake. They had dinner together, read some stories, and watched a movie. She'll do the same with him today so I can get more secret errands done, and on Sunday after Jingju's party, we'll bring mama and baba's presents to the hotel so Kevin can be a part of the celebration. Right now, I'm plotting to figure a way to sneak her big surprise present into his hotel room. Stay tuned...


And I want to say thank you to Wanda, Jingju's camp counselor, who basically planned Jingju's party for me. Last week I had only told Jingju that we were celebrating her birthday on Sunday, August 8th (her b-day is Aug 10th). I had no idea at the time what I was going to do. I picked her up from camp on Monday, and Wanda asked me what time the party was. Party? What party? Yeah, she says, "Jingju invited me, and she invited Josh and Anthony too." With that, a party at a local bowling alley was conceived, with Wanda guiding me on all the finer points of planning a party for 6-8 year-olds. The next day when I picked Jingju up from camp, she handed me invitations that she and Jingju and other staff had hand made. "And you'll need grab bags, go to the dollar store," says Wanda. Now, I have always been a party thrower extraordinaire, but the current amount of multi-tasking I have on my plate has really got me beat. So Wanda, thank you, thank you, I think Jingju will have a great birthday. Thank you too, to my friends and family, for caring about me and checking in with me. I woke up today thinking for the first time in weeks, I can get through this, and I can get Jingju through this too.