One year. 365 days. 525,948 minutes. Not to sound like the cast of “Rent”, but really, how do you measure a year? Okay, that totally sounds like the cast of “Rent”. Sorry about that. Before Jack, I marked the passage of time with birthdays or anniversaries, and later, milestones reached in the adoption process. Before Jack, I would look back on the previous year and reflect on lessons learned in the workplace. Before Jack, I’d reflect on the valuable time spent with family and friends and the memories we created. Before Jack, I really didn’t appreciate just how precious the ebb and flow of time truly is.
One year ago today, we became a family. After 16 years, Kevin and I became Kevin, Merrin, and Jack. After a seemingly endless wait, we finally had a child. One year ago today, I naively looked at the moment we first held our son as the end of a journey. How foolish. It wasn’t the end at all, but a beautiful, glorious beginning. Everything that came before, good or bad, had led me to that exact time and place, had set me on the path to motherhood.
One year ago today, we stood in a room in a nondescript building in China holding the perfect (screaming) miracle of our lives. In sharp contrast to the endless wait that led up to that minute, every second that’s passed since has flown by at warp speed. Jack has grown SIX INCHES in one year. He’s gained eight pounds. He legs are no longer scrawny; instead, he has muscles that would make the Hulk (the Incredible one, not Hulk Hogan) tremble in fear. He doesn’t have furrow lines of worry between his eyebrows; instead, his smile lights up not only his face, but the entire world. He doesn’t sit passively watching the world go by; instead, he jumps up and dances. He doesn’t scream when I come near him; instead, he throws himself into my arms for hugs and kisses. More than that, though, his intelligence shines through in everything he does. He is the smartest two-year-old I’ve ever seen, and I’m not just saying that because I’m his mom. Well, maybe I am.
In the last year, he’s celebrated holidays and birthdays. He’s learned how to ride his bike and climb the jungle gym. He’s learned how to open doors and turn on lights (both of which will scare the crap out of you in the middle of the night). He’s learned how to use an iPad, and is, in fact, more adept at it than I am. He’s started potty training, and is SO proud of himself. He’s discovered Elmo and Thomas the Train. He’s started school, where, naturally, he’s the most popular kid there. He even has a little girlfriend. He’s figured out that the loves the beach and the pool (anywhere with water, really). He’s learned how to sneak food he doesn’t like to the dog (thankfully, he likes almost everything, but the dog has still managed to gain some weight). He doesn’t toddle along anymore, he runs at a full sprint just about everywhere he goes. He fits in my arms like he was born to be there, and my body recognizes him as the child I was meant to have. We’ve measured every developmental milestone with a sense of triumph. Jack isn’t delayed in any area, and we have Half The Sky to thank for that.
One year ago today, I had no idea who my son was, or who he would be. One year later, and nobody knows Jack better than I do. A year ago, I had no idea what I was doing, but I was pretty good at faking it. Now, I still don’t have much of a clue, but I’m not afraid to try new things. I’m no longer worried that he’ll end up in therapy because I’ve warped him for life (I mean, he probably will, but I’m not *worried* about it). I make mistakes, and I kick myself for them, but somehow, miraculously, Jack loves me anyway. I will never know what I have done to deserve such a precious gift, and I’m pretty sure I’m not worthy of it, but I treasure it every single day.
One year ago today, a family was born.