June 1st. All over again.

Though this will bear the date of June 2– I am up late.  So for me, it is still June 1 and I must post something to mark this day.  There is a Jewish prayer that I love, the shehechianu– which is a prayer that marks the first of something, the beginning of something, and in which we thank god for bringing us to exactly this particular moment in time–and in my mind we are also thanking god for having been brought to this particular moment in time, with these particular people— whomever they happen to be. 

This is the day 9 years ago, that my partner and I met our daughter who was 12 days old– and brought her back to our hotel and started our life as a threesome.  Mothers and daughter.  On this day 9 years ago, my partner and I drove to a nearby suburb at 5:30 or so in the morning, dropped our car at our friends’ house.  Our friends drove us to the airport and we boarded a plane around 7:00 a.m. to go to El Paso and meet our daughter.

I remember, as does my partner, many, many things in incredibly vivid detail.  In particular I remember the Mexican food we ate at a diner style place on the grounds of the airport, but not actually at the airport itself– at about noon when we arrived, tired, scared and very hungry.

I remember the first glimpse we got of our daughter in a beautiful little yellow dress that was huge on our very small girl.  This is what she was wearing when we arrived and I remember very well, her very attentive, interested face taking it all in.  I remember that we stayed with S. (our daughter’s foster mom and J., her husband, at their home, where our daughter had spent the past many days)– for many, many hours as I had requested– and I remember walking with S. and with my partner and our new baby– to another Mexican restaurant for dinner at about 6:30.  It was 104 degrees.

I remember 8:45 in the evening that night.  When it was finally time to say good night and take her back to our hotel with us, I said to her, that we were going to leave S. and J. and that she wasn’t going to live with them anymore, but that this would be the last change like that– that she would be with us now, forever and she would be ok.  And I remember how she started to cry hard for the first time since we had arrived at 3:00 and she cried the whole time until the car was loaded, the whole ride over a mountain and to our hotel, and the whole way up into the room, and then cried some more, as we held her on the huge bed.  And then she fell asleep. And though I have had a long life staying up late, I knew that if I was going to get any sleep at all, I had to fall asleep too and I did.  I remember much more too, but that is what I’ll write tonight. 

We all had a nice day together today– a funny, odd day, like we sometimes have– but a truly good day.  Very uncharacteristically, she declined the ride she usually gets with our neighbor and their two other girls to school and asked, instead that I, her mama, take her. Which I did.  This evening, she didn’t want me to reminisce about her adoption much.  But we did watch some other family’s adoption day video on Youtube and listened to that great John McCutcheon song, Happy Adoption Day. 

I do remember as we were getting ready to leave the house, so early in the morning all these years ago– bursting into tears– saying this is the biggest blind date of our lives, and I am scared– what if I don’t like her?  What if she doesn’t like us?  But I was wrong– I fell for her the minute I saw her and I am so glad to get to remember that day, every year when June 1 rolls around.

One response to “June 1st. All over again.

  1. Ines Anchondo

    What a beautiful story, Laura. Really. Your description of the situation and the place is so touching. (It is still very hot here, as you know). By telling the story this is now in my memory too.

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