I like the lull in activity on the internet right now. I imagine all of you gathered around sparkly trees with warm drinks in hand, enjoying your beautiful families. If you are actually trapped traveling or rushing through last-minute things, I hope you get your warm drink moment soon.
I am soaking up Christmas with a toddler who delights in the "pretty lights" and thinks every present is for him. It is said that you experience holidays in fresh ways as a parent, and that has been so wonderfully true for me. I am falling in love again with the pageantry of Christmas as he discovers it for the first time.
And perhaps it is the holiday season or the nearness of January*, but I have been indulging more and more in the delight of a possible second child. Thoughts of a fourth stocking hung and hair clips and siblings and ruffly Christmas dresses and a house made just that much more alive by the presence of another.
Of all the emotions of adopting, it is sometimes the joyful anticipation that I know least what to do with. I remember being surprised by how quickly I attached to Puppy--or rather the idea of Puppy--when we first met K and R. All my thoughts of a hypothetical child suddenly found a specific focal point. In the six weeks between first talking with K until Puppy came home, there were moments the anticipation was so much that I could scarcely breathe. I remember standing in the dark room that would be Puppy's one night a few days before K's due date feeling that my heart would burst from the not-knowing, from the possibility of becoming a parent being so impossibly close yet still not sure.
On a certain level, it frightened me. Because although the joy of building a family is one of the wonderful aspects of adoption, it is thrilling and scary all at once. Scary because I sensed how great the heartache could be if Puppy didn't become our Puppy. And scary because--although I still don't know what drives some over the edge of reason--I glimpsed what is underneath the entitled behavior we adoptive parents too often exhibit if our desire to adopt turns desperate.
When Ms B entered into our life and we into hers, I again felt that familiar thrill. But there were months to wait and the usual uncertainties and challenges of adopting to navigate. The excitement seemed neither helpful or sustainable. So into one of my many emotional compartments it went, boxed and wrapped and tied with bow, waiting for the day it would be appropriate to open.
As a girl I loved to play with the wrapped presents under the tree, sorting and shaking them and wondering what was inside. Lately I have been paying great attention to my pretty, unopened gift. Like a child sneaking a look under the wrapping paper, I have been peeking into the box, letting the thrill of possibility rush over me. Thinking about the possible day we welcome another little one into our family. And when I've dreamed for a moment, I shut the lid tight once again and set it aside, waiting to see if it will ever be opened for good.
* January was the completely self-imposed, semi-arbitrary earliest month I said I would start preparing to have a baby in the house again.