Beth (Mari's first mom) came over on Saturday to visit and bring Mari a birthday gift. She had decided that she'd rather have some quiet time with Mari for her birthday than join in the bigger family celebration the weekend prior. We were glad she knew that about herself and that she trusted us enough to tell us. And, honestly, it was nice to have the time with just her instead of in the middle of a larger group.
We stayed home, made some pizza together, and just hung out. Eddie was feeling under the weather so he headed upstairs to nap fairly early on. It was the three adults and Mari, Mari loving her status as only kid in the room. (Oh, the woes of the second child.) She took Beth on a tour of her new "big kid" room. She jumped on her tiny trampoline, a birthday present. She was just her own adorable, chatty self, at home in a familiar place among familiar faces.
Saturday afternoon was one of those too-rare occasions when I could sit back and enjoy Marian. The day had already been set aside to spend with Beth, so there were no competing demands on my time. Poor Eddie was asleep, eliminating the need to referee the kids' interactions. Beth was there to visit Mari, so she didn't mind that everyone was Mari-focused.
I can't speak for all parents, but I know Todd and I see our children with biased eyes. When we spout the clichés about Eddie and Mari being the two most interesting, captivating children we've ever met, we actually mean it. We delight in learning more about therm. And I'm perfectly aware that others don't think they're as amazing as Todd and I do. Even their grandparents don't have quite the same fascination. It's a parent thing.
The whole afternoon, Beth couldn't take her eyes off of Mari, couldn't stop laughing at her antics. At one point, as Mari sat feeding her baby doll, Beth said with a happy sigh, "I could just sit here and watch her all day long." I remembered then that here was the third person who shares Todd's and my bias, who sees her through the eyes of a parent. And it felt wonderful to be sharing that together, to be sitting in a room full of adults who wanted nothing more in that moment than to watch Mari.
This is the unique possibility of open adoption, at least one manifestation of it: that we had the joy of being with someone who enjoys this little girl just as much. Someone who sees her through the same adoring eyes.
* I know I need to finish this story. I'm awful. Awful.