Eleven?! How did this happen?!
I got up early this morning so I could steam dumplings for her breakfast. Yeah, I know. This is how I roll. The Husband groans at my celebrating antics. He is the eldest of four, his mother having all her babies before she was thirty. Birthdays are not a big deal for him whereas I, on the other hand, was like an only child my brother being 9 years older than me. The Husband says my mother spoiled me and I used to get defensive about it, but now I say if showering someone with love and attention is to spoil, then spoil away!
So while Cowgirl is at school, I've been hiding her birthday presents around the house. She requested a scavenger hunt for her gifts and as I am still working on completing one, I am grateful for the extra few hours. Later in the day, I went to write up the clues when I drew a complete blank on where I hid her big gift! I mean for a good five minutes I could not remember where I stashed the-one-gift-she-really-really-really wanted!
It was both hilarious and horrible. A
So I walked around the house, retracing my mental dialogue (yes, I could remember the spots I chose not to use ... inside the grandfather clock ... in a desk drawer ...) until finally I stumbled upon it!
I got to take a break to go buy her a sub sandwich for lunch and then bring it to her at school. I love sitting with her classmates in the lunchroom and seeing her in her element. She sits with the boys and one new friend peppered me with questions. "Are you both from China?" I explained I was born in New Jersey and isn't that equally exotic? He then deemed it "cool" that Cowgirl got to live in China first.
It is hard to remember those years waiting for Cowgirl, wondering about the child living in China who would one day be my daughter. Eleven years ago I stood outside under a full harvest moon and offered up my prayer for a healthy child. At that time, I had no idea we would be adopting.
Eleven years ago, just two days before that same full moon, Cowgirl was born. In China the eight full moon of the lunar year - our Harvest Moon - is known as the MId-Autumn Moon Festival or 中秋節 Zhong Qiu Jie. It is the second most important holiday and traditionally a time for family reunions and celebrations. It is said that under the full moon, we are reunited with all of our loved ones as the moon shines down upon us all.
In our family we talk about the Moon Goddess, 嫦娥 Chang-e, who brought us together as a family. I tell Cowgirl that she was the one reaching out to me under that full moon all those years ago. As we celebrate her 11th birthday, this year we will celebrate the Moon festival just a few days later. We have moon cakes - 月饼 yue bing - which we've already tucked into. Cowgirl and I like the red bean or lotus paste ones; the traditional cakes have a hard boiled egg inside which we don't like; the Husband shuns them all!
We combine these traditions from her birth country with new traditions of our own. This morning she chose to wear her Chinese Camp tee shirt. It could have easily been her beloved Kansas Jayhawk tee. She doesn't like cake, so I bake her a birthday pie. This year she wants a strawberry refrigerator pie. She has also requested steak for her birthday dinner. Last year, it was sushi. That is how she rolls ...
So yes, I will spoil her on this, Her Day which actually is not all that different from other days. With the exception of me getting up early for the dumplings.
I wouldn't have it any other way. For she has given me so much more than I could have ever imagined 11 years ago under that full moon. She is my reminder to leave open ended the manner in which I want my prayers answered. Why put limits upon what the Universe can conjure up?
Eleven ... I still cannot reconcile how this little girl ...
turned into this no-longer-so-little girl?
Thankfully, she is keeping me young-ish ... at least in body, if not mind!