Today is Evangeline's birthday.
I had high hopes of making it special, it being her first birthday with us.
I'm not going to act like I know what her birthdays were like in the orphanage. My inclination is that there wasn't much celebrating going on but who knows? Maybe her grandmother (who visited her regularly there in Kiev and loves her very much) brought her a present, or maybe her group of peers all got a treat and sang to her.
We'll never know.
God is showing me the longer I walk with him the more clueless I become. I constantly attempt to rebuild my little life over and over...and then like a wave splashing over the shore He comes through and washes away what I've built, asks me to focus on him and to stop trying to achieve and do and be, on my own.
Instead of a big party and lots of friends and gifts and congratulations, we had a small family party. Evie screamed and cried out of fear of the candles on the cake, the party was after church and I was tired, the other girls were hyped up on candy from the neighborhood Halloween parade. The party just wasn't working.
At one point I looked at Sergei while babies cried and kids fought and piles of chocolate chip cake looked like they were strategically placed onto various parts of the dinning room floor. I threw up my hands, and sighed.
Evie's first birthday celebration on Sunday with us was not what I had built up in my mind.
Our efforts were real. We attempted to celebrate her. In spite of all that's been happening with Polly we made room for cake and ice cream, new toys, hugs and kisses.
Honestly, though. It did not feel sincere.
This morning, on Evie's actual birthday, after Elaina and Zoya and Polly made it out to the gray minivan to leave for school, I sat down on the floor in the living room with Evangeline. The house was quiet, peaceful. After changing her, and going through her sensory diet the OT wants us to do with her every two hours (joint compressions, brushing, face stretches, chew tubes...)I slowed down long enough to see this little girl that God has asked me to mother.
We sang her favorite songs, played with birthday toys, tickled, laughed. At one point she stopped what she was doing and turned my way. She looked into my eyes, real still. She held my gaze and smiled.
Another wave, albeit different than the one that crashed over us last week with Polly's stroke and new diagnosis, washed over me this morning. The feeling of love shared between a mother and her daughter.
We are blessed.
Happy Birthday Evangeline.
I know we are still getting to know each other. But I want you to know...we love you so.