I’m sitting at our dining room table, listening to one of Penelope’s sleepy time CD’s. She’s in her room, resting after grocery shopping with daddy. It takes every ounce of attention to get all the items on our list and watch her. Having several young children in a grocery store must be like an extreme sport.
Penelope remains healthy for which we are thankful. Neither Jenn or I are feeling all that great. I’m trying my best to skip the ibuprofen today. The sinus pressure is as intense as I’ve experienced and warrants some medication. The doctor prescribed a round of antibiotics in case of infection. I’m almost ready for trepanation to relieve the pain.
Jenn found out she doesn’t have kidney stones, a welcome relief. She’s going to a specialist to identify the cause of her persistent back and side pain. Until it’s taken care of I’ll be picking up Penelope a lot. I welcome it though. Before we left for China our friend Stephanie told us how much she missed with her son Charlie. He was thirteen months on Gotcha! Day. Thirteen months of development, mothering, and connection she would never have. For us it’s two years. Penelope may be 36 lbs but I want to hold her like a baby all the time since I missed those formative months.
Jenn’s concerned about Penelope expecting to be picked up. We know the signs. She stops walking and faces us, raising her arms, and looks expectantly to be lifted up. Her mouth turns downward and she looks helpless. The first few months we were back I flat out refused. “She’s got to walk!” I would say. Now I can’t wait to pick her up. When she’s in new environments or with new people she insists on being held. Regardless of her weight she expects we will hold her until she’s surrounded by familiar faces.
I held her for twenty minutes on Thursday. We visited our former Chinese teacher, Kai. Jenn and Penelope met me at Kai’s office. I remember the first class I had with Kai in 2006. He asked everyone why they wanted to learn Chinese. I told him of my interest in the language since high school and that one day we were adopting a little girl from China. Now I was holding my daughter. Amazing.
A month before I asked Kai if he would write Penelope’s given name (now her middle name), Ya Qin, using the traditional brush and ink. He handed us an envelope with several sheets of paper. He transliterated Jenn’s, Penelope’s, and my English names into Chinese. On another sheet of paper was her name, Ya Qin. You can see the characters in the header of the site now. According to the paperwork we have her name means Asia (Ya) and Diligent (Qin).
I had Friday off to relax and spend with the family. We went to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens to purchase tickets for Saturday’s Garden Lights exhibit. I spent the rest of the day working unsuccessfully on incorporating a new feature into this site. Digital ditch digging. It left me mentally tired and frustrated, accomplishing nothing for hours of work.
On Saturday we joined Stephanie, Steve, and Charlie at Doc Chey’s for dinner. A misunderstanding on my part left us at one location and them at another. Stephanie called and asked where we were. “We’re here, we’ve got a table.” She said “I don’t see you, we’ve got a table also.” Ten minutes later we joined them for a great dinner before going to the lights.
We arrived at the Gardens and had to look for parking since the lots were full. Steve graciously found a spot close by and motioned for us to take it while they found another. We entered the gardens hand in hand, an international family daisy chain looking forward to the spectacle. The hour we walked through the display was too short. I could have stared at portions of the exhibit all night.
We discovered Penelope loves trains, or train sets. We reached a large area with close to a dozen trains representing the eras of locomotion from the earliest stages to the modern coach and everything in between. I felt like I was dragging Penelope away from the trains so we could see the entire exhibit.
Next we saw the luminescent orbs decorating the lawn outside the building with tropical plants. The shapes cycled through a rainbow of colors in time with holiday music. Penelope marveled at the display and danced. Stephanie asked to take some photos of us before we left the grounds. Penelope reached across my face and grabbed Jenn, embracing us with the frenetic energy from her dancing. It made for one of our best family moments and a lot of blurry pictures. We loved it.
We reached a group of carolers and sat to listen. Penelope swayed to their singing, clapping and yelling “YAY” when they were done. Several families looked over and smiled, clearly amused as we were. Before we knew it the exit gates were in front of us. We made our way home, a bubble of holiday cheer and toddler delirium resulting from staying up well past bedtime.