Anne Notations

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Talkin' 'bout my girl

Tomorrow, December 12, is Melinda's 17th birthday. Michael and I will always remember the thrilling long-distance call from the orphanage in Bogotá several days later in 1990: "Your baby girl has been born." Our child was born! I was 39 years old.

Melinda was and is, of course, her birth mother's baby girl, too. Each year I say a prayer for E, for the hard decisions she faced more than once and at a young age, for the doubts she may have suffered in making a plan for this baby, our baby; for her loss. Surely she remembers the date, and hopes that the girl she figuratively placed in a basket among the bullrushes to float toward an unknown future is thriving and loved. Melinda indeed is thriving, loved, and altogether miraculous to us.

November 1992

Our daughter was a pretty baby and toddler; she is now a lovely young woman. She walks into rooms in our house singing or cracking jokes, calling Michael "Padre" and me "Moomoo," "Camel Butt," "Shrimp Toast," and "Yule Log," among other endearments. My two guys at home and I can be acerbic and moody; Melinda is our leaven, adding her fizz to the family mix and making everyone smile. I often sing to her: "I've got sunshiiiiiiine, on a cloudy day / When it's cold outside, I've got the month of May...."

My daughter and I sometimes laugh ourselves silly, our stomachs aching, tears rolling down my cheeks, as we did several days ago when I discovered the camera and "Photo Booth" application built into my computer:

Last weekend Melinda treated four of her best friends to an early birthday dinner at her favorite Greek restaurant in Providence. They got all dolled up – see below – and turned every head in the place, by all accounts. Her friend Julie drove her to Providence and back here; entrusting this priceless daughter to her friends' newly certified driving skills is never easy for us, but it's all part of the necessary letting-go process.

Speaking of letting go: I find myself more and more often wincing as I imagine next year when our daughter will be away at college. Honestly, I'm not sure what I'll do without her, what any of us will do without our smart and funny sunshine girl at home. For now I will savor every moment. This kid is, truly, one in a million. Lucky us! Lucky me!

Happy birthday, princess.
Love, Moomoo

Julie and Melinda (avec tiara) ready for a night out on the town, December 1, 2007.


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