Thursday, February 15, 2007

Whoo hoo! Both girls are sleeping...it's FINALLY stopped snowing outside...now we have 18 or so inches of the white stuff with below zero wind chills. Ohio is simply LOVELY! ")

As promised...here is your update...

Let me preface this by saying that the two weeks Garry was in China were probably the most harrowing of my life. It is neither a time I want to relive or think about. I was barely holding it together and by the mid-point of the trip I was finding it harder and harder *to* hold it together. For all those who prayed, called, cleared the driveway, emailed, or posted at the blog, I am eternally grateful for your support. YOU are the ones who held me together.

SO! By the time January 31st rolled around I was clutching my last thread...with my hangnails! I had joked with Garry that I would be waiting at the airport around noon...his flight wasn't due until 6. I started tracking his flight around 10 or so that morning and I actually, physically, jumped up and down when I saw it. They were already over western Canada and beginning their turn towards Detroit. NEVER has a silly little picture of a white airplane pasted over a map of Canada brought so much unfettered JOY to my life!

He called after they landed in Detroit and got through immigration and customs. Again, just seeing "Garry Cell" on my caller I.D. was enough to send me into fits of cartwheels! Claire hadn't slept, neither had he...both were tired, cranky, and hungry. Honestly, it was all I could do not to get in the car right then and drive to Akron/Canton...even though he wasn't due to leave Detroit for another 2-3 hours.

I woke Hope up from her nap around 4, got her ready, gagged down some more oyster crackers...(I don't care if I ever see another one of those things again...I lived on them for two weeks) and by that time it was a little after 4:30. I had planned on leaving around 4:45 in an attempt to avoid the heaviest traffic AND get to the airport while the sun was still shining. We left here around 4:50 and as soon as I pulled out onto the street I forgot how to get to the airport. My mind went completely blank...hand to my heart. Thank God for his grace and mercy because I figured it out before I had to get on any major highway! Traffic was pretty much a nightmare but whenever I needed to change lanes or merge, He cleared the way for me. I can't say when we arrived at the airport because, my mind being what it was, I forgot to put on a watch! DUH! I'm guessing it was close to 5:30 and his plane was due in at 5:58.

Hope and I checked the board and there was nothing listed for the status of his flight. Right away...stomach started bothering me. We sat down and waited...watched several flights worth of passengers walk past us...Hope ate the Honey Nut Cheerios that I had brought for her. When we got up to throw her trash away I checked the board again and now his flight was flashing DELAYED. We walked upstairs to the observation deck which gave us a great view of the air conditioning units. If we squinted, and looked faaaaar off into the distance I think what we were looking at were the runways...but I can't be sure! LOL Back downstairs...walk a little...check the board...still delayed...watch the time on the board change at least 6 different times from 5:58 to 6:19. The last one just about did me in. It said, "Now arriving 6:19." And the clock below it said, "6:20". I really was about to lose it. I had long since put the camera away...Hope was going completely stir crazy. We sat down again and another group of passengers made their way past us. No Garry or Claire. Hope started whining about not wanting to wait anymore...my stomach felt like it was going to make a run for it...and there they were. He had been the last one off of the plane and of course it took him longer having to carry her and get her ready for the cold.

I started WEEPING the minute I saw them. I couldn't even stand...my legs wouldn't work. I just sat there squeaking, "There they are!", and holding on tight to Hopie. She was jumping up and down and shrieking, "DADDY! DADDY!" I remember hearing his voice so I knew it was safe to let go of Hope. I remember reaching out my hand and him taking it, and I remember the stress leaving my body for the first time in a long time.

After hugs and kisses all around, I tried to get Claire's attention. She was exhausted, sick, and didn't know me from Adam. No matter HOW prepared you think you are for that, you aren't. She turned completely away from me. I started to sing the lullaby I had recorded that Garry had played for her in China. She turned her head towards me, looked me straight in the eyes, and reached out to touch my face. Yeah, I was bawling, but I think I bawled pretty much continuously from the moment I saw them coming towards us.

As we went to get their luggage and as we walked out into the deep freeze that has become NE Ohio, I don't remember a whole lot of people around us, but those who were there, were smiling and sharing our joy.

Once we were all loaded in the car we held hands and thanked God for bringing us all back together. Yeah...still crying.

Claire rode VERY well for her first time in the carseat. She was a little scared at first but her big sister, sitting right beside her, kept cooing, "Ni hao Li Lu. Ni hao." Uh-huh...crying.

When we got home and Garry carried her in the house I was completely overwhelmed with the need to hold her. I said, "Can I hold her?" He just laughed at me and handed her over. She did ok, but she didn't want Daddy to get too far away from her.

Again, what words are there to tell you what a wonderful job he did? And once we were home, it's not like he could rest either. When she cried, she wouldn't accept comfort from me, she needed Daddy. The first couple of nights home, he maybe saw three hours of shut-eye.

In has only been in the last 3-4 days that she has realized that I am Mama and I'm not going anywhere. She will hold eye contact with me now, whereas before she stared at the ceiling while I was feeding her. She'll actively try to GET my attention and then just laugh the heartiest little laugh. Her smiles are absolutely addictive! She will put her arms out to me to pick her up and she even came to me FROM Daddy.

When she first joined us she could barely roll over. She remedied that while in China. She could sit, but not for very long. That is also improving. The kid is strong. She has a WHOLE lot more upper body and trunk strength than Hope did at this point. She also had no interest or clue as to how to eat from a spoon. Again, that's been taken care of now too. Baby food...homemade or jarred is FABULOUS...as are crackers. She has four teeth and more coming in. I know I'm probably forgetting something but I'm on a deadline. She has awakened and is now on my lap! You try typing with World's Strongest and Grabbiest Baby on your lap!

Hope has her moments. She does really well most days but I don't mind telling you she's had two days this week that, well, they weren't pretty. Her two morning a week preschool has been cancelled so many times due to weather for the last two weeks...and she NEEDS that time to just be Hope away from her sister. She finally got to go today and enjoy her Valentine's Party. She was in a much better mood when I picked her up.

Garry went back to work on Monday and I did surprisingly ok. Tuesday was no school for Hope and she was just not happy...and it rubbed off on her sister! Garry stayed home yesterday due to the weather. Thank God he did...we didn't have any heat! It was quickly resolved and again, thank God for our fireplace. Today was Mama's first trip to preschool with both girls. Aye carumba. It takes 30 minutes just to get them both in their carseats!

Ok, I'm going to have to quit for now. Claire has discovered that smacking the keyboard is WICKED FUN!

Next nap, more pictures!

Claire's lullaby, Baby Mine, can be found on the music player at the bottom of the page.

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