How I love her. I love her like bitter chocolate. I love her like summer rain on your face after a drought. I love her like dancing in the moonlight on cool grass. I love her like the first love you ever had. I love her like the beating wings of turtledoves on the pink air of dawn. I love her so much it actually hurts. It hurts under my breastbone. It makes me want to ghasp for air. It fills me up like helium until my skin feels stretched tight.
Sometimes, I am struck dumb by the idea that one fragile hair's breadth of difference might have kept us from ever knowing her face. Had we waited just a little longer to decide we wanted to give parenthood a try. Had we hesitated even a few days longer wondering whether we could afford adoption. Had we chosen a different program, a different agency. Had we not met and fallen in love just at a point when our lives were in transition. Had we not discovered the Waiting Child (special medical needs) program, and dived headfirst into it, impetuously (or so it seemed to some of our doubters), in a matter of days, we would not have had access to the orphanage, the program, the system that allowed us to be matched with Q.
The international adoption world is mercurial at best, nerve-shattering and even heart-breaking at worst.
Bottom line: we were incredibly, profoundly, unspeakably fortunate. Just nine months after meeting her for the first time (I can't believe it hasn't even been a year) we can not imagine our lives without her.
We are like small planets circling around her very bright sun. Our lives literally revolve around her. My husband will snatch 15 minutes from his workday to drive home in order to see her smiling face over dinner break. When I put her down for a nap, I'm lucky if I go twenty minutes without the temptation to sneak in and see her sleeping form, pat her tiny back, stroke the sleep-damp, spikey hairs over her temple. Sometimes at night, before I go to bed, I'm almost irresistibly tempted to wake her, just to hear her rusty giggle and feel the strong wriggle of her body under my hands...to make sure she's still living, still OK, still happy.
Actually, the truth is, we do go in and harrass her late at night, after my husband comes home from work. We lean over her crib and pat her back and tuck a blanket around her whisper words of love in her small, tightly-curled pink ears. And here's the thing: when we say "I love you" to her while she's sleeping, she actually chuckles in her sleep.