Today is the 6 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
It is also the 6 year anniversary of the day we received the call from Russia about our daughter.
It is a toss up which was more shocking or life changing.
Both events defining moments in our life.
As I watched the second plane implode into the building, my phone rang. It was our agency rep. calling to tell me to pack up we had a referral of an infant girl to go and meet. She was calling from New Jersey and had no idea what was transpiring just across the water from her office.
As the horror, fear and trepidation set in around us, we were preparing to do what so many thought unthinkable. Climb aboard a plane and fly across the ocean to a foreign country that had an uneasy past relationship with the United States. Many neighbors would not even venture across town to the mall much less excitedly and joyfully pack a suitcase for 17 hours of flying.
But I think our adoption travel coinciding with 9/11 was a gift.
It strengthened our decision to adopt a second time.
God knows we had plenty of reasons not to. We weren't that young, 41 and 46 when we adopted our daughter. Our son was not quite 3 and did have some issues in language and sensory and we were well aware of the extra time and attention he would need from us. We weren't wealthy by any means and paying for two adoptions within a two years span took lots of financial creativity.Not to mention I had quit my job to be home full time.
The attacks of 9 /11 could have been the final straw to us remaining a family of three.
The gift of 9/11 was that we finally understood why it was so right and needed for us to add a daughter to our family, to complete what we felt was our path and to fully feel that even though we had not even met our future daughter, we would already risk life and limb for her. That our love for her was stronger than our fear. That while in the future she would give us love and laughter and joy, the first thing she gave us was courage.
The terrorists took many things away from our country that day-lives, futures, security.
But they gave us back the renewed connections to our families, they put our priorities back in the right order and we learned to not take a second of our lives for granted.
Life lessons worth learning.
OK , on to more recent happenings.
Last Thursday I turned 47.
Anyway you slice it-creeping up on a half a century.
Ok I just scared myself with that one.
My bestest friend, Chris, sent me a Birthday card and reminded me I was almost over the hill.
WAIT A MINUTE!
How can I be almost over the hill,when I haven't even peaked yet- or
reached the figurative
Top of the Hill!!
I'm still climbing the mountain.
I am not winded or short on oxygen.
No leg cramps either.
I figure by 50 I will just be reaching the summit. Then I should have a good 10 or 15 years of enjoying the view from the top before I start back down at a leisurely pace.
I have never been one to lie or fudge or be evasive about my age.
I didn't want to stay 21 or 25 or 35.
The most monumental or milestone or life changing birthday I think I had was when I turned 16 and got my driver's license and the keys to my Orange and White Pinto with the Orange and Black checkered seats.
Look it was 1976 OK.
30 was no biggie and even 40 hardly made me blink and even 45 went by with a whisper.
I have to admit that 47 left me somewhat melancholy or rather reflective.
I think I am now feel like a grown up. Most days.Well, is some areas.
I think the next year will witness some changes.
I'm not going to the require so much of myself when it comes to being the extended family negotiator, planner and compromiser.
I am not going to have expectations of others, only to be disappointed.
I am not going to Do unto others, I am going to wait until they Do unto me , then respond in kind or not so kind, what ever the case may be.
If I don't really want to go out of my way to do something , then I won't.
What I spend my time and energy and attention on I will for the intrinsic value and feeling it gives me and not for any altruistic reasons or feedback or return from anyone else.
I am going to put my husband, my kids and myself first all the time, I mean really first. And not worry about what others may say, think or feel about that.
I know on the surface all of this sounds really selfish or self centered and in some ways it is.
I think at 47 I have earned a little of that.
One of the most important things I have learned in my many years is that you have to think of yourself as a savings account. If you don't regularly deposit time and attention to yourself , then you have less of yourself to give to others.
You can't operate at a deficit and whatever you put into yourself only grows with interest that compounds daily.
Because there are a lot of people and events and emotions standing in line for a daily withdrawal.
I plan on having a lot more birthdays and I don't plan on spending them bankrupt.
Not in Body.
Not in Mind.
Not in Soul.
Not in Spirit.
Now excuse me while I go wash this dye out of my hair because
Not in Gray either.