We had a most special guest in our home this weekend. My sister-in-law, Craig’s oldest brother’s wife of 25 years, Emily’s mom, “Aunt Carol”, did something courageous and heroic in her life because she could not wait until July’s reunion to meet Kira. She flew from North Carolina, leaving their farm, and visited us here in Houston Texas. She has not been able to fly in an airplane for thirteen years and no amount of need or convincing altered her conviction in all that time. She had a horrifying experience in a small craft during a terrible lightning storm, after which she said, No More. I can remember a flight like that with Donny on my lap at age two. We were flying from DC to Roanoke VA, our home then, and I could see lightning everywhere, the thunder shook my bones and the plane bounced through the storm like a playground ball. I was so sick, so unable to cope, that I swore I’d never ride a small plane again. So when Carol drew her line after a similar experience I understood.
But Aunt Carol has the most incredible weakness for babies, that this wee child propelled her to abandon her conviction, face her fear and overcome for the pleasure of having her in her arms, earning kisses, and receiving smiles. I can relate to that as well, as I circled the earth for this exact same pleasure. Carol and I in so many ways are two peas in a pod. One of my life’s pleasures is to call her sister and friend.
Carol arrived on Thursday afternoon, safe and fine. It was so funny how she mentioned to me that she sat between two women and she really wanted to talk to them. She wanted to say, “this was my first time to fly in thirteen years.” But they were so immersed in what they were doing it was clear hello was as far as they would go. This anti-social airplane behavior must have developed into a norm while Carol was not flying. No one ever wants to talk to people on airplanes these days. I know I don’t. And I don’t usually encounter someone who does. However, I will say flying home from Uganda with my dark baby caused a lot of attention, I felt eyes on me, and questions were at the tip of the tongue just waiting for my eye contact. When one person finally asked, the whole plane was listening, and soon smiling. Babies will do that.
Carol barely said hello before she had a present in Kira’s hand. She was home with us for minutes and already flush in love and eager to participate in all manners of baby care. I loved it. All I wanted was to step aside and watch the two of them fall in love. And they did. Carol has been homeschooling her four children all her adult life, so I wasn’t at all surprised they were on the floor among piles of books for as long as time allowed.
We put Kira to bed that night and Carol came with me to my church for the adoption encouragement meeting where I was asked to share our story about our adoption. It was fascinating for Carol to learn how different it is to parent an adopted child and it gave us much to consider and discuss. I was so happy I could share this with her. That night she and Kira shared a room and the two of them had a party all night long! Neither of them went to bed until three in the morning, which explained the two very long naps they each took on Friday while I ran errands.
Friday evening both Craig and Donny came home in time for dinner. It was all of us together at the table to close out the most hectic week of my life (house went on the market). Sitting around the table, laughing, talking, sharing stories and learning from one another was and is the highlight of my life. We actually sat there until ten-thirty mostly talking about the culture of Uganda and our plans with the orphanage. This was way past when I turn into a pumpkin. I realized I had talked more in twenty-four hours than I usually do in four weeks. But that was all we had, we had to squeeze it into that short bit because at eight in the morning Craig returned Carol to the airport, while we slipped out of the house for another showing. By three in the afternoon on Saturday, I collapsed into bed and slept until the next morning. It was that kind of a week. But I will say having Carol visit and watching her fall in love with Kira, and for Kira to also discover the incredible qualities of her new Aunt at the same time was an absolute delight for me.
I will admit, I wondered if Kira would reject me in favor for a nicer more doting Aunt who doesn’t have to uphold rules in the same way a mama does. It was something I was willing to risk for the pleasure of sharing her with Carol. I could go back a few steps and regain them. It was worth it for them to bond. Carol’s visit was a good opportunity for me to assess how our bonding and attachment is progressing. I am so pleased and thankful I can report that Kira didn’t treat me any differently. She smiles at me, calls me mama, wants me first when she’s insecure, and listens carefully when I correct her. She brightens with my praise and cuddles me endlessly. I’m thinking our bonding and attachment is secure! We have done it. Whew, what an unexpected, isolated, bumpy road establishing our bond was for me. I’m thinking that smooth crowded highway is looking pretty good.