Twelve months. Fifty-two weeks. Three hundred sixty-five days. Eight thousand seven hundred sixty hours. Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes. And thirty-one million five hundred thirty-six thousand seconds.
Not that I'm counting.
Okay, so I'm counting. But it's only because that since we've been given the gift of you, Lilia, the time seems so much more precious somehow.
The first time I held you was not when a nurse placed you in my arms, as is usually the case for mommies. The first time I held you was when a courageous young girl placed you in my arms -- when she let go of you forever. To your Daddy and I, little Peanut, that somehow makes the gift of you all the more precious. Truly, you were given to us. And truly, Peanut, we wouldn't have it any other way.
I remember being a little freaked out because, when I first saw you, I wasn't stricken with love-sickness immediately, and that is how I imagined it would be. Somehow I thought that when I saw the child who would be ours, my heart would flitter and flutter uncontrollably, that I would be helplessly captivated by every giggle and coo. But it wasn't like that, and I remember how that scared me.
The fear didn't last long. You won my heart on the drive home. You won it again the next day when you tried to lift that big head of yours off the floor. And the next day when I watched your Daddy dance with you around the living room. Since that day, one year ago exactly, you've just kept winning our hearts.
There have been days in this year when I've forgotten that I was never pregnant with you. There are these nebulous thoughts about what maternity clothes I wore, what food I craved, and even the day you were born. Then, like waking up from a shallow sleep and the first shadowy images of dreams, I remember that you were adopted. It's so strange to me, these times when I forget, but also very real and very endearing. The reason I forget is because having you is a little like falling in love -- the heart gets lost in the mystery of it all until the heart is simply owned. You belong to us. That's all there is to it.
I once heard a big, burly, godly man once tearfully confess, "If anything terrible ever happened to my kids, I can't think of any greater way to break my heart."
I didn't know then what he meant, but I know now. Oh how we love you, little Peanut, so fiercely and so fully, not born of our bodies, but born of our love and in our hearts.