Although I’ve been on a bit of a blog hiatus this summer to be more present for our superheroes, I really had intended to write a full Gotcha/Family Day post.
Yesterday, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of the day we met the crazy and charismatic boy we now just call “Superhero 4,” and today, we celebrate one full year since that day when that boy we now can’t picture our lives without became legally, officially, forever and ever ours!
We’re all about making special days special in this celebration-loving home, and besides celebrating our one-year mark as a family of six with ridiculous matching shirts and Chinese take-out and a day full of fun and family, I was planning to post a million words and five bajillion pictures showcasing the progress that this spicy-as-he-is-sweet superhero has made just one year inside our [terribly, extremely, Jesus-take-the-wheel-because-we’ve-got-us-nothing] imperfect home.
I was going to brag up and down (because bragging is a whole lot more socially acceptable when you clearly didn’t contribute any genes to the subject of your boast) about this boy’s drive — both the literal and figurative kind. About how the once 3-year-old boy who came to us as “immobile” — the one who we were told “might never walk” — now races through parking lots and even once stood up and crossed an entire room.
About his smarts. About how the boy who was supposed to be “cognitively delayed” cracked both my parental controls AND my Amazon Prime password and ordered himself more than $40 of Mickey Mouse cartoons while we were entertaining friends. (Thank you, Amazon, for being so understanding when this too-smart-for-his-own-britches boy literally started one minute of each show, making the digital content unreturnable, and giving me a refund anyway. I have now created double passwords 75 characters long in two different languages and promise not to allow my phone anywhere in stealing distance of my future hacker. Thank you.)
About the personality once described in a report as “timid” and how, five minutes into our family, it became bigger than life. About how the boy whose file called him “shy” and “paralyzed” by the attention of others lives for the Big Lots compliments of ladies who gift him dollar bills when they see how hard he works for the mobility we take for granted every day.
About how this little ham and a half loves him an audience, and about how this charismatic character makes himself the star of every show (and constantly creates new songs and shows to ensure it).
I was going to share about his favorites. His passions. Everything he loves about this life he fully seizes each and every day.
About his favorite foods (all of them on planet earth, especially green veggies, in quantities of three-or-more plates at a time), his favorites activities (eating, swimming, reading Disney books, riding his plasma car, completing yoga routines with Dad and constructing or destroying Legos), his most consistent obsessions (bowties, his favorite teachers, his best girl-pause-friend Monroe, the letter D and the number five) and his hilarious habits (my favorite, requesting to snuggle others’ feet).
How he constantly talks about donuts but doesn’t actually like eating them (or anything sweeter than, say, a dish of noodles, although he will eat anything placed in front of him and did down him some ice cream on Gotcha Day), and how he’s head over heels for babies, brothers, grandparents and the classic version of Mickey Mouse (and how much we regret telling him five months early that his grandparents are taking us all to Disneyworld to celebrate his fifth birthday later this year).
How he loves a great adventure and doesn’t let anyone or anything tell him he “can’t.”
Learn to walk.
Play in the rain.
Climb a jungle gym.
Maximize the joy of summer like any other kid.
How, although he pretends to be shy upon meeting newbies, he’s the extrovert of all extroverts. One who seeks the spotlight and consistently maintains it with his contagious smile, belly laughter, and, when all else fails, his tongue-out, finger-pointing dance.
How “snuggle” is still his favorite word and, with two fingers in his mouth, he’ll snuggle and “hold you me” all day long.
And yes, how he’s a brother-proclaimed “mama’s boy” who has finally learned to allow Daddy to put him to bed when he’s home in time (and who, at 11 months home, with two intensive weeks of Daddy sleeping-on-the-floor-by-his-bed intervention, finally started SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT! Can I hear a hallelujah in the house tonight?!).
Let’s just be humble for a second.
It was going to be great.
But there was no time yesterday for writing that post.
Because we spent the three days prior to Gotcha Day hosting Joy’s fantastic forever family (who has now become ours) and, after feeling full to overflowing watching Joy sign and sing and dance and thrive in the context of her new family during the day, Joy’s new mama and I stayed up way too late each night chatting on porch rocking chairs about communities and relationships and life and kids in the yellow light of thunderstorms, and once, under a bed of meteor showers.
I thought I’d write the big one-year-home post after I dried my tears from farewelling our forever niece’s fabulous family first thing yesterday morning.
But then Superhero 1 came down with his second ear infection of the season and became deaf. (It took me two weeks to take him back to the doctor because I swore our 12-year-old superhero was just a teenager in practice.)
We realized that the baking powder we’d use to mask the vomit smell we’d tried to remove from the van two days before still needed vacuumed. (Note: When driving 11 people in a large van through winding back country roads, always keep a trash can near … and open … and away from the Bibles and devotionals you keep in the front seat for those days you need to spend your 10 seconds at a stoplight with four kids in the car praying to Jesus instead of threatening their lives. Angela Kreh and Stephanie Holman, you are the best vomit clean-up crew anywhere around these here parts!)
Our trash was overflowing from two major cookouts in three weekend days and the paper plates from a slew of children I cared more about playing with than cleaning up after. (So sorry, environment. We will wash dishes for the next 17 months of our lives to make up for the inordinate amount of paper products we consumed with nine children sleeping in our home this week.) And a dump run before the surefire garage infestation of large Southern bugs was not an option.
I thought I might be able to fit in a quick one-year-home post during “quiet time” (AKA, Mom’s summer trick to convince my children I love their reading hour more than their silence during it), right between the second load of guest room linens and the moment when I realized that the gift we had indeed purchased for Superhero 4’s Family Day was still sitting unwrapped in the basement.
But I didn’t have time for that, because, like any good fourth-time parent who threw her first kid a Pinterest-perfect party for all special occasions and barely remembers the age or year of birth of the fourth, I had to first find a means of wrapping our gift. I eventually threw the Mickey bathing suit our youngest superhero would go nuts about in a used bag with the words “Happy 1st Birthday” (close enough) and topped it with the mismatching tissue paper I proceeded to steal from other gifts still sitting around the house.
I might have been able to fit in blog post writing between our special ice cream date and our traditional Chinese Gotcha Day dinner.
But at our favorite farm stand ice cream store, Superhero 4 climbed the play house pirate ship and got trapped underneath an abnormally large nail. (The stand employee had to come with tools and take it out.)
Superhero 2 found himself dying of thirst and, after unlocking the vehicle to grab himself a water, kindly locked our keys in the passenger side seat of the van.
The professional at the towing company who arrived an hour later to unlock my vehicle (and who called me by name, because he remembered the time just three months before that he had arrived at our house to break us free of the vehicle Superhero 1 had locked when he tried to start the car for us so we wouldn’t leave for school in a sauna) wasn’t able to bust our van open this time. Because this time, the car wasn’t running, and using his fancy stick gadget to roll down the windows wasn’t an option. Although it did leave some nice red marks on the door.
After 25 minutes in the heat, he told us that the fancy features on our 2016 used passenger van made it theft proof, and none of us his tricks would work on this one.
It only makes sense that the lowest-model van that didn’t even have power seats would include safety features that would keep us out of it.
Thankfully, our dear and amazing friend who will go unnamed to protect her role in the illegal transportation of way too many children, two of whom rode double seatbelted with a walker balanced on their heads for five miles in the back seat of an SUV, drove all five of us in her vehicle to the home of my parents, where we were scheduled to meet for a casual Chinese take-out dinner.
Only, by the time Super-Spouse arrived at my parents’ house (God bless them) to drive us to our locked out car and save us from ourselves (and the now underwear-swimming slew of children who were enjoying the pool in the back yard while their swimming suits and pool gear were locked in a van at a farm stand a few miles away), hangriness had ensued.
But we had a plan.
Super-Spouse and I were going to drive his car to mine, unlock it with his set of keys and, on the way back to the house where hungry, naked children awaited, pick up the Gotcha Day Chinese we were going to call in along the way.
Only the Chinese restaurant located immediately outside the neighborhood didn’t answer the phone when we tried to call in the order.
Because they, like all normal Chinese restaurants, are apparently closed on Tuesdays.
By the time we located a new Chinese restaurant, sent Super-Spouse to the further location to pick up the grub and throw tubs of Mongolian beef and shrimp noodles on the table (but not chicken lo mein, because the restaurant forgot that one on the order), Superhero 4 was already asking if he could go to the hibachi grill for his big day instead.
Because he’d seen Superman celebrate his birthday there, and surely the man making onion volcanos and tossing chicken pieces into the mouths of bystanders could get better food on the table faster than this crew.
“No, buddy, Superhero 4 gets Chinese take-out to celebrate what we were doing one year ago in China. Isn’t that exciting?!” I tried to pitch in my very best I’m-not-exhausted-at-all-from-this-day voice.
He then pointed to his special matching shirt — the one we all wore on our plane ride to China one year before.
“Superhero 4 Gotcha Day. Superhero 4 hibachi grill!”
By the time we convinced our sassy superhero that take-out Chinese from a place where the man who answered the phone didn’t even speak Chinese was on the same level as cooked-in-front-of-you filet mignon, Superman was crying (because his medical needs restrict him from fried crab rangoons), Superhero 2 was making drug deals for the egg rolls we apparently didn’t order enough of and Superhero 4 was picking at his now soaking pants, wet from the underwear he had swam in but not yet let dry before dressing again.
And by the time we transported all four superheroes home and gifted Superhero 4 the beaten up bag with the mismatching tissue paper, although Superhero 4 thanked us profusely for the “best Gotcha Day ever” (because he apparently still maintains orphanage standards), the writer in me had already died.
But don’t worry! I still plan to write a gushing post highlighting the beauty and wonder and amazingness of this superhero we love so much!
For our second-year home anniversary.
I’ll just have to start it now.