I got to take a wonderfully restorative 3-mile walk last Sunday with these two lovelies under a bright blue sky through gorgeous, park-like green spaces in our capital city. It was not unlike the first walks we made with Annie in China last June, except that it was a brisk 50-something degrees, not 90 degrees with what felt like 100 percent humidity, which feels like a lifetime ago.
Nikki said that as we walked, then added, “Or it feels like it just happened.” And we laughed.
I know the feeling. Was it really eight months ago that we brought this child in a wheelchair on a jet for a 13-hour flight to San Francisco to then take her to her forever home in Sacramento? So much has happened in those eight months, including a summer and a fall and a Northern California winter that brought a definitive end to five years of drought (whether the state water people say so officially or not). We have had so much rain, so much snow in our Sierra Nevada mountains, that we NorCal folks are waterlogged. Our rivers are running swift and high. Our flooded Yolo Causeway built to take the overflow from the Sacramento River is a virtual sea. In satellite photos it looks like a thick brown artery running vertically down the state.
So we are wishing for spring, and we got a taste of it Sunday on our walk not far from that overfull river, through green spaces and parks where some trees are already bursting into flower, as they do here in February—others bearing hopeful buds, harbingers, as they say, of leaves and warmth to come.
And as Nikki and I talked, and Annie (resplendent in pink with her new pink spectacles) rode along in her bright green jogger, I thought again of miracles… this mom and this child coming together eight months ago in China, their incredible journey home, and the great joy they find in each other as their lives unfold together in Sacramento.
Annie has grown five inches, has gained probably 10 pounds, is still learning English, still loves music and all things pink. She can see so much better with her glasses. She’s enjoying her new school that has so many more opportunities for physical and occupational therapy… not to mention speech therapy. Her school has a contraption that holds Annie while she sits on the potty, and she goes pee and poop once she’s on there. Her teachers tell Nikki that Annie is very smart (we knew that!), and they are looking into ways of helping her communicate, even if she has little speech.
We walked through a small tunnel where Nikki paused and called out, “Annie!” so we could hear the echo. Annie grinned, turned her head to look up at us and laughed.
Nikki is a wonderful mother. She has biceps that look like a bodybuilder’s from her daily Annie lifting. Nikki is busy with her own job as well as taking Annie to appointments and getting services for her. There has been so much progress; there is so much more to come. They both lift my heart and spirit.
As we walked, I was so grateful to be in their presence and let my silent prayer float up to those new buds, those happy flowers, full of promise: thankyouthankyouthankyou.