Reed had his nine month birthday the day after I got back from Bali. I know it annoys some people when parents acknowledge every single month-birthday in the first couple of years of their child’s life, but I can’t help it. For me it’s another month of being without him, wondering what he’s doing, another month of me missing him. For Doug and Maura, it’s another month of watching in amazement how he’s growing, getting to know this little man who’s now a part of their family. Also, nine months of course marks this important milestone for me: Reed has now been with Doug and Maura longer than he was ever with me.
(Me, sipping tea and enjoying the view in Bali)
My week long vacation in Bali was amazing, but I thought about this upcoming nine month mark constantly. I was traveling with a friend, and I found myself trying hard not to talk about Reed all the time. He was always on my mind, I thought about him everywhere we went. I looked everywhere for a gift for him, but ended up getting nothing because I couldn’t decide on anything perfect enough for him (I’m going to have to work on that). I finally got him a postcard but even that took me forever to decide on; I wanted it to be the perfect postcard that he could look at later and be inspired by what is waiting for him out in the world. I thought about all the things I want for him in his life, how I don’t want him to be hindered by anything from seeking and living out his dreams, and how I want to live my life to be an inspiration to him. I think just being in Bali would have made me more introspective anyway, it’s just the kind of place that has that kind of effect. But with the impending nine-month mark and everything it meant to me, I was taken back to my days in Thailand, when I first found out about Reed, when it was just me and him hanging out on a beach, snorkeling, eating and eating and eating, and I would talk to him and sing to him and tell him about the kind of life we’re living now and the kind of life he’s going to have.
(Me -and Reed- in Thailand on a snorkling boat, April 2009)
(Reed and Doug at Doug's kiln)
Emotions about Reed have been running high for me lately. For starters, I finally bought my plane ticket back to the States to see him over Christmas. Just thinking about seeing him again after he’s changed so much brings on a flood of emotions! I have two weeks off for the holidays, but Doug and Maura have other family to visit, so they will only be in NC for one week of my vacation. I’ll only have one week to be with him, one week to get to know him all over again. That made the prospect of spending another week without him seem miserable to me. I had to get over that by thinking about the opportunity I’ll have to go to Texas to visit other friends and family that I love and cherish, a trip that I wasn’t planning on before. Other things that have brought up emotions are songs I’ve been hearing that I use to sing to Reed when I was pregnant in Alaska, being constantly surrounded by babies on the public transport system, even watching a movie preview. Seriously, have you seen the preview for the film “Babies?” It’s a film that follows the first year of the lives of four different babies from four different parts of the world. Just watching the trailer made me cry, thinking about all of the things I’m missing in the first year of Reed’s life.
But it’s not all depressing. For starters, this is what we planned. This is what I decided on. I have this life to live, and even with all the tears, I absolutely love it. I love being in Singapore, I love having all the free time I have with my incredibly easy job, I love the people I’ve met here, the exploring I get to do, the independence I get to have, being so closely surrounded by other countries with other cultures so completely different than my own, and having open doors of opportunities stretched out before me for seemingly endless miles. With a teachers schedule here, my year is sprinkled with one week vacations and I’m already planning out a list of different places I want to visit. I plan on taking every opportunity I can to make the most of my time here.
Another thing is that’s not depressing for me to think about at all is Reed’s life and the opportunities in his future. Doug and Maura told me from the very first conversation with me that “the more people that love a child, the better” and Reed has so many people who are head over heels in love with him. Doug and Maura of course want the very best for Reed and are doing everything they can to provide a spectacular life for him. And then there’s Bill and me, who hope to be inspiration, role models, and tools of encouragement for Reed to have everything he needs to make his life spectacular. I love and am excited for Reed’s life of possibilities just as much as my own.
(Maura and Reed- he's not walking yet but he's enjoying pulling people around!)