Friends, yesterday was one of the most exhausting and most rewarding days of my life.
I don’t really even know where to begin with all that I want to share with you. But yesterday was one of those days that pulled at ALL my heart strings.
This girl turned 10 years old yesterday. On her 9th birthday, she was in an orphanage. No presents. No party. No family. I’m not saying that for dramatic effect. It’s the truth. And I have to remind myself of it daily to try and somewhat comprehend what she is thinking and feeling each day with all of these “firsts.”
She has been home with us for 10 months now, and almost since the first day she has asked me continually, “How many days until my birthday?”
This girl has been waiting not-so-patiently for her birthday for 10 months. But honestly, she has been waiting for this day much longer. Something about yesterday felt like it was a dream come true for her. I wondered if last year, as she laid in her bed at the orphanage, if she may have dreamt about what it would be like to have a REAL birthday party with REAL friends and a REAL family? For some older orphans, that dream never comes true, and it breaks my heart. I am so very grateful that the Lord rescued Sania, and that HE picked us to be her family.
I’ve never seen her so happy. She woke up to a birthday balloon and flowers, and she asked me, “Why you do this for my mommy?” Because I love you, sweet girl.
While eating breakfast she turned to me and said, “I’m happy, mom. VERY happy today.” I know, baby. :)
I dropped her and Eli off at school, and I was so excited for her because I knew her teachers and classmates would be telling her Happy Birthday and making her feel special. I knew that sweet little 3rd grade hands would be drawing Happy Birthday messages on scrap pieces of construction paper and laying them on her desk.
I told her that I would be bringing cupcakes to school that day for her (and Eli who’s birthday is tomorrow,) and she asked, “Mommy, why you do that for me?” Because I love you, sweet girl.
Jonathan helped me take the cupcakes and drinks to the classroom yesterday, and when I walked in the classroom, Sania jumped up from her desk and jumped up into my arms. Literally. She jumped up to hug me and wrapped her legs around my waist just like a toddler. The kids in the classroom giggled a little at the sight. But no worries, Sania didn’t hear a thing because she was too busy squeezing my neck and saying, “I love you, Mommy! I love you, Mommy!”
As I sat her down, she told me how happy she was, and how happy she was that I was there. I showed her her Hello Kitty cupcakes, and she said, “Aw mom, why you do this for me?” Because I love you, sweet girl.
She could barely contain her excitement as she passed out the cupcakes to her friends. Eli was passing his basketball cupcakes out at the same time, and I couldn’t help but just marvel at how much my little girl’s life has changed since last year.
Everyone sang Happy Birthday to Sania and Eli, and she just smiled from ear to ear. What was going through her little mind? Not only did she have a classroom full of friends singing to her, but a fiercely protective and devoted brother beside her as well.
Speaking of protective…..do you even know how much her daddy loves her?! Oh my word. Cy is head over heals in love with his little girl, and I couldn’t help but cry when I saw what he wrote on our Facebook page yesterday…
That night, we had a small little swim party for her with a few of her friends from school and church.
Sania was beyond excited at having a real party, with real presents, real cake and ice cream, and a real family. It was like she couldn’t believe that it was actually happening.
Cy took this video of us singing Happy Birthday to her on his phone. I have watched this video a hundred times, and I have fought back tears every time. You can see and feel the complete and utter JOY inside of her. You can watch her eyes as she looks around the room as if she is trying to soak in every minute and every word. After she blows out her candles, she claps in excitement and gives me the biggest hug!! I will never be able to put into words the JOY that we were all feeling. It wasn’t that she was getting cake and ice cream and presents….it was about the fact that our little girl was no longer lost or forgotten. She was no longer alone. She is and forever will be surrounded by the love of family and friends. And most importantly, the Love of God.
That night, as I tucked her in bed, she could barely hold her chlorine-blood-shot eyes open as we recounted the events of the day. She was exhausted, but told me that today was the best day of her life. :) I rubbed her cheeks and kissed her forehead and told her Happy Birthday one last time and that we love her forever.
As I closed the door to her room, I smiled as I thought of how different her sweet little dreams would be from last year. Her birthday dreams had come true, and God gave me the blessing of being a witness to it all. I am forever and ever grateful.
Several times today, Cy and I have talked about yesterday and how we both have never seen Sania so happy. We both have had many amazing, wonderful, heart exploding times with Sania over the past year, but yesterday…well, yesterday takes the cake! Literally. :) Seeing the world through her little eyes has been life changing. To see the healing that God is doing in her heart is inexplainable. And to experience the love that we have for her is beyond anything we could have ever imagined.
In a world that seems absolutely crazy at times, we have simple moments like these, and we realize that this is what life is really all about. TO GOD BE THE GLORY.