This is our summer of lots of important celebrations.
On June 29, Mom and Dad celebrated 60 years of marriage. I meant to write a long story about their lives but got a little distracted with my own.
Then Mom had her 80th birthday last Sunday. Again, I meant to write a lovely story about my wonderful mother, but life kept getting in the way.
Somewhere during this summer both my siblings celebrate 30 years of marriage.
Then Gillian had her 13th birthday on Thursday, but they were not here so we did not get to celebrate together.
BUT TODAY was Annabel's 13th birthday! I have to write about that!
On Facebook I mentioned that it was just her second time to ever celebrate her birthday. Actually we did a small one her first year here but it was so traumatic and she was in no mood to try to understand what we were doing, so it is hard to count that one.
When I was adopting Grace, there was a long period where I knew I was approved to adopt her and I was able to send packages and talk openly about the fact she was my daughter and I was going to adopt her.
For Annabel, my decision to adopt was made a LONG time before I finally was given approval to adopt and at almost the exact same time, I was also told I would be traveling within 2 weeks, so there was no time to send packages.
On her birthday in 2008, we were in our final stages of packing and trying to make sure we were ready to go!
So back to her birthday.
In China, you are considered to be one year old when you are born, but everyone actually celebrates and changes their age at Chinese New Year's. There are not usually individual celebrations for those following the old ways.
BUT you especially don't celebrate your birthday when there is no one to provide the celebration!
There is a group that will send a birthday cake to your child waiting in the orphanage for their birthday. I think that is so funny because the child has no idea or concept of what the cake is, as there really aren't desserts in China, but also what the celebration would be for.
I guess parents do it was much for themselves as their child, especially since most of the children I have seen with the cakes are toddler age.
I was always told that the orphanage director where Grace and Annabel were did not like having anything that would cause attention focused on just one child. Quite a good socialist concept, but not realistic in the US.
Last year, with Annabel still struggling with even basic English, she proclaimed she wanted to go swimming and go down a big slide for her birthday. I combined the two and rented a giant slip and slide to celebrate both Gillian and Annabel's party and they all spent the day in swimsuits in our driveway.
This year, she just wanted to eat at her favorite Chinese restaurant and at CiCi's pizza. Anything more than that would be gravy.
So we went to her favorite Chinese restaurant and I even let both order two packages EACH of spicy seaweed to bring home and some of their favorite dried meat buns. Makes your mouth water! OK, I am one of the few mothers of Chinese girls that will admit I really do not like Chinese food and some of their favorites make me gag! At least they have not asked to order chicken feet to go lately!
We went to the bakery for cupcakes, where she would only pick out her grandparents favorite flavors!
Since most of her wish list was sporting goods, we also went into a sporting goods store. She thought she had died and gone to heaven and quickly decided that was her new favorite place to shop. Only Grace knew I had already bought everything and was just checking to make sure I got the right sizes.
Mom has trained me well to wrap each thing in its own package so it looks like a ton of gifts and she started out squealing before she could even open one. Only Mom and Dad had new wrapping paper and ours looked incredibly like Christmas paper turned wrong side out!
She squealed and clapped and screamed and cheered over each and every item! Mom and Dad had bought her clothes she had picked out from a catalog and I managed to get the baseball bat and glove, as well as a tennis racket and balls for her.
We have wonderful people from church who have kept our mailbox full of birthday cards this week and some even slip in some money!
We ended our day of celebrations at CiCi's Pizza as wished for and I think she had a pretty good day.