It is 1:30 a.m., and Matthew has probably boarded his plane, which (if all is on schedule) left Inchon Airport in South Korea a little after 1 a.m.
In fact, he has probably already lifted off, inching his way ever closer into our life at last.
I wish I could say that I am sleeping now, but my life as a mother has already begun with THIS sleepless night.
(Time to trudge downstairs to retrieve the melatonin that will ease me into la-la-land at last.)
I feel like I did when I was five, and it was Christmas Eve, and it was just too exciting to sleep.
OK, that experience but multiplied by about 5,000, with emotions so much more intense.
I wanted it to get here, but I didn't, because then, it would be over.
This is hard to explain.
I have so many feelings, I can barely get my arms and my head around them.
When I take him for the first time, will my hands be trembling? (probably)
Will I faint? What if I faint? (Jeff: "Honey, you won't faint.")
What about all the strangers looking at us? I'm not sure I want all these strangers looking at us. (My mom: "I guarantee you, you will not see those strangers looking at you. You'll be too busy looking at HIM!")
What if I'm overcome with so much emotion that I can't manage him? (My friend [can't remember who]: "Your instincts will kick in and you'll know what to do. You'll immediately be busy caring for him.")
I cannot even believe this day is finally here. It's so very surreal.
My parents arrived after a long, 6.5-hour drive from PA that should have taken 4 hours, tops. Rt. 81 was a mess (closed for 1 hour; they just sat there).
Jeff's parents came over tonight and we all had a wonderful dinner together.
Jeff joked about it being "the last supper."
We talked and speculated about Matthew, about what he'd be like.
Our moms coached us, told us (or, I should say, told me) to relax and just let it happen.
"You'll know what to do."
My mom said, "Kathleen, just HAVE FUN WITH HIM. Enjoy him."
We hopped on the Internet to look up his flight.
We wondered where he was at that particular moment.
Getting on a shuttle bus or van or into a car, departing for the airport, maybe?
Saying good-bye to foster mom and dad.
I am feeling very sad for Matthew's foster parents,
for his "umma" (his foster mom) who is very attached to and who he will apparently be crying for.
She and her husband have cared for him since he was 4 months old.
And I am also thinking of, and honoring, his birth parents,
without whom Matthew--and the new reality that is "us"--would not have been possible.
Without them, we would not be having this amazing experience of parenthood,
of walking across the bridge to our beginning--our beginning as a family with children. Finally.
As I close my eyes tonight, the last thing I will be thinking of will be Matthew, his birth parents, and his foster parents.
And our future together as a family.
Please say a prayer for Matthew's safe flight
for no weather-related delays (a challenge during December)
and for our happy union at Dulles Airport about 17 hours from now.
I am completely overcome with emotion
overwhelmed with anxiety (my life as a worrying mom has officially begun)
and trembling with excitement.
just plain old happy.
He is almost home!
How do I describe these feelings in words on a keyboard?
I don't (at least, not adequately).
But I can make my best attempt.
Some things are too powerful to be cast into firm shapes such as words and letters, as much as I adore all aspects of language and writing and recording our lives for our kids.
Some experiences are just not meant to be pressed into a hard mold with edges and restrictions, even if the intent is to save the feelings for posterity, to be able to look back with your son years from now and say, "Bingo! THAT's what it felt like."
'cuz that is kind of like harnessing the wind
or drawing a picture of breath or air
or bottling the smell of the ocean.
How do you do it?
Maybe you just don't.
So I won't
I will just end with this:
Please keep us close in your thoughts and hearts.
I continue to feel your arms around us, my friends,
blessing us, loving us, supporting us.
I continue to feel like the luckiest person on the planet...
for all of the reasons and explanations
that I cannot begin to bottle
into something that has boundaries, edges, and a lid...
a beginning and an end.
Our son is coming home,
and I am filled to overflowing
with a joy that I have never before known.
A busy day awaits.
I love you, my son.