That day will forever stand out in my mind...it was like no other I had, or have, experienced. What are you supposed to think on the day you embark on the journey to bring home your sister from Africa? I had nothing to compare my pending experience with. It wasn't like traveling to Kenya, nor was it like either of the births of my brothers. In no way was it like a combination of the two.
We woke up early that morning, following scattered hours of restless, excited sleep. We proceded to spend the remainder of the day on our 12-hour Emirates flight to Dubai, throughout which time I could not decide which way to direct my thoughts. I was unbelievably excited, probably more excited than I'd been in my entire life. To quote my post from June 19th, 2007- 17.5 hours before we were set to jet off from the home which was now to house six people- "The day I've been waiting for for two years is finally right around the corner- it seemed like it would never happen!! It's amazing to think about how my dreams are about to come true..."
The magnitude of what was about to happen, though, was overwhelming. I can relate it to how I similarly felt when I was seven; I had been begging for an American Girl doll ceaselessly, and my biggest wish was to get one for Christmas (which happened to be several months away.) One day- probably to shut me up- my mom conceded: "Okay, you can have one." I couldn't believe how easy it was; I had completely assumed I'd have to fight my way through her arguments against it. I almost didn't want it anymore. I had been yearning for it for so long, and I was alarmed at how soon my wish was to be granted. Of course, I had waited for Sasha for years. Yet in that time, I had so many visions- conscious and subconscious- of how our meeting and lives would be that, when it came finally time, I became nervous. What if she resists us completely? What if she never will feel a part of our family?
And now, here I sit, a year later. It blows my mind how fast the time has gone. Sasha grew from
a baby who knew nothing about us or what was happening to her to a bold, self-confident toddler who is hyper-vigilant and always- amazingly- in the know. Of course, as we watch her take the initiative to feed the cat or load the dishwasher, we can't help but remember the 17-month-old who followed the nannies at the care center on shaky steps, helping arrange cups and plates and plastic chairs. What I guess I never realized in my fantasies was how much of a person she was. In my dreams, she was my sister, relying on me and needing constant attention. But the attention she demands is not out of need but out of pride. And so, in my first annual reflection on when Sasha entered our lives with a bang, I understand not that she shaped our lives, but I realize the numerous ways she does.