A few weeks ago we celebrated Elsa's 3rd "Gotcha Day"...the day that Mr. Anderson walked through the airport gates, holding our tiny Elsa. About 20 pounds and 2 feet later, she is not quite our tiny little Elsa anymore.
I still remember the moment he walked through the gates with her. The buildup, the excitement...we had waited so long for this moment and it was finally here. My hands were shaking so bad, that I could hardly hold baby Kohen. I felt like I wanted to throw up. In the next few moments, our lives would forever change.
When I finally saw her in person for the first time, it was as if I had just given birth. The release of emotions came flooding out. The tears of joy, coupled with the pain and exhaustion of waiting so long for her to join our family.
She was almost 4, and we had already missed 4 years of her life.
I once wrote about how sad I was that I missed so much of her little life. That it pains me that we'll never know what she looked like as a baby. How big she was, did she have hair? When did she take her first steps? What was her first word?
As she gets older, and these questions start to form in her own mind, I realized that the pain I was feeling wasn't for me, but it was for her. I'm sad for her. My heart aches that we aren't able to fill out her family history. That we don't have any pictures of her as an adorable baby (as I'm positive she was). Amidst dealing with this grief, somebody once said to me "You didn't get to experience those things with her, but you'll get to experience all of that with her when she has her own children. You'll get to be a part of first words, and births and crawling...all with her."
I'm sure those moments will be so bittersweet for us both.
Each year on "Gotcha Day", we take a picture with me holding Elsa on my hip. I plan to do this every year until I'm not able to stand anymore---and then I'll just make her crawl up into my lap for the picture. I foresee lots of funny gotcha day pictures! 16 years old...30 years old. I just love this tradition.