Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot, but the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville - did not. The Grinch hated Christmas - the whole Christmas season. Now, please don't ask why; no one quite knows the reason. It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight. Or it could be that his head wasn't screwed on just right. But I think that the most likely reason of all may have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
My kids and I love How the Grinch stole Christmas. The girls like it because the whole idea of Whoville is fun and fabulous. The colors are bright. People in Whoville are happy and good.
But me? I like the Grinch.
At times, we all have a bit of the Grinch in us.
Evangeline's been home a year. Her anniversary, July 25th, the day we landed on American soil, has come and gone.
I started a montage, pictures documenting her year. I'll finish it and post it here and on facebook and friends and family will comment and ooh and ahh and talk about how much Evie has grown. "Her hair is so long!" "She is so pretty!"
And it's true. Her hair is like corn silk. She's beautiful. Her face is shaped like a heart.
But if I were to document her first year, honestly, the pictures would be very different.
There would be pictures of me crying on Sergei's shoulder. "I can't do this. She's not who I expected her to be."
There would be a picture of Evangeline with a huge knot in the middle of her forehead from hitting her head repeatedly on the bars of her crib.
There would be pictures of me with scratches on my face from trying to hug her. Probably another snap shot of me with my back to her, or a picture of my face bright red and sweating from anger over her rejection.
But who wants to watch a montage like that?
Pictures of hope would be thrown in though. There have been some beautiful moments of bonding with Evie. The night I stayed with her in the hospital after her tonsillectomy was monumental for our relationship. I really felt like her mother, lying next to her in the hospital bed, kissing her brow, praying for the pain to go away. It was a much needed mommy badge.
Sometimes I feel like the Grinch mother of the adoption world. My heart, at times, is just too small to love her properly.
But last night, Evie stayed up later than the other children. I sat on the floor with her, pulled out a few toys that she has shown mild interest in and invited her to play. And she came over to me, sat down and interacted with the toys. She banged two plastic rings together and was mesmerized by Polly's glow worm (Who could blame her? I think the glow worm is hands down the coolest lovey. I might start sleeping with one). None of this in and of itself is amazing.
The amazing things were her eyes and my heart.
Evie kept eye contact almost the whole time. And I saw her. I looked into her eyes and saw my daughter. The little girl who is mostly closed off to the world. She's so delicate. She's been through so much. She is created in the image of God.
My heart split open. I could taste my salty tears.
I have to cling to these times. They are like email from God. It's his urging to keep going, that this was his plan for Evie to be my daughter. Just like Elaina, and Zoya and Polly... God's design was for me to be Evangeline's mother from the beginning of time.
We played for about a half hour, a banner amount of time in Evie's world. At one point she rested on me; laid her hand gently on my leg, her palm opened up to heaven.
And like the Grinch, my heart grew two times that day.
Now I know some of you will say, "Gillian, stop putting yourself down. You are doing great. You don't give yourself enough credit!" I get you. But please understand. The real beauty is in the actual journey, the bumpy ride, the up and down-ness of this path. Our relationship is growing through the hard times. I don't believe I would experience this kind of joy otherwise.
Happy one year anniversary to my beautiful fourth daughter.
You are changing my world.
You are an instrument of God.
You are changing me.