Thursday, January 22, 2009

Forever Lily

Mia has a unique view on boys and dating. A couple of months ago, she informed me out of the blue that she had a boyfriend. I swallowed hard and asked her for his name. She named a boy in her class and followed up with, "But he doesn't know it yet, so we have to keep it a secret." I smothered a giggle and nodded in agreement. Two weeks ago she said that she was going on a date on her second recess. My eyes about popped out of my head and asked her what she meant by a date. Her response was that she had decided it was time to let this boy know that he was in fact her boyfriend, and so she was going to tell him at the second recess, hence a date. Jesse talked to her before bed that night letting her know that you can't just tell a boy he is your boyfriend, and that she's actually too young to date. She accepted that without complaint, and that was the end of it until yesterday. After school, she said that had a real boyfriend so she didn't need her pretend one (a stuffed Sneetch) anymore. Thinking that she had changed her mind, I asked her who he was. With a roll of the eyes and a "Mo-om" worthy of her teenaged sister, she said that it was still the original boy. I said, "Mia, honey, does he know that he's' your boyfriend yet?" And she replied as she had two months ago, "No Mommy! It's a secret." I can see that raising Mia is going to always be interesting.

Forever Lily by Beth Nonte Russell is a moving memoir of how a woman's quest to find herself brings her instead to adopt a Chinese baby girl who stole her heart. Russell traveled to China with her friend, Alex, to help Alex adopt a baby girl. But when they arrived in China and Alex met the girl who was to be her daughter, she couldn't find any love in her heart for the infant. Russell was initially forced to change and feed the child, but quickly found her heart stolen by the dignity and sadness in Baby's face. Russell captures her head over heels fall into love with a child who almost immediately owned her heart with grace and joy. The reader can't help but ache with Russell as Alex plays tug of war with her emotions going from Here, take the baby to I want the baby. Russell's anecdotes about the adoption and the crisis state of the orphanages in China are well written and thoroughly enjoyable. Less enjoyable are her "dreams" that she intersperses throughout the book which correspond a little too closely to the events in her life. Russell believes in reincarnation and seems to be channeling a former life as Empress of China. Yeah, Empress, no one is ever a peasant. Those stories diminish the power and quality of a story which should be about the growing love between a mother and daughter and instead becomes a woman's self-indulgent analysis of her past life.

Mia, Molly, and I are going to see Howard in the hospital tomorrow. A CAT scan found a major infection in his leg which had to be removed, and now there is some inflammation around his gallbladder, but he is too unstable for surgery. Otherwise there are no new changes. I'll update you tomorrow after our visit.