It’s remarkable to look back on this day ten years ago. How is it possible that we’ve had a decade with T-man already?
This seems like a great time to describe T-man’s homecoming, or what we’ve always celebrated as his “Gotcha” day.
After leaving the agency with T-man, we realized we were pretty darn unprepared at home. That would be how we found ourselves stopping at Babies ‘R Us on the drive back…BrightSide, me, and a baby that needed, well, everything.
We walked through those doors into what was essentially a foreign land. After settling T-man into the shopping cart’s seat (we were old school — aka unprepared — no protective germ covers for him) we stopped the first employee we saw and then looked at each other, unsure what to do next. But we needed serious help and knew being direct would be the fastest way to get it, so we told her we’d just picked up our son with basically a crib, car seat, and high chair to our names. The only thing we knew for sure was the diaper size and special formula he needed — everything else was a mystery.
That sweet young woman became our personal shopper, walking us up and down the aisles, pointing out things we’d need to have at home for the newest member of our family. My brain got more and more foggy, a combination of excitement, information overload, and the fact that I’d skipped lunch so my blood sugar was tanking. After we’d been there for about an hour T-man started fussing and then progressed to crying. BrightSide and I looked at each other like “Now what?”, which is when the woman very kindly asked when he had last eaten.
Whoops. We’d only had him five hours and I’d already had my first mom-of-the-year moment…I hustled him off to the ladies’ room to mix up a bottle while BrightSide tried to wrap things up with the shopping. Pretty soon we were on the road again.
I was also using our travel time to make the most fun calls ever.
I was teaching at the Catholic school the year T-man came home. My principal knew BrightSide and I were pursuing adoption and had been incredibly supportive; while I wasn’t telling friends or family about how close we were to having a son, I’d needed to tell her. There was one week left in the school year, and the simple fact was if T-man came home then I wouldn’t be coming back. She didn’t even bat an eye as she said not to worry for a minute, that they’d handle it.
After leaving my dad a message to call me (I wasn’t exactly putting this kind of surprise in a voicemail), I called my principal to share our wonderful news and let her know they’d be finishing the year without me. She was so thrilled for us that she asked if she could share it with the 8th graders. After I agreed I heard her call out the news and then heard loud cheers from the room. A friend later told me that they announced we’d brought home our son before praying the afternoon rosary that day — this was led over the intercom in every classroom — and that’s how the entire Catholic school student body knew about T-man before my own family did.
Believe it or not, the day still held a few more surprises. After we got home my team teacher and another friend arrived bearing supplies that we had no idea we needed for a 10-month-old. Sippy cups, snack cups, a supply of Cheerios for T-man to enjoy, and a ton of other things that made our house a home for this new baby. It was like having our own Superwomen swooping in to save the inexperienced baby mama. (Really, when you think about it, this sounds like we’d never been around babies before. How did we get that far into the process without stocking supplies?!)
There were two dogs waiting for us at home, and they had no idea what to make of this new creature that had invaded their territory. He cried, he moved around, and he took all of my attention. Our German Shepherd/Lab mix was cool with it, but the miniature dachshund turned out to be pretty possessive. I went upstairs with BrightSide while he lowered the crib so we could put T-man to bed, and when I returned to the family room the dachshund had left an enormous puddle right on my favorite couch seat. I guess that made her feelings pretty clear on the situation.
It had been a long and crazy day, but BrightSide had one more thing to do. He left for the airport to pick up his parents who, as luck would have it, were returning from a trip to Alaska that night. He told me later that he waited until they’d collected their luggage and were in the car to tell them they had one stop they needed to make — to meet their new grandson. To say they were overjoyed is an understatement.
So every May we celebrate Gotcha day — the day our dream of becoming parents came true. The years have flown by, and that pudgy little Buddha that wobbled into our hearts is now a tall young man who can almost look me in the eye. I can’t quite wrap my mind around what the next ten years will bring.