Sweet Sixteen

Jan 14 2011

I’ve been keeping a secret from you.

I have a sixth child.

Technically, she has other parents and doesn’t live with me, and I’m not legally responsible for her in any way.  But I don’t think that should matter when you have a child of the heart, do you?

Katee (15) is my daughter Abby’s (12) best friend.

Abby was 9 weeks old when we brought her home from Vietnam.  Katee was 3 years old.

Katee’s mom insisted Abby and Katee would be best friends.

I knew they wouldn’t, contending that a three year age gap to children might as well be twenty.  It’s insurmountable.  Impossible to form a friendship, much less a best friendship when children are that far apart.

Katee’s mom used her Jedi mind powers.  And she’s right a lot in general.  It’s irritating.  I’m not sure why we’re such good friends.  The mysteries of life, right?

So Abby and Katee are best friends and have been inseparable from the time Toddler Katee jumped over Infant Abby’s head and Katee’s mom freaked out and told her to never, ever jump over a baby.  (You’d think she could’ve just used those Jedi mind powers to float Katee over the baby, but what do I know about the Force?)

Long story short (I know — too late), Katee’s my sixth and eldest child.  We brought her along on our big kids’ trip this weekend.

Now when you see pictures of Katee and I mention my three big kids, you’ll know what in the world I’m talkin’ about.

……

Once again, the flying fairies were with us.  We made our flight with no mishaps, so my big kids get their chance to visit the Mouse.  Ian (11) still can’t believe it, even though he’s asleep next to me after our first day at Disneyland.

I mean, Ian really can’t believe it.  All week long, while we traveled with our little ones, Ian stayed with my parents.  We told everyone, including Ian, that we were going on vacation this weekend with the big kids, but we asked all the grown-ups not to reveal our intended destination lest we fail to make our stand-by flights or were rerouted elsewhere.  They diligently followed our instructions.  Especially my dad, who maintained all week that Greg and I were taking the big kids to a jam factory.

Here are the big kids sitting outside the Disneyland train station:

Do you see that look on Ian’s face?  Yeah – that’s not squinting into the sun.  That’s Ian reflecting on my dad’s parting comment that he strongly prefers marmalade as a gift.

Now we’re all referring to Disneyland as the Jam Factory, which isn’t helping but is amusing.

Throughout the park this evening, Ian kept shaking his head and saying, “This isn’t the jam factory.  This looks like Disneyland.”  Truthfully, he totally understood our destination at some point this afternoon and kept saying that ’cause he knew it would crack me up.  He’s one funny dude.

……

In other news, Greg and I are celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary today.

(Sidenote:  Please be courteous and don’t notice that my stupid forehead zit is still there.  Gosh darn it!  Am I 37 or 17?  This is getting ridiculous.)

I’m here to say, marriage has not (how many times can I repeat not without overdoing it?) been an easy road for us all the time.  There have been moments when we’ve hung on using a crazy combination of divine intervention, stubbornness, willpower and guts.

I’m so glad we did.

Because there’ve also been moments like the one a couple of weeks ago when we were driving in the car and hatching the Craziest Family Vacation of all time.

And the times we’ve become parents together in Vietnam and Guatemala and in a Stateside operating room with premature babies.

And the time we couldn’t go to that Broadway show for my birthday ’cause we were home with a sick kid so Greg bought me beautiful earrings we couldn’t afford.

And the time we were in that huge, tiled shower in Mexico…

but I digress.

Happy Anniversary, Greg.

Thanks for sticking it out.

Here’s to more fine memories.

I love you.

B