What an incredible privilege to get to share in Abby's very FIRST birthday celebration!! Yes, even though she turned nine years old today, this was her first ever birthday cake, her first birthday party, and of course her first year with a family to call her own. I had a conversation with Abby last week about birthdays, with a bit of help from Google Translate. She has already been asked in China by some of the shopkeepers when her birthday was and had no idea, so I had to start by telling her that much. Then I asked if she'd ever had a birthday cake. She indicated that some of her friends at the orphanage had a cake, but she never did. (When kids at the orphanage have been matched to their forever families and have a birthday while their family is waiting to travel for them, the family will usually have a cake sent to their waiting child at the orphanage. We were matched with Abby in May of 2009, so she did not have a birthday while we were waiting for Travel Approval). Anyways, I let her know that here she would have a cake - EVERY YEAR (and hey, this might be the excuse I always wanted to start celebrating half birthdays, too). She smiled from ear to ear and hugged me saying "thank you, mama, thank you." Totally sappy, I know, but that's how it went down. After much deliberation as to how exactly to celebrate her special day, I decided to bring in a cake to her co-op class on Friday.
We also bought a second "mini" cake to get a chance to sing Happy Birthday with Daddy and the little man, who had missed out on the first cake.
And then today, we continued the celebration by going to the Chinese buffet - and she literally jumped for joy when she saw the bounty layed out before her. I am still in complete shock that such a tiny little body can hold so much food - and I won't be surprised if she doesn't eat for a week. Her favorite were the crab legs - much to Daddy's delight. Finally, someone else who shares his taste for the truly fine food!!
And I couldn't help adding this cute picture:
I wish I had also taken pictures of her opening the presents from my sister. She hit some huge sale and sent two boxes of clothes for the girls, plus a Barbie, Barbie clothes, and hair clips, headbands, and all kinds of girlie-girl stuff. There IS an advantage to having the only little girls in the family - all these moms of boys just have to cave in at some point and buy the girlie stuff. So I explained to Abby that these presents were from my sister before we opened the boxes, and as she started seeing thing after thing come out of that box, she kept saying "I LOVE Mama's sister". It was too cute!!
And then, when she thought it was all done, a box arrived from Grandma with two BEAUTIFUL dresses inside - and I had to convince her that NO they could not be worn right then to go play out back on the trampoline!!! And today, because Grandma always manages to find the cutest things on the planet and I don't know how - or where - she finds these things, but Abby received a birthday in a box. She opened this tiny little box that was in the mailbox, and inside was a Happy Birthday banner, birthday candle, confetti, one of those blower things (what on earth do you call that???) and a tiny birthday hat. How fun would it be to be turning 9 and get that in the mail???
Abby also LOVED all the phone calls she got from family. She smiled so big knowing that people were calling FOR HER!! I am very appreciative of all the attention everyone gave her the last two days - she really felt so loved, even from those people she hasn't met yet. And it's helping her feel like this is HER family! I even forgive my good ol' dad for calling our house at 7:20 this morning and waking up the entire house on our one morning we get to sleep in all week. But he DID win the "first person ever to actually call Abby to wish her a happy birthday" award. We love you, Papa!