Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Lao Tong for Aimee?

Wow, it has been such a long time since i have posted on this blog. But i have something really wonderful that i have decided to do for my daughter and i thought i would share it.
I just finished the book Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. It was a wonderful book that brought my imagination back in time to the ancient world of China. The book focuses on woman and their lives in the "inner realm" which means, inside their home caring for the lives of their men and mother-in-laws, attending to their every need. If you have not read this book, i highly recommend it. It is a beautiful picture of the condition of women in China and how they thrived and carried on their culture in the midst of much suffering.

If you don't understand why we China adoptive moms predominantly have daughters, you really need only to read this book to realize that this pandemic of disrespect and abandonment began hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago through the culture of the orient. And in this book we begin to realize that though woman were often seen in their world as equal with dogs, they had a way of surviving and thriving into their own. 

The preface of the book is focused on the concept of a Lao Tong. This is translated in our language to mean "old same". Two best friends who have all the similarities that China sees as necessary to be "sisters" from another family. These girls were paired as "old-sames" in emotional matches that lasted throughout their lives.  They painted letters on fans, embroidered messages on handkerchiefs, and composed stories, thereby reaching out of their windows to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Meant to be together....for ten thousand years.

This is a sweet concept that to be honest i cannot relate. To me, the concept of a BFF in reality is a bit foreign. I do have many wonderful "besties" that i love and adore and I know we will be my friends forever and hopefully spend eternity with in heaven one day. But i never had a best friend growing up. And today my best friend, hands down is my husband. He is the one who knows me best, relates to me best, loves me most. I would rather spend a night with him than anyone because our conversations just flow like we are one. He loves me in a way i never thought i could know, being the child of a single mom with no father in my life. And I have never had a girlfriend to even compare to that level of friendship. But i do know that many women in the world do value their girl friendships as equal to, sometimes even above those of their spouses. They have a connection to one another that i cannot relate to. It is deep and honest and almost chemical in nature. I just happen to be one of the weird ones i guess.

And i do not want my daughters to necessarily be the way i am. I mean i do want them to have a marital relationship that goes as deep as mine. I want them to know that their is no friend like your husband and spend their young life looking for that man...NEVER settling. But i also want them to know what it is to have girlfriends and relate to them in the manner that this book describes. That deep, honest, almost chemical friendship. 

So, to make a long story long, i have a great idea for those of us moms out their who have Chinese daughters. Let's connect them as Lao Tongs!  First let me explain how this friendship is and how it can work. We would need to begin this great process at around the age of 6 or 7. We need to find our daughters one other girl of about the same age, also from China. These girls would begin their friendship the same way this friendship began in the book. We can acquire a fan and have the girls begin by writing simple messages to one another on it and send it back and forth. How wonderful it will be for them to then perhaps once per year if it is not too far to bring them together to meet and spend time together. Living here in New Jersey i think of how exciting an NYC China Town jaunt could be for them; eating dim sum and sipping Chinese tea. 

Over the years hopefully their friendship will grow and blossom into something deep and beautiful together. To be at the place where one day as these girls are getting ready for their wedding day and their lao tong can be there by their side, truly knowing so much about them and seeing them off into their future as a wife, mom, and woman of faith...THIS would be magical to watch.

I think this would be a beautiful way to not only create for them a friendship like i mentioned above, but to also instill some of their beautiful culture in their lives and hearts. 

Lao Tongs..."old sames" for Ten Thousand years...isn't it a beautiful concept?! I hope to make this happen for Aimee one day. Something just for her. Something she can keep close to her heart as she grows and becomes a beautiful and amazing Chinese woman.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Tooth

Ok so i have to share the hilarious story of my tangled web of lies i have weaved....

The other evening Juli lost a tooth at AWANA. She put it under her pillow but i forgot. YES, I, the horrible mother forgot to be the tooth fairy.

Well the next morning Juli wakes up and says, "Mom the tooth fairy didn't come!" I must have looked shocked and I cannot tell if she knew i was caught or not but i immediately jumped to a lie and here it is. "Oh no, maybe she was on vacation!" And as she was getting dressed this is what i did. I wrote a note with my left hand that said, "Dear Juli, I am Samantha, your tooth fairy's cousin. She is away in Switzerland. She will visit you later. Love, Sam" Pathetic, I know. But i folded it up and sneaked into her room and put it in her shoe when she wasn't looking.

At breakfast she didn't bring it up so i thought maybe she had me figured out. But then when we got to school for drop off she says to me, (And this is how she read the note) "Mom i got a note in my shoe from my cousin Samantha's tooth fairy. She said that mine is in Switzerland and she will come tonight." Well at that moment i realized how ridiculous the whole thing was and just burst out laughing. I asked, "Are you sure you didn't dream that?"

So, to complete my tangled web i went to the store and bought Swiss Miss Cocoa Mix, Swiss Chocolate and a block of Swiss Cheese. I left these along with $3 under her pillow and a note that said, "Dear Juli, So sorry i was away in Switzerland working when you left me your tooth. Here are some treats i brought you from the land of the Swiss. Hope you like them. Thanks for the tooth. Love Mrs. T" I think it was the most unusual gift she has ever gotten. Eric said she loved the cheese and the next morning she was cracking up telling me all about it as she drank hot cocoa for breakfast.

Just another day in the wacky life of the Kobys. Hope you enjoyed the story.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Home with a cold...

So this is a blah day. My little 2 have colds and one even has a fever, it is rainy and gray outside, and i can hear the train blowing in the distance as people commute to their jobs this morning. Don't get me wrong, i love the rain...I mean LOVE it. And so the question sparks, what exactly will this day accomplish? Not much maybe, but this post is a rarity and i am enjoying the muse of the moment.

My thoughts are on Aimee. I think of the difference in her since we first met in that poor, gloomy little room in South Central China. The weather today for some reason reminds me of that part of the world. When she was carried into the room, i was not expecting it. I remember looking at her and actually it taking a moment to register that it was her. She was thin, and had an expression of confusion on her face. She wouldn't let me touch her. I had to coax her to pay attention to me by feeding her fries. She stared at Juli quite a bit. It was obvious that Juli made her feel at least a tiny bit more comfortable.

Finally she was handed to me. At that moment life changed forever. The screaming began. It never stopped, no matter how many fries i gave her. She was angry, sad, scared.

So when i see her this morning sitting on the couch with her Dora blanket, in her cozy jammies, watching a movie happily even though she is sick, I can't help but remember those times. Things are far from perfect now. I mean she still is not the most cuddly kid you will ever meet. But she is comfortable. She is joyful most of the time. She is at home here. And so much of that is thanks to her siblings. Because when i just had no more patience to give with the struggle of bonding, they just kept loving her, smiling at her, hugging her (too much probably) and accepting her. For that i am eternally grateful.

I thought i would post 2 pictures of Aimee. One from the first day we met. And one more recent. Her Christmas picture for this year. She has changed so much she is almost unrecognizable. And only God can do that. He sets the lonely in families. Even when we think we will never know normal again, things get better. Your sense of normal just morphs into something different than you had expected. And now there is one less orphan in the world...

Aimee on the day we met...

Aimee now...