I keep thinking about December 27th. It's a pretty important day. And I'm sitting in my mom's kitchen, thinking about it and my mom's kitchen is a pretty important place to be thinking about this pretty important day today.
Three years ago today, at about 9 or 10 o'clock in the evening, I was standing about three feet to my right and Dowlan and Melody were playing under the kitchen table that was here before this kitchen table and my friend Billy was sitting exactly where I'm sitting now and Doug was standing over by the window. Tiny five-month-old Charlie was sleeping off his first Christmas in the room upstairs. My parents had already gone up as well.
We stood and sat here when Billy looks over and said, "So, do you still want Dixie?"
I said "YES!" right away and began excitedly planning to bring home the little girl that, for two years, I'd been praying to adopt. A few minutes into this, I realized that I had not actually checked in with Dowlan on the matter. I asked him what he thought of all this and he reached his hand out from under the table to squeeze mine and said, "YES!" before going back to the under-table tea party with tiny Melody.
That's how it all started. That's how we got a spare girl. The next day, we left for Oklahoma to see in-laws and came home a day early, passing through my hometown to pick up a little girl and bring her home.
Today Charlie is the exact age, to the day, that Dixie was when we brought her home.
I have no doubt that we would do it again, but every time I stop to think about it, I think about how completely insane we were to think nothing of it. It has been such an incredibly hard journey.
What's that poem? Christina Rossetti, I think. The road winds uphill all the way, yes to the very end.
At that point, Charlie was a tiny little thing. Hadn't developed his asthma yet, didn't know about the autism, didn't know how hard it was going to be to be Charlie's mom and dad. Melody was a few weeks shy of three years old and had just barely wrapped her mind around the idea of having a new baby brother and being home with mommy while daddy went to work. And daddy had work--we had not yet seen this current (and long-lasting) crisis coming.
All I know is that the next day a little girl came into the house and asked me, "Will you be my mommy?" then turned to Melody and said, "Will you share your mommy with me? I need one." Melody, of course, said yes. I have often wondered, in fits of sibling rivalry and rage, if she ever regrets that.
Today, at church, my lap was covered in corduroy-jumper clad little girls. One looks just like me, and so does the other one. Snuggled up, snuggled in. When Dixie first came to our home, she didn't fit right, she didn't snuggle in like a missing piece of the jigsaw. Over the last three years, she has somehow grown just right to fit in that snuggly space.
Today, she fits.