As I gear up for the great Shanghai adventure, I feel like I’m trying to memorize Tess as she is right this second. In some ways, I can already see the woman she’ll become. She’s a dramatic communicator who can go from happy gurgles, an infant’s attempt at conversation, to shrieks of fury – within seconds. She’s curious, observant, impatient and affectionate. She’s not overly independent but is quite strong-willed. She has clear likes and dislikes, and shares them with you whether you like it or not! She also has one of the sweetest smiles in the world that quirks up one corner at a time and is gone seconds after it lights up my world. I see all of this, and at the same time feel like I can’t possibly see any part of her clearly. Will she be musical, brainy, sweet, quiet, tempestuous, athletic? Will she travel with us and enjoy the foreignness of a new place, or will she cling to the predictability of routine and home? What facets of her personality will come to light between a week from now and 11/11? Will she miss me or not even realize I’m gone?
I got a wonderful message from a friend we’ll call J, who went through a similar experience with her infant daughter. She and her husband decided the trip was important, and everyone around her thought she was crazy. My favorite line? “When I got home, my daughter looked at me like, ‘Oh, have you been gone?'” Priceless.
Colin and I picked out our sightseeing list tonight – and we’re getting geared up. Tess will someday be able to laugh at these posts, knowing full well she doesn’t remember a thing, I suppose.