Thursday, December 15, 2005

Care Package

I sent Ru0-Ruo a care package today. The label, provided by CCAI, was mostly in Chinese, but clearly stated "Chongqing Children's Welfare Institute" at the top. Weird. We had also been provided with a letter--first in English, then translated into Chinese--that was addressed to the "nannies," asking them to snap photos of our baby with a disposable camera (enclosed) so we can have a memento of her stay. The rest was up to us, but we were instructed (warned, rather) to limit the package to the size of a shoe box. I bought a really fancy blanket and David and I slept with it for a couple nights, from whence it would emerge in the morning a squashed ball of fuzz and satin. We picked out a fleece sleeper with ladybugs all over it and washed that to include. Because we had been told she likes toys that make noise, I bought her a Sassy television remote control with buttons (we've been told that once she gets here, only the real thing will do. :)) And, of course, the ubiquitous Sassy cushy, waterproof "Who Loves Baby?" photo album, with room for six photos of Mommy and Daddy and friends and family. All of this fit quite nicely into the shoe-box-sized receptacle, some of it swaddled in bubble wrap, most of it sealed in Zip-Loc bags (because what if the box gets wet?)

At the P.O., I felt inexplicably nervous and shy, coupled with a sense of urgency that now that this box was ready I needed it to be in Chongqing yesterday. In fact, I suddenly wondered what had taken me so long since the idea of her touching items that we've touched (or slept with :)) is so tantalizing! Anyway, the postal clerk was in no mood for my ignorance about customs. She seemed deep into a Christmas spirit snit from having to deal with long lines of people holding boxes they can't see over all day. When I said I was mailing to China, she pointed at a far wall without comment, and no matter what I asked, she just kept pointing. When I wondered aloud where I should write "0" (part of CCAI's instructions were to call the package a "gift" and "write 0," which I realize now must be for the value) she rolled her eyes aggressively and sighed, "I don't have the faintest idea." (Which of us works for the U.S. Postal Service in this scenario?) I could see I wasn't getting any love from her, which made me even more nervous, and I started filling in the boxes as quickly as possible so I hope I didn't do something stupid that prevents Ruo-Ruo from getting her package of care.

I wonder if it would have made a difference if I'd told that postal lady that this box headed for China will be my first contact with my daughter, who lives in an orphanage. That it's going to be her first birthday soon, but I won't get to spend it with her. I wonder if she would have been a little more enthusiastic then. But I didn't let her dampen my spirits for long.


Amy said...

I just love the idea of the care package and in time for her first birthday no less! What a thoughtful and wonderful mom you are! Don't you just love the holiday spirit that thrives within the walls of the USPS?
I miss you! Any free time next week? I know the holidays are approaching and things are hectic, but I would love to try to get together for a quick catch up with Ruo-Ruo's cool mom!

Eleanor Little said...

It is wondrous to read of your zig-zagging feelings in anticipation of holding your beautiful daughter in your arms and bringing her home at last.
I think it is entirely possible to fall in love with a picture! Why not? Moms and dads fall in love with a tiny speck of life inside mommy's tummy, and they can't even see it. The love you feel is not for the Kodak print, but rather because you acknowledge you are the parents of a real, live baby girl waiting for you in China. It's as if your love goes through a kind of aether to each other.
May the days pass swiftly for you, David, and Ruo-Ruo!