we did it. we got our mädchen! we were an hour and a half early at the hotel in virginia, we were so excited. we killed some time and then went inside, where we waited with many other anxious parents in the lobby. finally, she emerged, looking like the most wonderful sight we'd ever seen. here, m and boo wait and wait:
me, finally getting to put my hands on that girl. i can't even tell you how many times i hugged her in the first hour (and three days later, i'm still touching her every chance i get. she's very indulgent).
she said many goodbyes to the other cbyx kids, and then they let us take her away with us! we drove into washington d.c. and went to this vegan bakery, sticky fingers:
bean and i had wanted to go there forever, and it was fabulous. she had a vegan chili dog, and we all shared some cupcakey delights and iced coffee. this whole time she was telling us about her adventure and the details of her trip home, describing saying goodbye to her family, showing us photos, giving us gifts, laughing, and crying:
we spent a couple of days in baltimore, where we walked around fell's point:
and celebrated stella's first birthday:
with ellen's parents (who graciously hosted us the whole time we were in baltimore) and a select few of stella's grownup friends:
bean gave me many presents, including this adorable cake cookbook, which has a gnome theme:
our last stop before arriving home was cambridge. bean and minnow were reunited, and she hugged a couple of happy grandparents. we ate indian food and toscanini's ice cream. bean had a moxie float, which made her very happy:
bean and my mom:
i neglected to photograph many other poignant reunions (with artemis, flora, miss gliss, the dancer lady, the sports fan, animal lover, and enoch), as well as a massive banner that was taped to the side of our house when we pulled up in the driveway (made by artemis and flora). she spent the whole day yesterday with friends, walking to arabica, watching movies, eating dinner, playing games. last night was the first she spent in her own bed in nearly a year. oh, did i mention that the girl is fluent in german? our favorite thing is when she talks and talks and talks in german and we just listen, amazed and delighted. one of her highest priorities right now is to find ways to continue to speak, in addition to the german class she'll be taking in the fall at usm. boo and i have made a renewed pledge to work our way through the rosetta stone german program, too.
one moment i can't believe she's really here, and the next it's like she never left.
and finally, here is an appropriate poem my dad sent me, by pat schneider:
Don't go. Don't stay.
Daughter. Morning after afternoon
the last year slips away.
Singing all the old songs, you will go
(ambivalence of moon, certainty of sun)
only half of what we are.
The earth is earth to us, star
if apprehended far enough away.
Daughter – don't go.
"To A High School Senior" by Pat Schneider, from Long Way Home. © Amherst Writers & Artists Press, 1993