1. Noah was an angel on our flight to Utah. He sat calmly with his daddy and played with his laptop toy and giggled and smiled at the other passengers on the plane. Love him.
2. We got to see Grandma Nielson (Ryan's mom) before she headed to Boise to await the arrival of her newest grandchild. While Noah took a brief nap in his carseat, she and I sat in the parked car and talked about life. I always love my talks with Sally, and I love the way that she adores Noah. I feel so fortunate to have her in my life.
3. Then we got to see Katie and Drew and their families. People always ask me if this is awkward, and I always tell them that it's truly not. I will admit that I usually get a little nervous before a visit (just because I want everything to go so perfectly, and I want to be sensitive to Katie and Drew, as I know they have had emotional ups and downs in the months since they placed Noah for adoption); but in the end, every visit is such a sweet experience for me. Their families are always so gracious, warm, and welcoming. They hug me, shower me with compliments about my mothering (seriously, so kind!), and gush over how perfect Noah is. We sit around and watch him like he is the most exciting creature on the planet (he is sometimes a little overwhelmed by the attention), and it's genuinely really fun to catch up with all of them. I love them and feel very grateful for the miraculous way that God has brought our families together.
3. After the family festivities, Katie and Drew got precious alone-time with Noah. In quieter environments, he isn't so clingy to me and his true personality comes out (this is probably true of all toddlers), so I am really glad that they got this time with him. Watching the three of them play in front of the glowing Christmas tree just felt so special--it's one of my favorite memories from the holiday season. I love how much those two love Noah.
As I'm sure you can imagine, adoption is an emotional journey that isn't over with the signing of papers, and I worry about Katie and Drew when I know they are having a hard time and missing Noah. There isn't a "right" way to do open adoption, and I think it's sometimes difficult for both me and Katie to figure out how much contact we should have and how to respect each other's needs and roles; but our interactions are always based in mutual respect and love, and so it works. I genuinely love Katie and Drew so much, and I will always want them to be apart of our life and Noah's life.
5. After leaving Katie's, we met up with Ryan's family in Salt Lake City. We wanted to spend time with Ryan's brother Derek and his wife since they wouldn't be in Idaho with us for the week leading up to Christmas. We met Derek, Alli, Cole, Sara, Gordon, and Tanner at Market Street Grill and enjoyed a delicious dinner and great conversation. Even though it was way past his bedtime, Noah was a good boy at the restaurant and made quite a splash in his candycane-striped pajamas! His aunts and uncles couldn't get enough of him! We enjoyed walking to and from Temple Square in the cold night and seeing holiday lights and bustle.
6. By the time we left downtown Salt Lake, it was about 10:30 p.m., and Noah usually goes to bed between 7 and 8 p.m. Amazingly, he was still in a great mood (as you can see from the photo below), and when we returned my rental car to the airport, he ran around the lobby in his footie pajamas, giggling and chasing his Uncle Tanner. In that moment, watching Tanner and Noah playing together in the empty airport lobby, I realized that it had been a perfect day. I don't know why, but I think I will always remember that scene and that moment.
|Exuberant boy, clapping for joy|
More on the holiday trip to Idaho to come...and I promise I will try not to write a long-winded post about each of the great days that we spent there, or this could get really old!