By Rukh-Shana Namuyimba
The date is 30th March 2015. It’s 10:30am and I should be dashing for my morning cup of tea but instead I am stuck at my desk neck deep in routine stuff attempting to pull together a report that should have been submitted the night before. Even as I am propped up behind my desk, my thoughts racing a mile a minute with all the things I need to get done before the new month, my mind wanders off to a happy place. It is my little girl’s birthday today and we had a tantrum-free morning; can’t quite recall what that felt like so I am delighted with her. My mind wanders further off to what seems like a distant time: a time when I prided myself on being nimble and swift on my feet, a busy body with never a dull moment in my life- always colliding with time. Then came Twinkletoes and in the blink of an eye, I was a snail dragging my shell on the race track of life alongside this toddler who was suddenly in an insane rush to go places and see the big beautiful world through her twinkling eyes. I have since been trying to keep up with my Twinkletoes.
And speaking of the world, my rather controlled one has never been the same since she flung the doors wide open and came waltzing in. Twinkletoes was just four months when we met on that beautiful Monday evening. Well I think it was a Monday because on Friday I dressed up for my big day with the adoption panel-all butterflies in my belly and with knees of jelly. My prayer was simple that morning: “Lord, may Your will be done!” I still muse at just how our plans can take a twist for the better. Now, when I set on out on my adoption journey in 2012, I had it all figured out. She had to be between 8 and 12 months old – young enough to bond quite easily and old enough to fit it into my crazy work schedule. My life needed to maintain a semblance of sane balance as I knew it; I suppose I was simply being ME – in control. But in came Twinkletoes: a sparkly sunshine, a voluble wind turning my structured world sweetly topsy-turvy. One moment I was grounded and the next, I was knocked off- balance falling flat on my face in a fit of joy with outbursts of tears and the momentary tittering on the brink of insanity.
Three years on, ours has been a beautiful journey of watching her grow from this shy, thumb- sucking child to a very persuasive, independent and absolutely crazy thumb-sucking toddler who decided at the age of two that she mostly preferred to wear little dresses instead of the shorts and tees her overbearing mother had filled her closet with. Yes, I was a tomboy after all and I didn’t quite have the luxury of defiantly pouting at my mother if she suggested I wear some hand-me-down boyish shorts. So I was quite taken aback when my Twinkletoes proved to be tenacious in getting what she wanted. My mother says I may not have been a tenacious tot but I most definitely turned out to be as tenacious as they come later in life so I should cut Twinkle some slack. For the most part I have cut her some slack, perhaps too much, and as a result, she does mostly get what she wants. I suppose she has found a soft spot and is quite intent on milking it for what it’s worth.
Speaking of soft spots, Ma Petite, as I sometimes refer to her, has a soft spot for hurting people. I have watched as she has, through the years, blossomed into an expressive and caring little girl especially around other children- quick to offer hugs if that is what it takes to make someone else feel better.
This morning, as I reflect on the year gone by, my heart swells with pride at the little milestones of awesomeness we have reached together. The day we went shopping for nursery schools and when we finally settled on her current school, she was a fit of delight. Every day till the first day of term, we fought over her insistence that she wear her uniform at home and carry her little rucksack to the door as I left for work. This would almost always end with a tantrum that quietened down with me promising her that she would start school the next day (yes I lied, but what do you do with a tenacious 2 plus year old who will not take ‘wait a little longer’ for an answer?); and when we finally showed up on the first day of school, I was a weeping mess while she was only too delighted to mix and mingle with the other little kids. Then came the first time she randomly said, “I love you mummy”. We had just had a ‘fight’ so that totally threw me off balance and I could not hold back the tears. Her response was a shocker: “Mummy you’re kwaying (read: crying) for nothing.” That was the beginning of my transformation into a crying mummy.
I have since shed a tear or two during her first swimming lesson; her first mumbled prayer with a resounding amen; her first Sunday school session; her first attempt at brushing her own teeth; her first bicycle ride. But the most treasured of our milestones is her learning my full name-probably from watching TV, and her daddy’s name. She still cannot say her daddy’s without almost biting her tongue but whenever she does, it is with such a sweetness-like nothing else really matters in her little world. And perhaps nothing really does to my Twinkletoes and many like her. Nothing really matters but that they have unconditional love and a family to call their own.
This story was first published on the Ugandans Adopt website here