I snapped the above photo of Meili running from me (Steve) after I asked her to give “Ya, Ya” a hug. Laughing all the way, off she ran in the hopes that I would give chase. Instead, I quickly glanced at my camera to see what I had gotten and this blurry photo hit me so metaphorically between the eyes that I couldn’t escape the truth of it. We, as a family, need Meili far more than she will ever need us!
As Tracy always says, “children are resilient!” And Meili is a living testament to that truth. The early formative years of her life where spent in very emotionally difficult environment with a total lack of parental influence or protection. Even to this day, Meili can be stung by a bee in the backyard without us even knowing. There is no scream or tears – just a large red lump on her back that we just happen to discover when dressing her for bed. Such is the unusual soul of Meili – she is strong and independent with the ability to survive practically any amount of hurt. She can have a perfectly wonderful day without a hug from Daddy but I have to wrap my arms around her at least once a day. Although she freely climbs into the arms of her precious “Ma, Ma” with great vigor, she has yet to give her the soft, tiny peck on the lips that I get every night before bed!
It is so funny to see the little girl in Meili coming out everywhere! Her favorite color is pink and every day must present her with the ability to wear pink or she will seek it out in the house and stomp to us with pink clothing clutched in hand. And the clothes are not just required to be pink, they must also be fluffy. Most days she wears a enormously fluffy pink tutu over the top of whatever clothing she is wearing – which sometimes is still her onesie from the night before! A side note on the onesie – my very smart wife figured out very quickly to cut the feet out and put them on Meili backwards so she could not undress herself in bed. For a while there, we had the Asian Houdini in the house because we would find her after nap completely naked – having shed the onesie, clothes underneath and diaper in her bid for freedom. I highly recommend the feet-less, backwards onesie – not only is it effective, it is funny to see.
And it’s not just the pink – Meili loves for her older sister, Leila to do her hair. The more pigtails, the better! In fact, Leila has gotten quite skilled in doing Meili’s hair – and even began to incorporate many other decorations to enhance the follicle bling on Meili’s dark dome. She is always quite proud of the visit to salon Leila and races through the house to show her newest style to everyone in the house. And if she happens to also be wearing the pink tutu along with her new hair style, you can witness the Meili strut – packed with extra hip action to ensure that tutu sways like it should.
And to top off the total girly-girl immersion of Meili, we went and had her ears pierced at the mall. Very early on she had noticed all the girls in the house and in other places had these shiny, sometimes dangling objects attached to their ears. Many times, Meili would waddle up to Ma-Ma pointing at her ears and then pointing at Tracy’s earrings. And by the way, this little girl can say more with an inch long finger, furrowed eyebrows and piercing eyes than her surgically repaired mouth will ever say! She is learning words, mind you, but for now, the language of the grunt, point and scowl is all the communication we need to get those ears pierced. So, of course, she cried for a brief moment until the woman doing it presented her with a sucker and a mirror. When she saw her ears now sparkled like her Ma-Ma’s, the tears dried up and the strut returned.
So there we sat at the movies last night watching Winnie the Pooh. As the credits were rolling, I turned to my left to glance at the family (Leila was the only one sitting to my right) and observed Tracy, Tristan and Corbin all smiling because Meili was dancing again to the music (we will save her love of dance for another post). There she was shaking that itty-bitty booty and rocking her head back and fourth to the amusement of the entire family. And it hit me again just like the day I shot the blurry picture of Meili running away, we needed her in our lives far more than she needed us. The humbling truth for us is that Meili could have been adopted by any other family and I am not sure she would be all that different today than she is in our home. Meili is Meili, as tough as she is smart. We feel she could probably adapt to being raised by a pack of wolves if it was required of her. But for a providential opportunity that we can never pay back, the Davenports have become the recipients of a truly amazing, life altering gift in the form of a 22 pound Asian princess named Meili.
For all the happiness she brings into our lives, for all she teaches us about stretching our comfort zone, for all the times I chase her down to hear the giggles as I kiss her neck – I proudly exclaim that I, we, the Davenports need Meili far more than she will ever need us!