My first child graduated from high school this past weekend. To say that it was a proud parenting moment would be an understatement that I know I share with so many other parents who've experienced their own children's commencement recently.
The act of graduating from high school or college is a personal milestone and one that truly signifies a person's transition from dependent to independent.
Chloe Anying Rose Goldstein was adopted from China in January 1997. I saw an article in the local section of The Boston Globe that profiled a Concord Doctor who had retired and went to China to help individuals and couples adopt baby girls, given the one-child policy that China had adopted in 1980.
I looked at the article and saw a photo of Dr. Nancy Hendrie with three beautiful, bouncing Chinese baby girls on her lap and I was smitten. I called the local adoption agency and got the details. I next called my then-husband and shared the good news! We were going to have a baby and going to China. Thankfully, he was on board and within nine months and 10 days, we were on a plane to China. Once we were there we saw the most beautiful baby girl all dressed up in blue come off an elevator at our hotel and into my arms. She took one look at me and her lip began to quiver and she started to scream.
Those moments before meeting my amazing daughter were consumed with feelings of overwhelm, inadequacy (what were we doing thinking we could be parents?), and a growing concern that I didn't want to admit, but every parent feels: Can I really love this baby unconditionally?
Without a doubt, within seconds, I was totally in love in a way I had never imagined. It's so true that you don't know how much a parent loves you, until you become one yourself. The first year of being Chloe's mom was among the happiest of my life.
To watch a child grow and go through the ages and stages of life is an amazing thing to witness and experience as all parents can attest to. Chloe is one of the most resourceful people I know. She's an amazing big sister and wonderful friend to all. Chloe overcame a horrible skin condition of eczema that was debilitating in kindergarten. She attended the Waldorf School in Lexington, MA from K-8th grade and excelled. It was Chloe's perfect learning environment that was evident in her college essay. Thank goodness for a few "right" decisions when raising children!
Chloe was the class speaker at her 8th grade graduation and I couldn't have been more proud. We spent the day together getting manicures and pedicures, shopping and having lunch at the Cheesecake Factory with a take home piece of cheesecake for breakfast the next morning. Chloe is super responsible academically and on-the-job as the town babysitter!
I know our times together will be getting shorter as Chloe heads to college this fall. It was the right time to put my feelings to paper and share them with her.
Hi Chloe -- my sweet baby girl!
You make me so proud of you -- I could cry (in the best way) thinking about it.
Chloe, what you said about Nana Sandy yesterday was heart-felt, beautiful and so accurate. I'm just so sorry the two of you couldn't have spent more time together and she could see you to grow into the amazing young woman you are and will be.
You have everything you need to be successful in an on-air career, Chloe. Not only are you "stunning" as Nana would say, but you have the intellect, poise and ability to express yourself in such a beautiful way -- I marvel at you when I see you speaking in public and notice how people of all ages resonate with you. I have nothing to do with your outer beauty sweetie, but I do hope that I have in some way influenced you to be the beautiful person you are -- inside and out.
I couldn't love you more, Chloe. You have been such a gift in my life, out of something that was initially so sad and difficult for mom to deal with -- my infertility (or so I thought). I could not have asked for a more wonderful gift than when I saw you come off that elevator in your little blue sweater, bald head and quivering lips. You made me a mother in that moment and it was -- by far -- the best thing that's ever happened to me. The first year of your life -- was the best year of mine to date. I could have eaten you up and tried to with kisses -- so often, I can't recall all the times. I couldn't keep my hands or lips off you.
Mom is looking so forward to exploring your next steps of looking into colleges and helping you to make the transition from Concord to the amazing Universe waiting for you to play a role in it, Chloe. You will have days where you lose faith, don't believe you can do something, and maybe don't want to. Just remember that I believe in you 100+% and I know you are more than capable of doing anything you set your mind to. Never stop believing in yourself. Take a break, but keep going. You will be a superstar and I will be thrilled to say -- "Chloe Goldstein -- yes, that's my daughter!"
As my speech teacher told me recently, there will be a huge need for Chloe Goldstein's out there -- given your stunning good looks, talents and unique last name for an Asian young woman. It's a winning combination.
You already know that life can be short and fleeting. I'm so fortunate to have a second chance at living since my liver transplant and thank God every day that I have been with you, Noah and Sophie in your very young years. I hope to be here for a long, long time now.
I just want you to know how proud I am of you and how much I love you -- forever -- no matter what. I'm here for you and always will be.
Love you to the stars and moon and back again!