Julia: 1995 had been a bit of a tough year and December was not looking any different. I was standing in the office that morning of the 15th, when the phone rang. It was my husband. “Sit down” he said very affirmatively. So I did. “Do you want a baby?” he asked. I was stunned. We already had three adopted children and so many thoughts raced through my mind that I wasn’t capable of a coherent answer.
As arranged, Richard and I met the solicitor at the hospital on the dot of 6.00 that evening. She led us into a lift. We all stood in a silence that vibrated with anticipation, till we reached the Maternity floor. There, we were led down a corridor to a window that looked into a room filled with newly born babies. The Hospital Matron, a nun in black habit, approached as we stared in at those tiny creatures snuggled in warm blankets. She greeted the lawyer and us, then beckoned to a nurse through the window. A few minutes later, a tiny bald-headed baby was brought out to us. I gazed at the tiny creature – my head completely empty of thought. The Matron took the baby and gestured to me to open my arms. A moment later, I was standing in the white bustling hospital corridor holding our fourth child. She was 8 hours old; a baby who needed a home.
I often relive the magic of that extraordinary moment, when I looked down at the small being lying in my arms and realized she was to be our daughter; our fourth child – but our first baby.
Hoi Yee: A Swedish philosophy for raising children is to allow them to become bored. Because boredom will elicit creativity, resourcefulness and the ability to find their own magical moments.
I’ve held on to that thought for my own, and very personal, reason. I was born in Canada of immigrant Chinese parents, whose working hours can only be rivaled by modern day robotics or the strongest ox of yesteryears’ farms. So this meant that family vacations were once every five years. I didn’t know that most families went annually. I remember and relish each of those rare trip as vivid magical moments.
For my siblings and myself, other fun outings were wandering around a food warehouse while my father replenished supplies for our family restaurant business. I didn’t know, then, that this was not considered fun by most youngsters! I enjoyed being able to identify new products on the shelves that had not been there during my last visit, and convincing the owners to allow us to try yet another dried fruit treat.
During the summers, an offer of a soft ice-cream was a magical moment that sparked more fireworks than Disneyland can in a whole week. To go out to a movie with a cousin was the stuff worthy of scrap-booking.
Deprived? No! These were magical moments.