As my little girl grows up, I watch with quiet desperation how her innocence begins to recede to the background. The old simple jokes that made her laugh again and again are now silly, the complete freedom with which she skipped all over the world and its problems is beginning to allow bits of worry into her magical world. Questions about the state of the world arise causing a frown to form on her previously every radiant and smiling face. Nothing prepares a parent for the inevitable letting go of their child’s innocence. We hold on to it desperately, we pray that the hugs will last longer, that the laughter will ring louder and that worry will keep its fangs away from our babies.
Lea arrived to Shanghai in 2006 when she was just 2 years old. Since then China has been a new home to her. I often think about the influence that this move will have later on her life as an adult, growing up multilingual, mixing with different cultures, being a foreigner away from home; how will all of this play a part in shaping who she will become? In many ways, children find themselves in places and situations created by their parents and with very little choice on their part, at least at that very early age. And we as parents always hope that we are making choices that are for the best of our children. Somehow, China will always be an important stage of the forming of Lea’s life.