November 9, 2008 – Arriving in Melbourne, Australia
We met one of the main reasons for this long journey and fell instantly in love. Lily Jane was asleep when we arrived so we had to wait until yesterday morning to see her for the first time.
In between our landing in Melbourne and our introduction to Lily, we passed through customs without a hitch. With my provisional resident’s visa and Robin’s Australian passport, we entered the country with so few questions it was almost anticlimactic. (Of course, we’d answered dozens of questions in order to obtain that visa.)
Robin’s son and daughter (Darren and Michelle) and Michelle’s partner, Mim, were at the airport to greet us. Because they’d all visited Kelowna, seeing them felt to me like a warm family reunion. The same was true when we arrived at Darren’s house and re-connected with Natalie, his wife. These four beautiful young people have made us feel incredibly welcome.
Next morning Nat brought Lily in for her first meeting with Popsy and me. She was all smiles to be seeing beloved grandparents, who are frequent visitors. Then she saw us. The smile turned upside down. The eyes grew pensive. When Nat plopped her down between us, Lily did the appropriate thing. She cried.
Nat sat down on the bed beside Robin and handed Lily some toys. With Mother close at hand and familiar toys to play with, Lily was reassured enough to give us a second chance. By the time Nat left to spoil us with a cup of tea in bed, Granddaughter #1 was relaxed and smiling.
Now we’ve had a full day with her, including an afternoon with Michelle and Mim and a group of their friends. We are as besotted as most grandparents. Not having children of my own, I’ll never be a grandparent by either birth or marriage, but I remember from my own childhood the joy of having loving adults who gave me that same kind of unconditional love. I figure there’s never too much love in our lives so am happy to add to Lily Jane’s store of it.
Today we’re finally catching up with bookkeeping and e-mail and grateful to have access to wireless Internet here. In the next months we’ll explore the city and surrounding area, always with the question on our minds, “What would it feel like to live here?”