Wo Ai Ni- three words that used to have no meaning in my life. Those three words now have great personal meaning.
Nathaniel, our just adopted four year-old, speaks fluent Mandarin. He is rapidly picking up English, but still speaking great amounts of Mandarin. In order to survive those first few weeks with him I learned a few key words and phrases. Words like no, wait, come here, don't hit, and I love you. I find it humorous that he still speaks so much Manadarin to us. Doesn't he realize that I have no clue what he is saying?
At first, Nathaniel didn't care much for me. He would complain every time I laid down next to him at night to say good night. Many times he would not even look at me. Maybe he thought that if he avoided eye contact I would just disappear. He tried again and again to avoid me.
I am, however, persistent.
I am stubborn!
Every night I would lay with him and say those three words that had held no meaning to me just weeks before. Wo Ai Ni. I love you. Wo Ai Ni.
Wo Ai Ni
I love you.
Then, one day it happened. He said those three sweet words back to me. How my heart sang with joy. He may have just repeated them back to humor me, but I didn't care.
One step forward!
Fast forward a month.
Nathaniel now tells me Wo Ai Ni without any prompting. He says it just because. Just because he now knows that I am his mama and that mamas are ok to love. He knows that I am going to be there every morning and every night. He knows that I am going to stick. I am going to stick even when he is disobedient, cranky, sick, or throwing temper tantrums. He gets it.
Wo Ai Ni, Nathaniel.
I love you with all my heart.