Around the World I’ve searched for you
I traveled on, when hope was gone, to make a rendezvous
I knew somewhere, sometime, somehow
You’d look at me, and I would see,
The smile you’re smiling now
--From the song, “Around the World”, by Victor Young
If you are a traveler, as I imagine most of you to be, you’ve probably dreamed of circling the globe. There as many ways to take that particular journey as there are countries to visit. I have friends who did it on their honeymoon, mostly by train and backpack; and other friends who jetted from country to country. Then there is my step-daughter, who made that voyage with her husband Paul on a sailing yacht called the Cherokee Rose. They had an unexpected rendezvous halfway around which stopped them, and the trip, in its tracks. The result of that rendezvous is that I now have a gorgeous Micronesian grand-daughter! Kelly tells their story in her book, Sailing to Jessica. Here is an exceprt, which is a window into her thoughts two weeks after adopting the baby Jessica (which all happened quickly), on the small island of Kirabati:
"For the baby songs, we watched “The Sound of Music” again, replaying a couple of songs over and over again until I had mastered them. Gazing at the beautiful baby in my arms, I didn't mourn – or even think about – Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So and La. I had Jessica.
One of our baby books said that it was common for a new mother to feel like her baby was a stranger, despite the baby having spent nine months in her womb. This feeling was perfectly normal. I was a new mom, and admittedly my baby was a stranger. But sometime during our second week together, she ceased to be. I was cradling her in my arms in the salon, rocking her and gazing at her intelligent brown eyes when I was overcome, overwhelmed, struck by the enormity of what we had done. Of what I had become.
I was Jessica's mom. Forever. I'd be there to clean her up when she fell off her bicycle and scraped her knee. I'd be there to wipe away her tears when her teenage boyfriend broke her heart. I'd be there when she graduated from university; when she won a heat at a swim meet; when she had her own baby. Throughout her life's ups and downs, I was going to be there, protecting her, encouraging her, loving her. It might take the courts months to decide upon our adoption petition, but my heart needed only two weeks to rule on the case. Jessica was my daughter; and I loved her unreservedly."
To learn the rest of the story, buy Sailing to Jessica by clicking here for the paperback edition, or here for the ipad version (with photos and videos!). You can follow her adventures on her website/blog here.
Photos above: Jess on the boat with Kelly and Paul, just after the adoption. Above right: The Cherokee Rose at anchor with another yacht in Moorea, Society Islands, French Polynesia.
A postscrict: Kelly and Paul adopted a second Micronesian baby later in the Marshall Islands: the charming Nick. Here are my adorable grandkids in a photo taken last Christmas. Is this a happy ending or what?! And tomorrow is Jess's birthday--Bonne Anniversaire, mon lapin!
Can you tell I’m proud of ma belle-fille? (beautiful-daughter, that lovely French term for step-daughter, and I’m the belle-mère). In her honor, here is a favorite recipe for fish, straight from the sea.
RECIPE: Summer Swordfish, A Flash in the Pan
We had swordfish in a fine French restaurant recently, and it was tasty. It was served with a very finely chopped salsa of raw courgettes (either zucchini or yellow squash will do), red peppers, and scallions, with a bit of lime juice and olive oil stirred in (The photo shows the restaurant version, not mine.The garnish of flash-fried kale and a carrot beignet is beyond my abilities.)
To make it, just sear two swordfish steaks, an inch or so thick, in a cast iron skillet heated with a tablespoon of oil, about 3 minutes on each side. Serve immediately, topped with the above salsa.
In the COMMENTS: I love the clever food quotes that readers sent in to add to our list on the placemats! Jane, we've defintitely got to explore the appeal of this Morris dancing in a future blog. Colleen, we're looking forward to seeing your collages, keep us posted.