One of the highlights of the trip for me was sitting next to Marilyn JiaBing with my mom on the other side for the whole 12 hour flight home. I thought JiaBing would sleep a lot, but other than a short nap she didn’t at all. That was ok. Instead my mom and I found ourselves giggling with her, playing games, singing song after song with her, and watching in incredulity as she very carefully placed over 100 teeny tiny “Hello Kitty” stickers on a white 4×6 index card.
I named her Marilyn, after my mom, for a lot of reasons. I have a Max named after my maternal Grandpa and my mom and Grandpa were always such a pair that it just felt right to have my own Max and Marilyn pair. My mom is one of my best friends and has helped me through every challenge and milestone in my life since before my first steps to this last addition to my family. She has been the most influential teacher in my life and my example. For all of those reasons, I wanted to give my one and only daughter that name.
The biggest reason though was because every time she hears her name I want my daughter to know that I love her. I want it to be a constant reminder she is my true daughter in every way. She may not have been born from my body, but she was born from my heart, mind, and soul. I feel such a strong bond to my mom and by giving Marilyn JiaBing that name I want her to know that I am bound to her in the same way and feel the same amount of love, devotion, and commitment for her that my mom feels for me. I want her name to be a manifestation to her our mother-daughter bond as it is an echo of the mother-daughter relationship I have with my mom.
Watching the way that Marilyn JiaBing bonded to my mom was so deeply gratifying to me. It was incredibly precious. They were almost instantly comfortable together. My mom got snuggles out of her the first night or two that I still haven’t received three weeks later. JiaBing teases my mom, plays with her, and laughs with her in a way that is unique to just the two of them. I loved watching that develop.
In a lot of ways, we are still on a journey to our “Marilyn JiaBing Parker”. She knows that is her legal name, but she spent the first seven years of her life as Wei JiaBing and that is still mainly who she is. She is growing into Marilyn JiaBing Parker and now she is not traveling alone. Her world is changing and she is right along with it. Wei JiaBing will always be the little girl inside of her, a part of who she will become, and we will love walking with her and discovering alongside her who she will become.