It was 2 years ago today, that my sister called to tell us about the birth of my first niece, McKenna. She was born on March 23rd to her very excited parents some 10,000 miles away from their friends and family. I wasn't finding out about the birth of my niece until the 24th because of the time change, since my niece was born in Iwakuni, Japan. My sister and my nieces father are both Marines, who at the time of McKenna's birth were stationed in Japan. She celebrated her first birthday in Japan, and didn't step foot on American soil, in a Seattle airport until she was 14 months old.
It is likely that my niece will never remember her life in Japan. She won't remember visiting the Cherry Blossom gardens, or the 15 buttons that were needed to work the toilet in my sisters first home. Most of McKenna's memories will be of her life here in America, but so much of who she is today, and so much of who my sister is as a mother is because of how wonderful Japan was to them during McKenna's first year of life. The natural disasters that have occured in Japan are so devastating. I am glad to hear about the progress that is being made each day, but with so many people still missing, I know there is far left to go. Fashiontoast wrote an amazing first-hand account of being in Japan during the earthquake. It's an amazing read.
So... in honor of McKenna's 2nd birthday this year, instead of sending gifts to this adorable little girl, maybe you could send a donation to the Red Cross? Both Kenna and I agree that there are lots of little children who could use extra donations now in Japan. Some of those children used to be her neighbors.
Happy 2nd Birthday McKenna!!