Chapter 20- Albany: Growing Roots and a Family
As the summer season approached, Tsering and Jennifer were starting to commute Upstate on a regular basis to spend time at Padme Samye Ling. There was always plenty of work to be done in and around the large temple and they enjoyed escaping the hustle and bustle of city life whenever they could. By late Spring, as the weather started to get hot and humid, their sixth story studio was becoming uncomfortable to sleep in. At the retreat center they were able to sleep outdoors in their tent where the climate was much cooler in the fresh mountain air. Jennifer decided that they should sublet their apartment to a co-worker for the summer months so they could vacate the city and live on the land at Padme Samye Ling. She gave away her shifts at the restaurant and they settled into a relaxed retreat schedule with the Rinpoches and sangha. They spent an idyllic two months receiving precious Dharma empowerments and teachings while participating in daily pujas, prayers and meditation sessions. They helped finish painting the murals on the walls of the main temple and lent a hand to various other projects as well. The Rinpoches asked Tsering to co-teach a week-long Tibetan language course for sangha members who were interested in learning to read, write and speak Tibetan.
Jennifer and Tsering wanted to celebrate their marriage with a small gathering of family, sangha members and friends. Now that Tsering had been in the US for almost a year, he had forged relationships with Jennifer’s family and friends. They asked the Rinpoches to offer their blessings at a small ceremony on the land. The Rinpoches aceepted their request and set a date in mid August. Jennifer made invitations for the marriage blessing using a painting that Tsering had recently created which depicted two butterflies attracted to a lotus flower, all encircled by a heart-shaped rainbow against the background of snow-covered mountains, green valleys and a blue lake. Around fifty or so guests were invited and Jennifer made special plans for the day. She rented a canopy tent to erect in the field where the Rinpoches conducted fire pujas during the summer Dharma festivals. She also ordered a beautiful wedding cake from the Hudson River Club’s pastry chef. She bought a wedding gown one day in Brooklyn quite unexpectedly while walking down Seventh Avenue. She had never imagined herself getting married before, let alone buying a traditional white wedding gown. However, when she saw the white laced strapless bodice with a multi-layered full-length tulle skirt decorated with three dimensional cream flowers in between its layers, she spontaneously decided to try it on. It fit perfectly and seemed it was made just for her. It came with a lovely lace shawl to wrap around her shoulders and was priced very reasonably for just one hundred and eighty dollars. She decided to buy it and asked the saleslady to keep it there at the shop for her until the date of the ceremony drew closer. She wanted to observe the tradition of not letting the groom see the dress before the wedding– even though they were already officially married.
The day before the ceremony, Jennifer and Tsering picked up the cake, the dress and two of Tsering’s Tibetan friends who also lived in Brooklyn and drove up to Padma Samye Ling. They stopped at the supermarket in town and bought all the food they planned to serve the Rinpoches and the guests at a picnic on the porch of the sangha house. Once they arrived at the retreat center they immediately got to work making five hundred momos. Jennifer had asked a dear old friend from her Brown Ledge Camp days to be her maid of honor. Sue Ellen arrived in the evening so that they could spend time together, just girls, before the big day. Jennifer was very busy the entire day with preparations and she was glad when Sue Ellen arrived to pull her away from the work to visit and get some beauty rest. They left Tsering and his friends to finish up the momo making.
The next day, Jennifer’s family drove up to the land early in the morning to help with last minute details. It was their first time to the retreat center and first encounter with the Rinpoches. Jennifer’s mother was the only family member at the wedding who had met the Lamas before. When Lama Chimed passed, Maureen happened to be staying at the apartment in Florida. Jennifer had asked her to stop by the Dharma Center in Lake Worth for the Memorial Service to pay respect on her behalf. Jennifer’s father and stepmother had many encounters with the Lamas– it was through them that Jennifer had met the precious Dharma and the Rinpoches in the first place. However, due to personal obstacles they were unable to be present at the ceremony that day. It saddened Jennifer that they could not be there, but there was nothing she could do to change the situation and had to accept it as it was.
Jennifer’s sister and mother helped her to get dressed and ready while the rest of the men helped carry and set up chairs under the canopy in the field. The sangha members helped set up a shrine for the ceremony as well as the seats and ritual items for the Rinpoches. In the early afternoon, the rest of the guests arrived– extended family and friends from Jennifer’s college years. Once everyone was assembled under the tent, the Rinpoches arrived to officiate the ceremony. Jennifer was escorted by her mother Maureen through the tall summer grass of the field as crickets jumped in between the tulle of her gown. Jennifer carried a lovely bouquet of perennial flowers assembled for the occasion by her friend Pam who owned a perennial farm down the road.
Tsering was standing under the tent with the rest of the attendees, dressed in a sky blue Tibetan silk shirt and white pants. His eyes were wide with amazement and joy to behold his bride in her full glory. Even though the young couple had been married for over a year at this point in time, they felt every bit the nervousness and anticipation of a couple about to wed. In the presence of the Buddha, Guru Rinpoche and Tara on the shrine, the Rinpoches, sangha, family and friends bearing witness, Jennifer and Tsering’s hearts overflowed with love and support. The summer breeze blew softly through the canopy as the Rinpoches welcomed everyone to the ceremony. The Lamas gave a short talk about the commitment of marriage from a Buddhist perspective, explaining how patience was a vital ingredient to a successful relationship. They rejoiced in the fact that two individuals from such different backgrounds had found common ground, proof of the power of bodhicitta– compassionate mind– to overcome barriers such as language and cultural differences. The Rinpoches then began the Buddhist blessing ceremony in which they prayed to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for the long life, prosperity and happiness of the couple. They chanted auspicious prayers and mantras that were carried on the soft breeze and into the stainless blue sky. While the prayers continued, the younger of the Khenpo Brothers wrapped khatags, white ceremonial scarves, around each of their necks and then tied a knot between them, symbolically joining the couple in eternity. Once the prayers were complete, the Rinpoches asked everyone in attendance to throw rose petals on the crown of the couple’s heads as a symbol of good wishes and blessing. The first person to approach the young couple was Jennifer’s grandfather who took great enjoyment out of launching a fistful of flower petals on his grand-daughter’s head of red curls. The rest of the guests took equal pleasure in his participation and they all broke out in laughter. Tibetan and Buddhist friends in attendance then offered khatags to the couple. By the time the flower petal and khatag processions were over, Jennifer and Tsering were covered in white silk and rose blossoms. Khenchen Rinpoche then led the assembly in a celebratory Tibetan Buddhist shout-out to the Gods by crying out “Lha Gyalo!” There was joy, laughter and merriment all around as the guests were then invited to take a tour of the temple while Jennifer and Tsering posed for portraits with the family. Jennifer’s sister Carol had offered to take the photos that day and was doing a wonderful job of documenting this precious moment in time for the couple.
After the tour of the temple, guests made their way back to the sangha house where refreshments were served and gifts were opened while the momos steamed. Jennifer’s sisters both helped Tsering’s Tibetan friends in the kitchen while Jennifer and Tsering enjoyed the company of their dear friends and family who had joined them for the day. Tables and chairs were set out on the porch for the picnic and baskets of perennials served as center pieces. When the food was ready to be served, the Rinpoches were invited to share in the feast. The guests all took their seats around the giant length of a table and toasts were made throughout the meal in honor of the Rinpoches for their blessings and the young couple for their commitment. At the end of the meal the gorgeous wedding cake was brought out. Jennifer was reluctant to cut into the edible art, but, as is custom, she and Tsering made the first cut together and then served each other their first bites.
The sun started to set past the tree-lined western horizon and the Rinpoches bid their farewells to the assembly. Jennifer’s family and friends were all so honored to have been invited to this sacred land where they had the opportunity to encounter the Lamas. Most of them never had such an experience before and were quite moved by it. Many of them told Jennifer that although this wedding ceremony was the most humble and intimate one they had attended, it was by far the most meaningful and special. As the night sky grew darker and the first stars in the sky started to twinkle, the guests started to take their leave. Each one was asked to take a small citronella plant from the picnic table as a souvenir of the day. The rest of the perennials that were used as offerings to the shrine under the tent and as decorations for the tables were then offered to the garden in front of the Rinpoches’ home. Ani Loretta suggested that Jennifer and Tsering create a small crescent-shaped flower bed for their planting.
Once all of the guests had said their good-byes, some driving home that night, others spending the night in the comfortable rooms of the Bodhicitta Inn on the retreat center land, Jennifer and Tsering made their way back to the canopy in the field where they slept outside in the fresh night air. The blissful energy of the ceremony still lingered and they were grateful for all the love and blessings they had received that day.
The next morning, after sharing breakfast in the sangha house, Jennifer’s immediate family members took their leave. Jennifer and Tsering dropped their Tibetan friends off at the local bus depot and then returned the canopy tent to the rental company. They then walked over to the Rinpoches’ home and planted the flowers in the garden. With the wedding festivities behind them, they settled back into their retreat routine with the other resident sangha members.
The long summer days were starting to get shorter with each sunset. Jennifer’s mind started to turn back to secular matters as she anticipated the need to find work and a earn a living. Jennifer and Tsering had dreams of opening a Tibetan restaurant and even had a location in mind just off Seventh Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn. But the expense of the lease was just out of their reach and despite her Mother’s willingness to co-sign on the lease with them, they decided to hold the dream a bit a longer until they had firmer financial footing.
Growing tired of waiting tables and knowing that landing a performing gig at this point in her career would probably mean going out on tour for long stretches of time away from Tsering, Jennifer decided to switch careers. She initiated a job search in the Spring for a French-teaching post in New York City’s private schools. Her double major in French and Theater was proving to be a useful asset after all. Although she had a couple of promising interviews, she did not receive any offers. The teaching placement agency she was working with suggested she expand her search beyond New York City to the Upstate area. She agreed, knowing that the standard of living was cheaper and better the further North one went from the City and also because she wanted to be closer to Padme Samye Ling. Late in August, Jennifer received a call from the placement agency, notifying her that a French-teaching position had opened at a small private school in Albany, NY. They had reviewed her resume and requested an interview with her.
Jennifer seized the opportunity and drove two hours East of Padme Samye Ling to Albany, NY. She pulled her little green VW into a beautiful campus that belonged to the Convent of the Sacred Heart. Doane Stuart School rented half of the buildings from the Catholic Sisters. The interview went very well and Jennifer was quickly offered a full time position teaching the Lower and Middle School French classes. Due to the late timing of the job offer– the school year was to begin in just weeks– the Headmaster asked that she accept the position on the spot. Jennifer asked to have a couple of hours to make her decision. She wanted to discuss with Tsering and get her Mother’s advice. The Assistant Headmaster offered to take her on a tour of the campus in an effort to sway her decision. The architecture and history of the buildings was impressive. It wasn’t until she was brought down to the basement of the school, however, that the decision became quite clear to her. While passing through the student locker area, the Assistant Headmaster stopped briefly to show Jennifer a small space that the school rented out to a local Buddhist group. Jennifer’s interest was immediately sparked as she peered through the glass doorway and saw a traditionally decorated Tibetan Buddhist shrine room. At the end of the room was an altar with a framed photograph of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa. Jennifer smiled from ear to ear and knew her decision had just been made for her. She took the job on the spot and agreed to return in two weeks time for Orientation.
Jennifer drove back to the retreat center to share the good news with Tsering. They would have just two weeks to find an apartment in Albany and move their things up from Brooklyn. The lease on their studio wasn’t over until October so they agreed to continue subletting to the coworker who had used it for the summer season. Jennifer took another day trip to Albany to find an apartment. She found a shoebox of an apartment on the second story of a teeny little house in Albany for only three hundred fifty dollars a month. It offered very modest accommodations but was the only thing she could find in their budget that was available. Doane Stuart School had offered her a contract that paid only eighteen thousand dollars for the entire school year so they would not have any money to spare. Jennifer rented a UHaul van and they drove to Brooklyn to pack up their things. With their small collection of hand-me-down furniture loaded in the back, they drove up Interstate 87 to the Capital City of New York and moved into their new home at 200 Morton Avenue.
Jennifer jumped right into her teaching duties at the school. She and Tsering were given a warm welcome by the school community and especially the local Karma Kagyu Buddhist group that rented the room in the basement of the school for use as a shrine room. The sangha members were very hospitable, inviting them to their meditation and prayer sessions. They also introduced Tsering and Jennifer to two other Tibetans living in Albany with whom they instantly became friends. Tsering found work with a local contractor pouring foundations. It was hard, manual labor but he enjoyed getting out and earning a living. He would come home at the end of the day covered in cement dust and worn out muscles.
One day while Jennifer was teaching a French lesson to a group of first grade students, the Assistant Headmaster came in, asking Jennifer to step outside to have a word with her. She had some shocking news to share with her. “I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but we just learned that there has been an awful tragedy in New York City. A plane has flown into one of the Twin Towers. I am making the rounds, sharing the news with the faculty so you can contact family members who might be involved. Parents are calling in for their children and most are going home early. Do you need me to watch your class so you can make a phone call? I know you have family who lives Downstate.”
Jennifer was stunned by the news but not quite grasping the gravity of the situation. “Yes, I think I should call my father. My uncle owns a restaurant in the World Financial Center and my cousin works there, too. I should call to see that they’re okay,” she replied. Jennifer left her class and went to the office to call her father. He told her that he had tried contacting her uncle at the restaurant but that all the lines were busy. He was not able to get through. He told her to say some prayers and hope for the best. She returned to her class so that the Assistant Headmaster could continue making rounds and soon enough most of the students were picked up early by worried parents who had heard on the news that the incident was a terrorist attack.
Jennifer returned home at the end of the day and turned on the news. Every channel was reporting live coverage of the tragic events unfolding in Lower Manhattan. A second plane had struck the second tower and evacuations were underway. Jennifer couldn’t help but think about how just months ago she and Tsering were working there. Had they not decided to move Upstate, they could have been at work this very moment, stuck in the crosshairs of this apocalyptic tragedy. She spent the rest of the day following the events as they unfolded, calling her mother and father to get news updates about family members who lived and worked in the City. When Tsering returned home from his construction job that day, Jennifer caught him up with the news and they spent the rest of the day in disbelief as they watched live footage of the Towers as they came crumbling down. One of the Towers fell directly onto the Winter Garden, the building that housed her Uncle’s restaurant. She and Tsering recited mantras under their breath as they watched the horrific events on the television screen.
The next day at school, the Headmaster led the school community through a prayer service and day of remembrance for all the lives lost the previous day, September 11th. Many of the students and adults were worried and fearful about the future. They worried about further attacks and the safety of the once invincible United States. The school conducted bomb drills for the next several days in preparation for the unknown. Jennifer realized it was important to prepare the children and staff for the worst case scenario, but she couldn’t help but wonder if the country had gone into an emotional state of panic. Considering the circumstances, it was only natural. She tried to calm the worried questions her students asked her in class– “Will they fly an airplane into my parent’s office building? What about our school? Our bell tower is pretty high– maybe a terrorist could attack our school, too.” Jennifer had compassion for their innocent fears and reassured them that they were quite safe in Albany.
The school community settled back into its normal routine over the course of the next few weeks. Jennifer started to come home more and more fatigued at the end of the school day. She put a lot of time and energy into planning and conducting her multiple lessons every day and just assumed that the first year of teaching was taking a toll on her physically. During a weekend visit with an old friend in Vermont, Jennifer fell ill. Out of the blue, she felt weak, dizzy and nauseous. Her friend Annette asked her if she could possibly be pregnant. No one else in the house was suffering similar symptoms and it wasn’t yet flu season. Jennifer replied that although it was a possibility, it was unlikely. She and Tsering had not been actively planning or preparing for children, yet. Annette suggested that they take a ride into town to get a pregnancy test, just to be sure. They left the men who were chopping wood in the yard and drove into town to get a test at the supermarket pharmacy. When they got back, they knew the results within minutes. Jennifer was expecting.
Annette couldn’t contain her excitement for her friend and gave her a huge congratulatory hug. “I know this is a total surprise to you, but it’s so wonderful! You and Tsering are going to make such awesome parents! Oh my God, you have to go tell Tsering!” Jennifer was a bit stunned by this development. She felt a surge of adrenaline rush through her body as the surreal situation of moments ago became tangibly real with the test’s result. She left the house to go share the news with Tsering.
“Tsering-la,” she said as she approached him, “I think you should sit down. Here, on this log. I have some very important news to share with you. The reason that I am sick is because I’m pregnant. We’re going to have a baby!” Tsering stared back at Jennifer in shocked disbelief. She continued, “I know this is a complete surprise and we had no plans for a child, yet, but this is it! A baby is coming!” As Jennifer said these words, she felt her own initial shock turn into acceptance and excitement. Tsering would need a little more time to process the information before he would be able to share in her joy. The whole situation was making his head swirl. As an ex-monk, Tsering had very little experience with the concept of pregnancy, let alone the scientific wonder of the instant result pregnancy test. The events of the day were going a bit too fast for him. Thankfully, Annette and her boyfriend Etienne were really great support to both Jennifer and Tsering that day. They took both of them inside, and had some great heart-to-heart talks about their future and a little baby’s place in it. By the end of their visit, Tsering started to get over his initial shock and warm up to the idea of walking the sacred path of parenting together with his partner Jennifer.
The parents-to-be did not share their news with anyone until Jennifer was into her second trimester of pregnancy. Once this critical period was over, they shared their excitement with family, friends and colleagues. The baby was due in early June, during the holy month of Saga Dawa. Jennifer would be able to finish out her teaching year with no interruption. One of their Tibetan friends who lived in Albany offered to help Tsering secure a job at the Albany Medical Center in the Receiving and Distribution department. Sonam worked as a nurse at the hospital and knew the manager of the R&D department. Just after the changing of the year, Tsering was offered a full-time position with benefits and vacation time. He started work the following week. Now that they both had full-time work with steady income, Jennifer started thinking about buying a home for their new family. They applied for a mortgage and were pre-approved for a modest amount that would allow them to buy a house.
They spent the next few months looking at homes in the downtown neighborhoods of Albany. Eventually they found a cozy townhouse with a lovely garden, patio and fountain in the backyard, offstreet parking and a workshop in the basement. The first floor was a three-bedroom owner’s unit and the two-bedroom apartment upstairs was currently rented. The rental income from the upstairs unit would help them with their monthly mortgage payments. It was the perfect fit for their needs. Their real estate agent suggested they look into a program for low-income first-time home owners offered through the City of Albany. Designed to encourage people to stay within the city limits, the program offered grants to qualifying home-owners to use as down payments and rehab of the property. Jennifer and Tsering were well within the program’s income limits and seized the opportunity. The paperwork was going to slow down their home purchase considerably but was well worth the wait. The housing agency agreed to give them fifteen thousand dollars towards their down payment and another sixteen thousand to use for lead abatement and rehab of the property. Jennifer and Tsering’s offer was accepted on the house and they initiated all the necessary paperwork to get funding. Jennifer was anxious to get into the home before the baby arrived but it became clear that it just wasn’t going to be possible.
One month before the baby was due, Jennifer was showered with gifts from family and friends. Her sister and mother organized an intimate party for relatives and old friends, and then her colleagues at school threw a second shower for her at work. By the time all of the gifts were brought into their tiny apartment, they barely had room to move amongst all the baby paraphernalia that had been gifted to them– they were swimming in an ocean of baby clothes, furniture, diapers, and toys. Jennifer loved looking at all the baby outfits and spent many hours imagining who the little person that soon would be wearing them might be. Tsering was intrigued by all the gadgets and gizmos associated with babies here in America. Back home in Tibet he had never seen such things as diaper bins, baby wipes or even diapers for that matter. Jennifer made sure that she and Tsering attended birthing classes as she was planning to give birth naturally. Together they learned about the different techniques used during labor to help the mother through contractions and pain. While other women in the class were open to the idea of natural birth, none of them were as committed to the idea as Jennifer. She was absolutely confident in her ability to give birth the old fashioned way. She wrote up a birth plan outlining her commitment to natural birth and asked her sisters and Tsering to support her in this plan.
The baby’s due date came and went as the final days of school were winding down. While sleeping one night, Jennifer was awoken in the early hours of the morning with her first contractions. Tsering excitedly packed a bag and brought her to the hospital. She was admitted to a room and checked for timing of contractions. After a few hours of no progression the nurses checked her out and told her to go take a really long walk, all day if necessary. Disappointed that it was just a false alarm, Jennifer and Tsering drove back home and called her sisters. They were both waiting at her mother’s home in Gloucester for the big moment to finally arrive. They decided to make the drive over to Albany to help Jennifer walk herself into labor. They arrived a few hours later and together with Jennifer and Tsering they walked all over the neighborhoods of Albany– through Lincoln Park, past the Governor’s mansion, into the Cathedral on Eagle Street, down Madison Avenue for a bite to eat at Van’s Vietnamese Restaurant and then over to the Capital Building and City Hall. Jennifer’s swollen, pregnant feet were starting to ache from all the walking but her contractions were still too far apart. Her sisters were very excited about the imminent arrival of the baby so they kept her walking. They gave her a short break during a car-ride to the mall but once inside, they had her walk the length of both floors. Finally the contractions started to intensify.
They drove back home thinking that it would be time to check back into the hospital but the contractions dropped off again. Tsering offered to make momos for everyone while they waited. A thunderstorm blew through town and the electricity went out for an hour or so. They ate momos by candlelight while thunder and lightning crashed. After dinner, the storm subsided and everyone grew tired of waiting and went to bed. Just moments after lying down, Jennifer’s body entered its true labor. Tsering brought her to the hospital and let her sisters make their way up separately. Jennifer was re-admitted to a labor and delivery room and was assigned a wonderful nurse who was equally excited as Jennifer about her natural birth plan. “We don’t get too many folks like you here. I don’t think I’ve been assigned a natural birth my entire thirteen years of working at this hospital! I’m really excited to do this with you. It’s an honor,” the nurse said with confidence and sincerity. Jennifer was grateful this particular nurse was on the night shift. She was really going into this whole thing blind and was so thankful to have someone with more experience on her team.
Jennifer’s hard labor lasted about eight long hours. Tsering, Carol and Anne all took turns comforting and supporting her through the intensity of the pain and contractions. She suffered from back labor as the baby was in the posterior position. She wanted to use the birthing tub but the doctors on duty would not allow her access to it. They insisted that she stay plugged in to all the monitors at all times and the tub risked her not being monitored. The nurse suggested that she get into the shower and let the hot water ease the constricted muscles in her back. This helped greatly. She also used the birthing ball and squatting as ways to move the baby through the birth canal and take the pressure off her back. Eventually the baby finally started to crown in the early morning hours. The nurse held a mirror up for Jennifer so she could be encouraged to push. The nurse went to get a doctor to deliver the baby but they were all tied up with emergency c-sections. The nurse was extremely calming and reassuring, telling Jennifer over and over again that she could do it. She coached her through the final pushing phase and just at the last moment a resident came in to catch the baby. Jennifer heard the doctor say “It’s a girl” and then the baby’s first cries before they whisked her away into a side room to be weighed, cleaned and swaddled. Jennifer was left alone to be stitched up by the resident while Tsering and her sisters were all in the side room with the baby, cooing and fawning over the precious newborn. Jennifer was exhausted, lonely and in pain from the episiotomy. It seemed like an eternity before anyone remembered Jennifer until finally they brought her baby to her. The nurse presented a wide-eyed tightly swaddled little bundle of life to Jennifer who fell in love at first sight. Suddenly all of the pain and fatigue vanished as she took her baby girl into her arms. The nurse coached her on now to hold the baby and get her to latch and suckle.
Jennifer was not prepared to name the baby. She and Tsering had several boy’s names picked out, anticipating that the baby would be a boy. They were caught off guard when the doctor told them she was a girl. After giving it some thought, Jennifer was inspired to name the baby after her mother and Tsering’s mother, as a tribute to the matriarchs of their respective families. And so Baby Maureen Yangchen was named. Jennifer’s mother arrived shortly after the baby’s arrival and was thrilled to greet her first grand-daughter. She was very touched that her daughter had named the baby in her honor. Any fears or doubts that Maureen had harbored about Jennifer’s marriage to Tsering were washed away with the arrival of this her first grand-daughter. Just like the birth of Sal, Jennifer’s nephew, the arrival of their baby had miraculous healing effects upon the family dynamics.
Jennifer stayed in the hospital overnight so the staff could observe her recovery and the baby’s first days. Once it was determined that both mother and baby were healthy and stable they were discharged. Jennifer’s mother and sisters stayed in Albany for the next few days, helping the new parents adjust to life with a newborn. They spent most of their time cooking, cleaning and shopping so the parents and baby could spend these precious first days bonding, sleeping and recovering from the exhausting labor. Once they settled into a comfortable routine, Jennifer’s mother and sisters left to return to their own families and homes. For the next couple of weeks various friends stopped by to meet the new baby and provide delicious meals to the new family. Tsering and Jennifer were in awe of the miracle of new life and their precious baby girl. Tsering’s respect for Jennifer had multiplied exponentially while bearing witness to her giving birth. The birthing process bound their souls even tighter than before as the love they shared between them grew with the addition of the baby to their family. It was a time of abundance.