Vague recollections aren’t a novelty; but those distinct, detailed, unequivocal moments that your mind can touch, well, those are few and far between. There aren’t many days in my life that I can look back a full year and remember details like they were yesterday.
The moment I woke this morning, all of the details of April 4th, 2010 flooded my mind. Everything. The weather, my room and bed, what I ate, the smells of the city, my emotions, where I spent almost every moment, and who stood by my side, holding my hand, calming my heart seems as real right now as if I could somehow be magically transported back to that moment.
The haze of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was thick. The smell of roasting foods filled our room at the Sheraton when we opened the door. Easter morning in Ethiopia means the end of a 40-day fast from all animal products. You can imagine the level of festivity surrounding a normal Easter holiday. There was nothing ordinary regarding this Easter. This Easter marked the day we would finally hold our son, Mezekir in our arms.
God gifted us with each moment of that day. The songs of rebirth and new life, redemption and hope at church hit a deeper chord. God took the understanding of spiritual adoption and made it tangible that day. That exceptional day etched the memories of the afternoon on the lawn in the sweet sunshine watching Ann twirl around in her habesha dress singing, “My brother is coming home. My brother is almost here. I’ve waited forever. My brother is coming home,” while daddy leisurely napped on the grass.
The second hand of my watch ticked to a sluggish cadence while the expectancy of placement drew nearer. Finally, the hallow beep of the Land Cruiser outside the gate to our guesthouse signaled Mezekir arrived. Even now, it’s surreal. The luxury SUV pulling into BeJoe, the smiling and waving white driver (who’s done this thousand of times and has to tire of the tears and doting of new parents), the giant, bowling-ball-of-a-baby being pulled from first car ride, our family circling Mezekir like vultures ready to descend, and the seemingly limitless tears falling in joy over our son’s arrival at long last haven’t faded at all.
|"First Time Holding Mez"|
Our poor son, at 7 months, was subjected to every “check and inspection” a newborn endures. 10 fingers. Check. 10 toes. Check. Chunky thighs. Check… It wouldn’t have mattered what was missing; he was perfect and perfectly made for us. We haven’t missed a beat since that day. Mez has dedicated his first year to holding up his head, eating, rolling over, sitting up, eating, crawling, walking, eating, running, climbing, eating, climbing some more, saying ‘ababa’ and ‘mama’, ‘bites’ and ‘more’, and a little more eating.
|"Checking the 10 Fingers and Toes"|
I’d say we are celebrating Mez’s “Gotcha Day,” but it feels he’s always been here. I’m sure that’s because he was written into our lives and our hearts since before the foundations of the Earth. Thank you, Awtash, for the gift of your son, our son, and a shared child changing us all in the process.
|"Yep, that's us. First Family Photo...and Fitting"|