Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Birth-day Letter to Birth Mom

Dear Awtash,

Tonight is the eve of our son’s birth.  Although we are worlds apart, I am sure similar thoughts consume our minds tonight.  I’m taken with notions of you and a small baby entering an unjust world not so long ago.  Can you remember this night two years ago?  I wish I did.  I wish I could pinpoint in my memory the weather, the sounds, and my feelings.  I wish it were imprinted in my heart the way it’s forever imprinted on yours.  It seems fair that you alone should hold this memory; after all, you carried Mez in your womb.  But I’m jealous.  I’m grieving.  I hurt over each moment I missed with him.  Tonight, when I tucked our son into bed, I whispered to him every detail you apportioned to me about his birth, but it was vague and seemed too brief.  Tonight, I wish not only to regain the moments of Mezekir’s birth; I also wish for more time with you.  I need to remember your hands and your eyes and the sound of your gentle voice.  How will I tell him about you when the details of you seep from my memory?

Tonight, I watched Mez carefully construct a tower of Legos.  His pudgy hands, oversized for an almost two year old, seem so strong and sure.  As he played, I pictured him magically transported to northern Ethiopia, only a tuft of hair covering his fontanel (in true Tigray style), sitting in a meager home, half of his “westernized” size, falling asleep on the hard floor.   Strangely, I wasn’t comforted knowing the difference in that apparition and reality.  Instead, my heart aches for the loss of an intact culture and being loved and held by the woman who brought him life.  Sovereignty.  I’m hanging on to that.  It’s what there is.

Mez lied down in his crib tonight as a baby.  Tomorrow, he’s a toddler.  It is not cliché.  Time is going too quickly.  Do you relate?  Or does each day without out your son drag on endlessly?  You would be so proud of Mez.  He’s has such tenacity for life.  I suppose he learned that from you, to fight, to press on, to persist.  He’s no quitter.  In fact, even with three older siblings, he rules this roost.  You would relish watching Josh and Mez together.  Never have there been any more kindred spirits.  They mirror one another as though he carried each one of Josh’s DNA.  Jocular.  Ardent.  Ballsy.  He’s our joy.   My grandmother put it like this, “The first child is for the mamma.  The second for the dad.  The third is to perfect parenting.  The fourth child is for the pleasure of the entire family.”  She pegged it.  Mez is the joy of our entire family. 

Tomorrow, we celebrate Mezekir’s birth.  We will celebrate all that his life has given us.  I hope one day you will know that Mez (and you as his first mother) brought new life to our family.  He shifted our vision.  He expanded our horizons.  God used him to broaden our ministry, our hearts, and give us a tangible understanding of the gospel.  I will celebrate, but part of me will grieve.  My joy is your loss.  Thank you for loving our son enough to give him life.  We will celebrate the part of your life you gave when you gave him to us.  Thank you, Awtash.  We love you. 



  1. Beautiful.

    Nikki - blog design to change the world

  2. Beautiful words, Lori. God bless on Mez's birthday!

  3. @Nikki and Liz,
    I never imagined a birthday would be such a hard celebration...I trust one day it will settle in and be a little less tear wrenching for me. For now, I have to just breathe. Thanks for the love, girls. Really. Thank you.