It probably sounds a little crazy given how excited I am about the coming trip (though Darci, I know from our conversation the other day that you'll get this), but I'm grieving the pending change in our family.
Just over seven years ago, the best thing in my entire life happened to me: Matthew was born. He is my miracle. My very own direct, clear, unequivocal answer to prayer. He was then, and is to this day, my gift from God. His very name is testimony to my belief about that; Matthew means 'gift of God.' In the seven years since he was born, we have hardly been apart. There have been a few weekends over the years when I've been out gallivanting; there are evenings out once in a while when he's with Geoff or with my parents; there are half days now and again when he's with my friend while I work...but that's pretty much it. Because we h/school, Matthew and I spend our every day together, and most evenings as well, when we cuddle up and talk or read together while he tries to relax enough to sleep. I know every nuance of that boy, and he can read me like an open book, too.
I remember learning, when I was about twenty-three weeks pregnant, that I was going to give birth to a child of the male persuasion. I was shocked, to be honest, and asked the technician if she was sure...but there was no mistaking that little protrusion from between his legs...it was a boy...we were having a boy! For some reason, I had totally expected that I was having a girl...primarily, I think, because I had a girl's name picked out (which shall now be given to my daughter). I knew, of course, that it was genetically possible that I might bear a son, but for some reason, I believed that I was expecting a girl. And then I found out that I was having a boy child, and I fell in love with boys...my boy in particular, but little boys in general. I started to look at the colour blue in a new light (how had I never known before that there were so many shades of it?), started to love all of the stereotypical boyish kinds of things (lego, the sight of garbage collectors on that day of the week, tractors types, etc, etc), and oohed an aahed over every newborn baby boy that I saw, picturing in them the boy that I might have. I made up a song about little boys and, after his birth, I sang it often to Matthew (he still loves if I sing it to him now). In a turnabout that can be best attributed to becoming a mother for the first time, I decided that I wouldn't trade my boy for a million girls, and I could no longer even imagine having a daughter. When I fell for this boy, I fell hard. And it's a love affair that has never stopped for me. I love this child with every fibre of my being.
And there is a good-sized part of me that doesn't want to give up what we have. The closer we get to leaving for Ethiopia, the more part of me pushes against that coming reality. It's kind of like that old saying 'here's your hat...what's your hurry?"
When I shared these sentiments with someone recently, it was pointed out to me that adding children to our family is exactly what I've wanted for a very long time. My first reaction was 'duh.' My next reaction was that she, too, had wanted her children and that didn't seem to stop her from having occasional issues with them. Of course, I said neither of these things out loud. But I was clear that I did know that bringing these two additional children into our lives was, in fact, something I have wanted for a long time. I know...I've lived the roller coaster of it all. Seth Asrat and Lizzie Senait are who I have longed for and dreamed about for a very long time. I am so excited that they are joining our family.
But for a moment, for this short time remaining before they join our family, and as my eyes fill with tears, I want to just hold on to that little boy sleeping upstairs. Hold on and never let go. For it to be just him and me, suspended in perpetuity. Because our lives are about to change radically, and his world is about to be rocked. And I so don't want to wreck things for him...for us. I'm terrified that we've done something horrible to him by bringing not one, but two, new family members into our lives. Children who may, for a time, feel like the neighbours who never leave. Children who are going to consume much of my time and energy from here on out, all of which will be taken directly from the tank that used to be accessed exclusively by Matthew.
I wish I could mark this time somehow, in the few days we have left together. I don't know how to do that, but I wish I could. I miss him already. I miss us already.