how to celebrate a first birthday from afar
The night before:
Cry while playing Ruzzle, because dang, you miss them so much. You don’t even know them, and you miss them.
Look at the kitchen table that could have held two little smashed cakes and two happy boys, and cry some more.
Pull it together a bit, and think about all the people who have already touched their lives in impactful ways. First mom, orphanage workers, social workers, foster parents. Not to mention all those on this side of the world who have been praying for them. Feel the deepest gratitude for the people who have played a role in two little one-year-olds becoming the happy, handsome, silly boys they are.
Think about how these next birthdays will be easier to share memories of when they’re older. “Here are your second birthday party pictures!” But then remember, this first year was a big one. It hurts to think of the loss and change they’ve already experienced. But God has plans for them. Speak of this first year with respect and gratitude. Speak of it often.
The day of:
Wake up to your husband making pancakes. He’s placing chocolate chips on them to make “T,” “+,” and “E” pancakes. He’s the cutest.
Thank and love your friend for making super cute, yummy cupcakes for the birthdays. She’s wonderful, so plan to teach the boys to call her “Auntie Meredith.” Eat said cupcakes for lunch.
Go about your day, but feel the urge to tell everyone you encounter that it’s your African babies’ first birthday. Decide against it, because you spend most of your day with people you’re meeting for the very first time.
Field texts and messages from family and friends all day. They’re praying for the boys today, especially.
Show up to Gospel Community (aka Bible study) to see the biggest, basically life size photo of the boys hanging at your leaders’ house. They’ve made a cake — your favorite kind — to celebrate. Take photos of everything. The photo. The table. The cake. You holding the cake. Feel excited about about these photos in the lifebooks you’re making.
Listen to other people pray for your future sons. Remember the power of prayers. Of those gathered in His name.
Go to bed happy on this slightly bitter but very sweet day. Bring on the waiting, the uncertainty, the ache for a home filled with their squeals, babbles, laughs, and even cries. Their homecoming will happen. And this next birthday will be even sweeter.
[Auntie Meredith's cupcakes... more photos to come]