Five years ago on this day, I couldn't have cared less about being a mom myself. I smiled at all the mothers who stood to be recognized in our church service. I clapped for them. I called my Mom and Grammy. I sent cards. I went on with my life.
Four years ago on this day, we were 5-6 months into our adoption process. I smiled at all the moms standing to be recognized at church and thought excitely, "Next year, my kids will be home!"
Three years ago on this day, I silently cried as the mothers at church were honored. We were still waiting and had heard NOTHING.
Two years ago on this day, I cried the entire church service. I sobbed afterwards. I knew Levi existed. I knew he was our child. I had no idea what he looked like. No idea if/when he would ever clear (paperwork). I was fighting my guts out to get him home. And my heart was breaking.
One year ago on this day, I was hysterical. I made it five minutes into the church service, then got up and left, going grocery shopping. I bawled all the way to the store and all the way home. I cried all day. I was heartsick. Heartbroken. Shattered inside. I was losing my mind. Levi still hadn't cleared and I had been told for the millionth time that there was no hope he ever would. I knew Zahria existed, but didn't know she was my daughter yet.
This year was different.
Today, I woke up to one of my precious Ethiopians snuggling me, sound asleep, wrapped around my neck. When I tried to get up for work (3:00am), she tightened her grip on me in her sleep. I kissed her tiny face and thought about how much I love her and her brother. How my heart almost explodes with love for them.
Today when I go home from work, two grinning faces will meet me. One will jump into my arms and bury her face in my neck, squealing and laughing. The other will run up and wrap his arms around me and say, "All-L-Ow-OUU!" (I love you) in my ear.
On this day at church, I will stand with the other mothers, and I will look at the child sitting next to me, and think of the one in her class down the hall.
I will cry this year too.