Gabriel Tariku and I, taking a short snooze, or trying.
Yes, he’s laying on myhead. Yes, it’s odd, but hey, that’s how we roll/here, we do it OUR way!
Well, our vacation is almost over. Tomorrow we return home. It’s been a fabulous trip, full of family and friends and downtime. It’s been such a treat to introduce Gabriel to our family and old friends back here, somehow it just makes it all more final if they all know him too. My dear friend Leslie asked me yesterday, don’t you just feel like you’ve had him forever? Well, yes. And, no.

He is so much a part of us that it does feel like he’s been with us for, well, ever. And really, we consider that in a way, he has been a part of us forever in that God himself knew that Gabe would be here with us, as part of our family, our child…now. But then again, I find myself having blank chapters when I think about him and his baby-ness or his growing out of that babyness into the toddler that he is.

And so much, he doesn’t feel like he’s been with us forever in that in a way our trip to Ethiopia seems so fresh. It’s still a bit of obsession. Will it ever not be? Will the mundane daily stuff get in the way and sweep that reference point off our radar? I sure hope not. I don’t want to have the laundry, market, school, stacks of paper bury that awareness. It can’t stay so raw and fresh forever, I know. But I was telling my husband that even now, it is still so big, so…much…that whole “been to Ethiopia” thing He knew exactly what I was talking about. It gets under your skin. It changes you. And now, especially because of and for this small boy, I don’t ever want to change back.

We have been asked so many times on this visit: “Would you ever go back?” But with the tone of “surely not” – it’s too far, too hard, too much, you’ve done your bit, you’re done, right? Well. I don’t know if we are done or not or how. Maybe we are. We have a pretty big family, a smallish large family. We are not spring chickens and I know my husband would like to retire someday…..But I even said to him the other night, we need to relish every minute of this, he’s our last baby/new kid. And doc said, “you think?” And I laughed and said, ‘retirement, ever?” So, who knows. God knows and He’ll let us know either way on that one. But will we ever go back? Oh. Yeah. Absolutely.

But for now, today we do a whole lot of cleaning, spend some time in the sand and surf, eat too much with my brother and sister-in-law, and then pack like mad for our predawn start tomorrow. Oh, one more trouncing by Buddybug on the tennis court (20 years since I played. I am SO sore but it’s SO much fun!). Oh, with that last bit of sitting on the deck, with the traditional rootbeer floats, oohing and aahing over the fireworks. Happy Independence Day to all.