Monday, March 20, 2017

Just Yesterday

You were born on a Friday in Nairobi, Kenya. The delivery room was full of people. I didn’t know most of them, but I didn’t really care. You were my focus. I kept my eyes on our friend and nurse who timed contractions and coached my breathing, and I kept my focus on your Daddy’s hand offered for me to squeeze until it nearly broke. We made it. You arrived. Your gasping breaths and wailing screams filled our hearts with overwhelming relief. We had already survived so much together then, you and I. 
It seems like just yesterday. But it wasn’t. 

We celebrated your first birthday in Nairobi, Kenya. We had your party at Uncle Larry’s and Aunt Diane’s along with Matthew, Uncle Mike, Daddy, you, me and the Stephen’s cat. You were most happy about the cat I think :). 

You and I were to wait in Nairobi while Daddy and Uncle Mike climbed Mt Kilimanjaro, so we celebrated just before they left. 

I hauled birthday presents with us, wrapped carefully and lovingly presented. I opened each one for you as we couldn’t convince you to tear the paper. You stared at all of us gasping over your presents, curious about the fuss. 
It seems like just yesterday. But it wasn’t.

Because just yesterday, the actual one, I sent you text messages asking about the birthday plans you’ve made without us. The packages delivered to you a month ago will be unwrapped at your leisure, the paper torn by you alone. Your day will be touched by your new friends, in new places making new, amazing memories. You are in Nairobi, Kenya again, serving on the streets that shaped your Daddy and me into a team so many years ago. 
And this birthday in Nairobi will mark your 19th year. 19?

Just yesterday, in our texts, you told me you had spent the day in downtown Nairobi, shopping in the Masaii Market. You were ecstatic over your purchases. I asked you, via text, if downtown Nairobi made you cry. It was a question that made us both smile because you know that downtown Nairobi made me cry often in my first days as a resident there. But not you. The streets that trained me away from fear, are the streets you walk with confidence because somehow pressing ahead through fear births multiplying courage despite us. I am astounded at this.

Astounded by you.

 Just yesterday, you were one whole year old. Just yesterday, we were beginning all together. Just yesterday, the Nairobi streets were made of my own memories and challenges. Just yesterday, your Dad and I were all you needed.

 Just yesterday, you were on the eve of your 19th birthday. Just yesterday, in your own beginnings away, you journeyed Nairobi’s streets marked now with your own memories and service. Just yesterday, we are no longer all you need.

 Just yesterday.

Still today.

Perfect timing.

Perfect place.




Happy happy birthday, beautiful daughter.

Grateful beyond words for every day to witness the most remarkable, 
the most astounding, you.