It kick started my international adoption journey into high gear and gave me my most important title yet, Mommy!
Just 12 weeks from that phone call; the first mention of her name, I held her in my arms.
My daughter Imani Ruth
Imani adds a great deal of joy and laughter to my life. She is amazing and resilient. Her presence in my life came so quickly and so perfectly timed. She also adds challenges and obstacles that have put me in an occasional tailspin. Being a parent is the best and most challenging gift I've ever received. And with it, God has revealed to me how much I need Him, and His people.
So, as it turns out, I am not a Superhero. Becoming a mom has put the ki-bosh to this charade. I fail. Miserably. Everyday. I am no longer the organized multi-tasker I used to be. Multitask? I can't even task these days!
I left my sisters house with no shoes on. As in, left my shoes at her house, to go to a public place. I didn't even realize I was driving with no shoes until I was closer to the appointment than to her house. I pack my daughters gear for outings and sleep overs, but forget to pack my own. I remember my toothbrush, only cause it's next to hers. I've left my house without my cell phone, my girl's school bag, and so many other things. I've taken to writing things down or dictating to Siri, who can remind me when I get to a location.
Then there is this little person who NEEDS my undivided attention, right when I feel I need to concentrate on something I have previously deemed important.
"No go n-e-wear ok Mommy?" from the toilet (where she sits for ages, especially in the middle of mealtime) and appreciates an audience. Mine, that is.
"Mommy wer-ah you goin?" if I try to sneak away to clean up, organize, or get one more thing done.
"Mommy, you ok?!" if all is quiet for 5-10 seconds and I'm not in her sight.
"Mommy look! Mommy look! Mommy look!" from the living room 10 seconds into my shower.
"Mommy sit!" Says the little one from the table as I try to prepare, set out or clean up dinner.
How do I complete tasks/remember/be a superhero with this competition?! How could I do it alone? I don't. I can't. I'm not. I'm leaning on God to handle the details, the stress and anxiety. I'm learning to care about them less and focus on the most important little person in front of me. My house is messy but my girl is loved. She is going to figure out sooner rather than later, if she hasn't already, that I'm not a superhero. No need to keep up appearances right?! :)
What I am is Imani's mommy; her fiercest advocate and her biggest fan. Superheroes have nothing on this gig!
Fast forward 5 months and I've moved beyond the foggy brain. I'm doing better at remembering and multitasking. We are a team and she likes to help me :) Her English has EXPLODED and she now asks "Mommy what's that mean?!" She's a sponge, listening and watching EVERYTHING I do, then questioning it. She likes to throw me curve balls too, like "Mommy, can Jesus come here? I want to SEE Him!" My personal favorite is when she throws my words back at me. "Mommy, Downing's DON'T waste!" She's onto Papa, who shows his love by giving change and buying ice cream or candy. She reminded me "Mammy can fix it" when her pants ripped. She told me to call Aunt Tanya when we needed something once, cause Aunt Tanya has something for everything.
Aunt Tracy and Uncle Ben are like second parents, keeping Imani before and after school, teaching her balance (life and literally) and LOVE!
Cousins Quinn 1, and Johanna 11, provide sibling-like relationships for my girl. She loves them fiercely, and fights fiercely with them!
Music continues to be a great learning source for her. She sings and dances to music of all kinds. I love hearing her sing her little heart out and get excited when she hears a song she knows, out of the context she's used to hearing it in. She's seen Frozen 3 times now and has Let It Go memorized. She started piano lessons too!
Any chance she gets to be with her people, she takes it. Sleep overs, dinners, shopping, hanging out, playing outside in the snow, anything really. She's been ice skating, snowmobiling, and sledding. She doesn't mind the cold and just keeps wanting more! And enjoying herself. Always enjoying herself! :) She loves the iPad and iPhone because FaceTime is just another way to be in touch with her people. And take selfies or watch YouTube.
There is this description of an artist's greatest achievement called Magnum Opus. My Magnum Opus was actually created by God and on loan from Him, but she is by far the best gift I've ever been entrusted with. She's one of a kind and this child, who I get to call my daughter (I still can't really believe it) has forever changed me!
One phone call.
One year ago.
One very special little girl.
Thank You God for my resilient, smart, brave, strong, kind (and most recently a dash of naughty) little lady! I love you to Africa and back Imani Ruth Downing!