We made it to our next step, and I now feel officially pregnant. Only this time around the child and the pregnancy are in two different places, a whole globe apart. But those same emotions that I felt for Lucy have been coming on strong. The surreal, “is this actually happening” feelings, the overwhelming, heart pounding excitement and nervousness, the desire to write his name on everything. We’ve seen his picture. We know his name. Soon, God willing, he’ll be our son.
And now I get one chance to make an impact on his little life, through a backpack. This is totally one of those questions you ask late at night when normal conversation slows… if you had one backpack in which to parent your child through his first year, what would you put in it? One backpack to help foster his development, to help him transition easily to your home, to give him all the love and comfort you can. So hard.
So last week I was thinking and over thinking what to put into his backpack. And one night I walked through the baby aisles in Target, overcome simultaneously by emotions of excitement and sadness, rating every toy and blanket on an efficiency-of-development-and-comfort scale. Going through the senses, searching for something that would make our house seem a bit more familiar to him. That search took me wandering into the lotion aisle and I had this grand plan. What if I could get myself to smell a little like her? His foster mom who is holding him now. What if she and I wore the same lotion? So I smelled every tube in the store and gifted the one I thought we were most likely to both enjoy, which is, obviously, a complete blindfolded guess. And feeling bad about my incredibly self serving gift to the woman who is boldly and sacrificially raising my son, I included a necklace for her. The most baby friendly, non choke-able necklace I could find, in the very prettiest color of course.
We’re including pictures of our ourselves, with a recorder so he can hear our voices. I put in lots of books, because cuddling together to read a story is one of our favorite family traditions. I have a soft blanket, some balls, a little toy. And he got his own piggy. Or rather, an elephant who is perfectly suited as piggy’s brother. Lucy already can’t wait for him to come home. The baby, sure, but the elephant definitely.
Our agency had a few fantastic suggestions, one of which was buying everything in twos. One for him now and one for our house later. Just in case life in Africa with an infant is anything like life everywhere else with an infant and things get lost, chewed up, and thrown up on.
So there’s the question. What would be in your backpack?