Saturday, June 7, 2008

Digging Deep

Back on June 7, 2007 I was two days away from my first triathlon - the Mighty Montauk in Long Island. The timing was perfect - I trained from February until June - basically the exact time that I was also preparing our documents for the adoption. Along with being mom to 3 kids, it really helped pass the time. I have run many races, but this was the first time in a swim and bike race and I was really nervous. I trained by the book so that I knew I'd be prepared. I spent hours in the pool, on my bike and on the road thinking about what our newest family member would look like, what the circumstances would be that would bring her to us, what Ethiopia would be like, what it would be like if we could meet her birth family. There were days that I really had to dig deep to get through a session, but thinking of Sophie made it that much easier. So many families in the waiting stage ask our opinion on how to pass the time. I think training for some sort of physical fitness test is perfect. You don't sit around eating pints of ice cream feeling sad that you haven't heard anything yet and you are in shape to start the marathon of parenthood. In the end, I finished the race about 20 minutes faster than my ultimate goal time and I was thrilled. I was literally floating around I was so excited - not only was the race over (and I didn't drown!!), but we were that much closer to our sweet little girl.

This year was a whole different story. On June 7, 2008, I was competing in my second triathlon (the same one). I was lucky enough to have a crew of women from my town (all mothers of 3-4 kids themselves) to train with and commiserate with. They were all so motivating and fun to be around. This year I knew I could actually do it, so I was a little more focused on my time. This year my thoughts were also often on Sophie, but this year I actually knew her, had held her and loved her more than I ever thought humanly possible. This year, during the race, when I was tired (and wondering why the swim was so much longer than last year!), I had a new focus that allowed me to dig even deeper. This year, the race marked the one year anniversary that Sophie's birthmother relinquished her to the police. This year, I got teary more than once during the race, and it wasn 't from the physical pain of the race - it was from the pain that I could only imagine that her birthmother was feeling all the way across the world, wondering how her daughter had grown and how she was being loved and cared for. We plan on telling Sophie everything we know about her birthmother and our meeting with her. We will show her every picture and video we have as many times as she wants to see it. Maybe one day, she will get to meet the woman who brought her into this world and loved her enough to suffer her own pain to give her a better life. She will know the key dates of when everything happened that we know about. On June 7th every year I may not remind all of our family members of this certain anniversary, but I will have my own bittersweet feelings that will forever conflict in my mind. I will thank God for bringing Sophie into our lives, yet my heart will break for the woman that had to sacrifice so much to make that happen. I will remember that no matter how deep I've had to dig in my heart and soul for ANYTHING in my life, it can never compare to the the suffering of one Ethiopian woman thousands of miles away from us.

My inspiration.....
The panic/excitement sets in.....