In the last week, we've received ten new photographs taken of Baby A, half from a traveling family and half from Gladney. I am thrilled to have these, but here's how it makes things hard: one of my coping mechanisms during this time is to allow the details of Abenezer to fade in my mind. I'm constantly--and I mean constantly--aware of his beautiful existence in this world, but so that I can function, I avoid looking at his pictures. Having new ones come brings back into very sharp focus the reality of this baby, who may or may not get to be ours.
Ted is a one-track minded sort of guy. Sometimes I wish I were more like this. I think it's true of a lot of women that we can juggle many different ideas in our heads at once. I can laugh at a movie, get engrossed in a book, have dumb conversations with pals about pop culture, and get excited about the butternut squash soup I'm making all while being very aware of a life in Ethiopia that my heart is achingly bound to. He's become sort of like that lyric in a Lisa Loeb song, "the ghost in the back of my head." He never goes away, and I don't want him to.
So for the past few days, the ghost became slightly less vaporous. As my friend Jill said when I showed her the new pictures, "He seems like such a real person in these." Yes ma'am, he does. He's in the bright sunshine in all of them. In one, he's on his tummy, chewing the fingers of his right hand, head cocked to one side, eyes smiling, hair so soft and warm. In another, he's again on his tummy, looking high up at someone standing over him, revealing that he has tan stripes on his neck from when he lays on his back in the sun. In a couple of the photos, he was sick with a cold, so he looks droopy and sleepy.
In all of them he's breathtakingly lovely. In all of them he's real. For the last few days, he's stopped being the ghost in the back of my head, and it's hard as hell to take.