Monday, May 27, 2013

What Was Your Biggest Day?

“It’s a big day," I replied when Meazi’s Amharic tutor Mahelet told me she was graduating from college on Saturday, “A really big day." I flashed back to my own college graduation, I was standing on the sidewalk in Greenwich Village hailing a cab with my mom. I was sobbing. School was over and the Icelandic actor I was in love with was not in love with me. Everything seemed so unstable. I was thrilled to be finished with school, and I already had a job, but my emotions were all over the place. Happiness, sadness, relief, fear, love- my poor mom must have thought I was a total nut bag at that point. There was no way we were going home on the subway, this kind of display was only suitable for the private backseat of a dark taxi.

I don’t know why I only had toddler adjectives in my vocabulary to describe graduation day to Mahelet, “big” “really big,” but I could tell by her face that she knew what I what I was talking about. I have no doubt that Mahelet, a brainy engineering student, has a very bright future, but still the end of something that intense and that structured can be a little unnerving and a lot bit emotional for actresses and engineers alike.

I have been thinking a lot about big days this week. There have been many “big” days along the way. The day the doctor called with my cancer diagnosis was a big ‘bad’ one. My body felt the same way as graduation day, only much more awful.

The day Steven’s mom died, really bad day. I remember my very non-religious husband reading the Mourners Caddish quietly in our living room minutes after getting the phone call.

What else? Wedding Day? Cliché but true. All my emotions were on the surface that day too. I picture my dad putting his arms around me and my brother and sister and saying, “You kids know all the right things” following my sister’s beautiful maid of honor speech. I remember Steven flubbing his vows a little bit but making an affable recovery in the nick of time. It was also a big day.

All of these times I remember, all of these big days.

Guess which day is the biggest?

 Ok, Ok, maybe it is because it is the most recent of so many mentioned? 

Today, this day, four years ago was my biggest day.

In my nearly one hundred years alive on this planet, the day I first heard about Meazi and Melese is, by far, my biggest day.

I loved them then just hearing about them.

 It would be a few months before I met them...

It would be a few months before we brought them home...

But on that big day, May 27th, it seems that my body must have somehow known what it would be like to know them. Along with that e-mail and that phone call it was as if someone slipped me a mickey, or made me swallow a Wonka-like everlasting gobstopper of emotions- a predictor of what it would be like to raise them

On that big day they made me a mother, something I had longed to be.

Today, I love them so, so much. 

They are everything to me.

Many of you were a part of the day we heard about our future as lucky people. Thank you for being there.

Happy Biggest Day to me.

What was your Biggest Day?


  1. I love this so much.Sometimes the simplest adjective says the most, right--Big seems to suit those moments perfectly. I hope you do something special on this big day. love you.

  2. Big indeed. And so so beautiful. I really love everything about this post....the earlier memories, the descriptions of other big days. xoxo

  3. I remember that day. Your happiness made me happy and gave me hope. I cannot believe it was 4 years ago. Happy Big Day Anniversary!

  4. Oh, I love this. I'm crying all over this post, partly because your story with your kids is so beautiful, and partly because you reminded me of my Biggest Day, when my Zinashi walked into my arms. No disrespect to my youngest child, who I adore just as much as her big sister, but the day that my scared, determined little girl walked to me on her own and held out her arms to be picked up is the most holy moment I have experienced to date.

  5. April 9, 2009. The day our baby girl was placed in our arms and I became her mama. A sunshiney August day 10 years ago, on the top of a mountain is a close second. Or maybe its a big love-filled tie.

  6. My biggest day is the same as yours...right down to the date :) It amazes me to this day that I am his mother, that I have been given that blessing and how much he has brought to us.

    I love seeing how your beautiful children have grown.

  7. Oh, Julie. I'm so happy I found my way to you. And, by far, I am far happier that you all found your way to each other. Every moment has meant so much to me.

  8. I don't know my biggest day. All the days I sat/met my children are big. But I have to think the day after we brought Tsega home and I went into massive pre-term labor. That changed everything. We'd already had so many bizarre and life changing things happen before that baby came, but then I knew that the train was not stopping and I had better put on my damn seat belt.

    Loved this post and remember that day so well. I remember crying with/for you all the way across the country. So happy you all have each other.

  9. I loved finding your blog and love to see how much love you have for your kids!!