Saturday, April 30, 2011


The first week Z was home we both cried a lot. Besides jetlag and exhaustion, one frequent source of my tears was the awkwardness and pain of loving a child who didn't yet love me back. While giving Z his nightly bottle I would pause my singing to whisper to him in Amharic and English, "Ewedehalo, Mommy loves you." My affections were met with scowls and screeches, which would escalate into a full-blown tantrum if I kept it up. So I'd pick up the song where I left off, warm tears sliding down my cheeks and dropping onto his coarse brown curls.

Eventually I stuck to singing at bedtime and saved my "I love yous" for other times. Soon enough he warmed up to the phrase and within a few weeks he was saying it back to us and his brothers. Tears again, but happy ones this time.

Tonight as I sang to him, I realized that although Z had learned to say "I love you" in English, I hadn't tried saying it to him in Amharic since those first couple of weeks. I stopped singing, bent close to him and whispered it, Ewedehalo. He looked up at me, but didn't scowl or whine. I said it again. Ewedehalo. A smile slowly crept across his face. Ewedehalo. He was grinning. Ewedehalo. Happily nodding, giggling, looking right into my eyes. Ewedehalo. Ewedehalo. Ewedehalo. Over and over and over I said it to him, making up for the lost days and weeks and months. Rivers of tears spilled down and prayers of joyful thanksgiving rose up, praising the God who loved us first so that we could love each other. Ewedehalo, my sweet boy.

Z & me signing "I love you," this was the night he said it for the first time.


  1. Thanks for your kind comment on my blog. It's so nice to meet you - any friend of Meliski's is a friend of mine! :)

  2. and Jesus makes all things new!!! i love this story so much.

  3. makes me cry. . thanks for sharing