I enter the room, cradling little Baraka. I’m not sure what to do. Do I hand him over right away? Do I sit and hold him so he is facing them? Do I act normal or pretend that this little boy hasn’t stolen my heart?
This is my first meeting with Baraka’s parents-to-be, officially at least. They wanted to speak with me as “the one who knows him best.” We discuss his routine, when he eats, when he sleeps.
“Does he sleep through the night?”
“He fairly regularly wakes up for a bottle at 10, 2, and 6.”
We discuss the improvements I’ve seen already. He came to us at 5.65 kgs, with sunken eyes and fairly listless. Now he’s 6.8 kgs (a mere two weeks later) and so full of life. His eyes dance and shine. He smiles and giggles. He reaches out to grab my hand. Yet here I sit, knowing he will eventually be going home with this couple, not me.
They are going to start visiting regularly, which I know is for the best. Baraka has come to know me as his primary care giver, I realize that soon it will be time to hand that role over.
They talked about how they have started to prepare a place for him. They’re excited for their first son. I am excited for them, excited for Baraka, but I hide the fact that my heart is breaking.
Before Baraka I thought I knew love. Now I know that was just a glimmer of what love can feel like. Love that fills every ounce of you and pours over. Love that loves despite endless days and tired nights. Love that loves despite spit up filled clothes and poopy messes. Love that cuddles through the tummy aches and kisses away the tears.
Love that is always ready to drop everything else to love all the more.