November 24, 2008

A Story Of Shoes And The Feet That Walk In Them

This is the 300th post for The McGregor Journey, one I've been eying towards for a few weeks pondering how to make it extra special. I knew what I wanted to share but wasn't exactly sure how or when, until post #300 conveniently fell on the week of Thanksgiving. Then it crystallized. Last year we were thankful for many things - a nearly completed dossier about to be sent off to Ethiopia, a network friends and family and blogger-buddies who had put up with us throughout the paperchasing process, and a warm and healthy home complete with a nervous little vibe that ran through our spines daily reminding us that in the coming year we would become mom and dad. We were thankful then, but this year brings a new level of thanks to the McGregor household. There's an African Proverb that states, "Only a fool tests the depth of water with both feet." Well, this year we jumped in with both feet, and didn't immediately sink to the bottom. Sure, we've bobbed up and down a few times but for the most part it's been one gigantic breath of fresh air, the kind you can feel only when you know what it's like to gasp.

This year, we're thankful for shoes, and the feet that have walked in them. Let me explain...

These were Ashton's first sneakers. They're a perfect example of how naive I was (and likely still am...) as to what this whole parenting thing entails. I was all set to send him to his first day of daycare in his firetruck Robeez until a kind woman pointed out that my walking-almost-running one year old should probably have a more supportive pair of shoes. Off to Target to buy his first pair of kicks! Thank goodness for the "been there done that" crowd willing to share advice with the novice mom.

Then his feet grew, and the only pair of shoes we had in the house that seemed to fit were these. Could have been worse I guess, but again, I'm thankful to the "been there done that" crowd for understanding why my son wore rain boots to daycare on a sunny September morning.

Friends. I'm SO thankful for friends. One of my girlfriends from university sent these to us when we arrived home with Ashton, and it's just one of those gifts that reminds you that no matter how far apart you are or how long it's been since you've seen each other, friends are friends, and they'll always "get" what needs to be gotten. The Rocky Mountain West will always have a place near and dear to our hearts, and we're so thankful for our friends out West.

And now things are, well, they're on a roll. It's taken us almost 6 months, but I think we finally "get" our son's feet. We have no idea where they sat or crawled or scooted for the first 11 months of his life, and very little information on the 2 months that followed. But I'm pretty sure I've memorized every single motion, step, stride, and climb over the last nearly 6 months, and I'm so thankful to have been a part of it and can't wait for another year of being thankful for his adorable little feet.

And then there's this. These feet, these shoes, this woman. Had it not been for these things the last 6 months would have been so utterly different I can't even imagine. From the absolute core of my soul I will be thankful to her always - the soles of her shoes that supported her while working to provide nourishment for her Wondemu and the soul of her heart that must have been absolutely shattered the day she knew he would be traveling to the other side of the planet to become Ashton. Same boy, same feet, very different shoes. I wish I had a way of letting her know that we will absolutely make sure he knows about all of the shoes he's walked in, his first mother's, his forever mommy's, those that carried him and those that pushed him to walk. But we're thankful to have experienced as many moments as we have. Thankful for the moment when we were face to face, foot to foot, with this stunning woman. It's not possible to be more thankful for one single person than we are to her.

We're going to continue to jump in with both feet, because that's what this kind of ride calls for. We're going to continue bobbing up and down moving from moments of sunny fresh air to those filled with gasps for oxygen. And our feet will be our wittness, her wittness, his wittness, to the life he lives and how thankful we are for it.
"In life as in dance: Grace glides on blistered feet."
~Alice Abrams

10 comments:

Rebecca said...

You should have warned me. I would have gotten a box of Kleenex.

I love how you so eloquently weaved this story together. I'm thankful for you to have Ashton! It sounds like he has taught you more than anyone else could have. Love those babies.

Amanda said...

This is the most beautiful blog post I've ever read. Thank you for sharing. :)

courtney rose said...

Phew. That one caught me off-guard.

Incredible, Jo. Incredible.

Go hug that baby of yours for me....

Lauren said...

What Amanda said. Congrats to you both!

Lauren said...

Correction - congrats to you ALL :)

Barbara said...

I'm so glad you got to meet his birth mom. Does your agency work regularly with Ashton's orphanage? If so, perhaps they can forward some pics to her...

Stacie said...

Beautiful post.

Jill said...

Wow...love it. Very beautifully written. And i'd like to ask what "feet food" are you feeding that kid? Mari has been in size 5 shoes since June and she still has toe room. I call her Little Feet.

Andrea said...

i love this :)

Annie said...

Jo, just beautiful! What more can I say?

I am thankful we had each other's support last spring and that we traveled together. So glad that we were able to meet!