Wednesday was my sweet Tariku's birthday. I actually think I've been spending the last few days just reflecting on him, on his life and his precious precious place in our family. More on that later, for now...
Waking the birthday boy up.
Little sister wanted the first hug.
Tariku chose donuts for breakfast. This kid can't resist chocolate, high fructose corn syrup or fried goodness. And really, can you blame him? Also notice his afro, can you tell which side he sleeps on? :)
We got in the car and...he no longer needs a booster seat! Woohoo! He was actually thrilled about this little revelation.
Tariku (or "chooch" as well call him) wanted cupcakes for his school birthday treat. BUT, that didn't pan out so he wanted the cosmic brownies as back up. Again with the chocolate and HFCS.
The littles partook in the action as well.
Got a quick picture of Tariku with his really, really amazing teacher. This teacher challenges our supremely intelligent little guy. She recognizes the special needs Tariku has (with regards to food issues and schedules) and she supports and loves him. He has positively thrived in her classroom.
Zach picked Chooch up for a little daddy/me time. The rest of us hung out at home. Tomas actually got to Skype with his friend Yenenesh from Ethiopia. They were unbearably cute together, can't wait for it to happen again!
When Tariku got home, Tada stopped by. Tada was the counselor from Barbados I mentioned awhile back (so this is why people tag their posts, eh? Need to start doing that). It was actually Tada's birthday as well.
We spent a few hours outside. 65 degrees. Was the perfect afternoon for baseball, soccer, football and bikes. All of Tariku's favorite things.
For dinner Tariku chose omelets. Ham and cheese again. Chooch likes more onion powder, garlic and salt and pepper than your average 6 year old. Normally I say no so as to give him high blood pressure at such a young age but today I obliged.
At the end of the night, he was still jubilant. Still perfect.
Man oh man this boy. I read Living and Loving Outloud by Cornel West (a great book, by the way). One line struck me because it reminded me so much of our "Choocie boochie".
"Go on. Move on. Do what needs to be done. Care for those who require care. Spread love wherever you walk. Spread love whenever you talk." -Cornel West
That is Tariku in a nutshell. He spreads love in every.single.action. Every word. Every hug. Every smile. I'm fairly certain those of you who don't know Tariku personally, have never met anyone who brings the sunshine with them the way he does.
I remember the first time I saw his picture. "Look at his eyes!" I said to Zach. The sunshine was there. Behind the gray skin, the reddish hair. The swollen belly and stick thin arms. Behind all of that there was the sunshine.
And it's gotten brighter and brighter since.
Our Tariku is smart. Whoa buddy is he smart. I still cry every time he reads me a book. Yeah, reads me a book. He's been able to do that for some time now and it still shocks me.
He's the first one to offer help of any kind. When I'm cooking, if something drops off the counter he'll run from the next room to pick it up for me. If he sees Dailah struggling with a toy or Binyam struggling with his shoes he's the one to fix the problem. In fact we have to literally tell him multiple times a day, "Tariku thank you but I asked Trysten to get that. Tariku thank you but it's Tomas's turn to get the plates ready."
Tariku is funny. He's a great dancer, an amazing friend and a great brother. He is so good at every sport he tries I'm fairly certain he's some sort of prodigy. He is beautiful. Striking, even. The eyes, the mouth, the cheeks and hair. Fuggetaboutit. Not a day goes by that I'm not tempted to pimp him out to the highest modeling bidder.
And boy has he settled in my heart. I love him fiercely and fully. Truly, he is everything I hope to be one day. Joyous despite my trauma, full of love despite being full of pain. He inspires me, he really does.
And we get him. We share him, with some amazing, amazing people in Ethiopia but we get him. I am so, so thankful for that.
Man I love him. 6 years old. Can I just hold onto him forever?