Matea is 17

Seriously – our second child is 17! If I didn’t know us – I’d think we were old. But…I do….and we’re not. So let’s move on.

Camping in the Canadian Rockies

She’s had some eventful birthdays – birthdays in warm places and cold places. Birthday’s at home and traveling. But this is now the third year she’s celebrated her birthday away from home.

Last year I posted about everything that had gone on that year, and yet this year feels like a lot more.

I think it’s safe to say it’s been quite a year. This past year has felt weird – especially around Matea’s birthday. The week before our attack we were in Kenya celebrating her birthday with her. Then we returned to Burundi. Then a few days later we returned to Kenya for trauma counseling.

Over the past 12 months, Matea has had to pack up her dorm room with a day’s notice, leaving the school she loves. They (and we) were all assuming they would be back some weeks later. Of course, it ended up being almost a year away.

Getting in touch with her inner-Canadian
Matea and her cousin visiting Grandma in the hospital – covid-style

She and Jonah came back here to Burundi, where we played a fun game of “should-we/can we” leave Burundi as the airport closed, an election neared, and COVID grew.

We returned to our home in Edmonton that Matea only had some vague memories of, and spent almost 8 months there. She learned to live in yet another place, do school online, and live through COVID restrictions in Canada.

We finally were able to return to Burundi, and she had to continue online school, and finally return to Kenya.

So yes – I’d say it’s safe to say her 17th year was eventful.

when the hours of travel turn into days

Birthdays sometimes seem a bit arbitrary. 365 more rotations of our planet and you get cylinders of burning wax shoved into a dessert. However, this year, Matea has done a lot, been through a lot, grown a lot. SHe’s been forced to get through a lot of tough things.

And…. she’s done it with joy, grace, and understanding (most of the time). That’s reason to celebrate. That’s reason to celebrate the young woman she’s becoming.

Last year I concluded her birthday post with

And let’s hope that this year’s scars, will bring great stories.

I think this year I have the same prayer and hope, yet the words do take on a slightly different meaning.

When she was born in a hospital room in Edmonton, never in my wildest dreams would I have ever been able to imagine what she’s lived the past 17 years. But it has been amazing to watch her grow, to see her learn, to overcome. To see the friend she is, the sister she is, the daughter, granddaughter, etc., etc.