Seven months ago, Susannah and I spent a lot of time in Target in Columbia, South Carolina. I think we were in the store 3 or 4 different times within a week. We were there enough to notice the dramatic shift from the autumnal hues of deep orange, burnt umber, and spiced pumpkin which flowed through all the clothing sections near the store entrance to the over-the-top ugly Christmas sweaters that were featured in all departments for the winter displays. On the morning of Halloween it was all Fall, Fall, Fall, but November 1st was full-throttle Christmas to the nines. Clearly, the displays left an impression on me.
That’s the week I became a father. Susannah and I traveled from the other side of the earth to get to Columbia so that we could be there for the birth of our daughter, Julia. Today, seven months later, a court in the great state of South Carolina has decreed, hereby legally and forever, that we are her parents and our adoption of Julia is complete. With the decree comes a settling deep breath. All those trips to Target were runs to stock up on what new parents need and because we were so excited we couldn’t really think straight so we kept forgetting to get stuff. What I remember most of the period just before our daughter’s birth was the omnipresent feeling of anticipation. I couldn’t really catch my breath. While standing in the diaper aisle or picking out a car seat, we were just waiting, squirming with excitement. And forgetting everything.
And here we are now. Back in India, settled into routines, filling up our phones with photos of this and this and this — because, no offense everyone, she is by far the cutest baby to have ever been a baby — marveling at how many different people, both known and unknown to us, were involved in the two of us becoming a family of three.
COVID 19 is crushing spirits around the world. It’s a scary time with so much unpredictability. And still, the life right here in front of me is deeply satisfying. Getting the notice today of the court’s decision affirmed what I’ve known since the moment I met her: I’m her dad. I also can finally take a deep breath.