It is with incredible joy that I announce the long-anticipated arrival of Matimu Lee Willard! After 32+ hours of labor, Matimu was born in Tulsa, OK on May 17, 2011 at 12:04 pm and he weighs 8 pounds (3.62 kg) and is 19 3/4 in. (50.16 cm) long. He’s a very healthy baby boy and it’s simply amazing for the both of us to be parents to him. It turns out he was a bit too large for Lora as a first-time mom though, which is probably part of the reason the labor and delivery was so long and difficult. Needless to say, Lora has quite a few weeks of healing and recovery ahead of her, so please be praying about that.
His first name, “Matimu”, is phonetically pronounced like “mah-TEE-moo” (emphasis on the “TEE” part), but if it seems difficult to you, you can always just call him “Mat” for short. His name means “history” in xiTsonga, which is the language we were speaking in our village, Dumphries, in South Africa, where his life first began. 😉 Not only does he have a rich history for himself already, but one day he may even have the chance to make history. 🙂 And his middle name, “Lee”, is in some ways a family name. It’s another spelling of Lora’s middle name (“Leigh”), the same middle name as our niece and Matimu’s cousin, Cora, my brother Ben’s middle name, and Lora’s dad, Jack’s, middle name. So, it sort of runs in the family and we think it sounds nice with Matimu.
We both feel so incredibly blessed to have our son Matimu here with us and we’re welcoming the opportunity to be the best parents we can be to him. We know there’s going to be many challenges ahead of us and I’m sure last night’s difficulty sleeping was only a small taste of them. But we have no doubt we’re going to learn so much and grow through it even as we watch our son grow up and experience the world. We’re sure there are some incredible times ahead for all of us and we think Matimu will be rewarded with the rich experiences he’ll have growing up in Madagascar, between two worlds in a very real sense.
We want to thank ALL of you for praying with us and thinking of us, spending time with us and helping us prepare for Matimu’s arrival, over the last 9+ months and we especially thank those of you who kept us in your thoughts in prayers over the last few days when things were very intense. Both of our families were extremely supportive as they traveled to Tulsa and waited and encouraged us for much longer than anyone expected it to be. The culmination of so much anticipation has finally arrived and we thank all of you for being a part of it and for being a part of the days ahead.