Lots of people have asked how I’m doing. What I’m feeling, as the departure date looms just around the corner.
“Are you excited?”
“Can you hardly wait?”
“Are you ready to go?”
Although I’m looking forward to this year with great expectations, I have to say the answer to those questions is a resounding “No.” I’m terrified. I’m overwhelmed. I’m too busy focusing on what has to be done in the next ten minutes, to be able to think about next year. It’s like a rollercoaster ride I can’t get off.
Here’s a random list, in no particular order, and in no way exhaustive, of some of the things taking up my emotional bandwidth, energy, and time.
Trey. A friend’s 3-year-old just died. From Whooping Cough. He was born a few weeks before Peanut. Although I never met him, I loved him dearly and deeply. Most of the scary stays (‘visit’ sounds much too pleasant–but I guess ‘stay’ doesn’t do it justice either) we had at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Trey and his family were having their own scary stays, usually much longer than ours, at another Children’s Hospital across the country. In addition to other physical complications, Trey was experiencing many of the same challenges as Peanut. I prayed for him on and off for 3 years and watched him struggle and grow and learn and develop. Now, as I move from room to room, sorting and packing, each time I pick up Peanut, I think of Trey. The loss of him hits deep down inside. I cry for his Mama who will never again feel the delicious weight of him in her arms, or smell his hair as he snuggles close. I cry with gratitude that I have my Peanut and can kiss his sweet cheeks. And there’s a feeling, less strong than guilt, similar to uneasiness, that my life goes on. That my life is all about looking forward and adventure. And I keep looking at video’s and pictures of Trey, and then I can’t stop the waterworks and can’t focus on packing. And then I’m completely derailed from whatever task was at hand.
Logisitics. To not frighten away anyone who might be considering making a similar life change to follow your dreams, I’m going to quickly smooth over the nightmare of tangled details required to get this family of five out the door. Read fast…Doctors appointments by the dozens. Countless house showings, always at the most inopportune times. More immunizations and paperwork than I am comfortable with. Flights. Housing. More flights. More housing. Contractors in and out (good idea to keep this one in mind so you don’t inadvertently leave the bathroom door open when you think you’re alone in the house. It’s embarrassing). House sale falling through. Goodbyes for each child, with each of their closest friends, and with their classes. Selling both our cars and coordinating “alternative transportation” (taking offers from kind friends to pick up and drop off, then breaking down and getting rental cars). Listing and selling all our possessions we don’t want to keep, and coordinating the pick-up/delivery for each. Boxing and storing what we do want to keep. Getting the children to do the same. Changing our mailing address on everything. Getting the electronics and entertainment (music, books, movies) set up. Changing insurance for most everything. Writing homeschooling and therapy curriculum. Working full-time and figuring out how/when/who to tell the news (oh, and block them from FB until you do). Figuring out, ordering, and testing eyelash enhancers. And the list goes on. But, I’ve lost interest in writing it and you get the point. We’re busy.
I threw my back out, helping someone carry out an armoire they bought from us. Let’s just say that muscle relaxants don’t help with clarity and focus, and shooting pain isn’t conducive to packing, lifting, and moving.
We’re also trying to be thoughtful parents, and help prepare the kids for what’s to come, and to help ease some of their fears as they watch piece after piece of furniture leave through the front door. FYI, I’m not currently focused on being a great wife. It may partially be because I think I get a pass for these last few days, and just possibly because it isn’t readily apparent that Dreamboat is focused on it either. But it’s possible it’s me and I’m missing the effort. So, we’re trying to spend some time with each child, making them feel important, and allowing them time to talk through what’s going on inside them. And my heart is heavy for Miss O in particular. She is struggling with saying goodbye to her best friend. And her best friend is really struggling. And Miss O is very similar to how I was as a child, strong on the outside, but very tender and sensitive and easily bruised on the inside. And this friend is the only person she really talks to. Including me (one of my greatest hopes is that I become her confidante this year). And we’re also trying to do some ‘normal’ summer activities with the kids, like sports camps, additional therapies, and evenings by the water, enjoying al-fresco dinners at Music In The Park.
Time. With friends. There has been a steady stream of company, staying with us this summer. And, we’re trying to fit in every last opportunity for time with our local friends too. If you’ve heard of the book “Love Languages”, mine is TIME. I feel loved when people spend/make time for me. That’s how I show love too. So, in the middle of this craziness, I want to carve out time for everyone I love. Of course I’m driving the family that I love a little crazy too. I haven’t figured this one out yet…no clear answer or boundaries set. I’m willing for things to be crazy if that means I get one last dinner, or Bunko game, or girls’ night, or sleepover, or coffee, or happy hour, or breakfast, or pedicure, or, or, or….I’m in!
A friend of mine recently returned from an extended visit to Uganda. With their three children who are similar in age to mine. I called to catch up with her and asked for some tips on what to expect. She told me how one of their kids dealt with the culture shock by withdrawing and going very quiet. The older child showed his struggle by being angry. All the time. The third child couldn’t swallow. And gagged or threw up EVERY morning. It was awful. She hated it. And after twelve months they adjusted, and equalized. And a few months later they moved back. And now they’re going through it All. Again. But, she also said it was all worth it. And she’d do it again. So, I’m mulling it over and wondering how my friends will feel if I’m gagging through our champagne breakfasts upon my return…
And then there’s the fact that I’m going back to Mercy Ships. To where I grew up. It’s like going back to those horrid, awkward feelings of being thirteen. But, more on that another time. I don’t have words yet to describe it. For the ‘hornet’s nest’ to make sense.
So, I hope you’ll understand that although I know I am blessed beyond measure, and that this year will be a highlight for all of us, that I’m not excited right now. I’ll get there. Soon.