It’s a strange evening. It’s cold, and raining, which is nothing at all strange in Olympia, even in June–but at this very same moment, my husband is probably sitting on the patio of our apartment in shorts and no shirt, waiting for a cool breeze to blow up from the street. That is if he’s not still busily and kindly unpacking and tidying up the place, as he has been all week.
Listening to him talk about his life the past two weeks is like listening to my sister Michelle talk about her life in Tanzania. It’s fascinating, but kind of hard to imagine anyone actually living anywhere that is hot and steamy right when you are thinking about taking a nap under a down quilt with your down vest on (which I did on Sunday). I wonder if Andrew felt that way as he prepared to go meet Michelle after they got married and he moved out there — as much as he tried to prepare for a big transition, it still just sounded like a whole different life that could never possibly be your own.
So like Andrew finally headed off to Tanzania, I’m heading off to St Louis tomorrow. And granted, St Louis is hardly Tanzania, and the trip is a small fraction of what it would be to get to rural East Africa. Though I do suspect traveling w/ a toddler doubles my “how long trip feels” factor (kind of like the humidity will raise the “how hot it feels” factor there…).
And to Andrew’s credit, who has worked very, very hard to learn Swahili, I won’t have to learn another language in St Louis. Though I was told several days ago I should consider carrying a gun with me at all times while in the city. I’ve heard a number of such interesting statements and recommendations of late, most originating from people familiar with the St Louis of several decades ago. Not to say that all of the tensions in the city have disappeared with time, I think that’s far from the truth. I suppose I’ll just find out what the place feels like when I get there.
Kabyn says our neighborhood is really cool, and he seems to be enjoying it. The central A/C just got installed, which is reassuring. I’d like to say I’m planning to go without because running A/C is about as greenhouse gas producing a thing a person can do (much worse than driving a car, I’m sad to say), but I suspect when it comes down to it, I love my comfort more than the I love all my fellow humans that I’m ruining the Earth for.
We’ve spent time roaming all over Washington the last couple weeks — Olympia, Walla Walla, Olympia again, Seattle, Arlington, Seattle again, Olympia again, and it’s been good to see everyone. And yes, the little easily-sleepless child has not fared so well in all the excitement. We went from having bedtime and naptime like clockwork about a month ago to bedtime being a huge, long ordeal, and the time, length, or even number of naps being completely unknown on a given day. So I find myself looking forward to finally settling into the “final” spot, but I’m trying to summon some energy for what is probably the biggest transition yet. I’m definitely looking forward to having Kabyn to help with bedtime/middle of night/early mornings, and praying Alaythia is happy to see him again and up for him being a part of her routine right away.
She has at times seemed more upset than happy seeing Kabyn on gmail video-chat, and has kind of fallen apart into hysterical wailings of “byebye Daddy!! byebye Daddy! Daddy byebye!!” I think this is more due her tiredness than a realization of time passing since she has seen him, so I don’t know if it’s my imagination or not that she seemed really happy when I explained to her today that tomorrow we were taking an airplane to go see Daddy. At first she didn’t want to talk about it, but then later, she kept saying “airplane! airplane!” Who knows what she is putting together about it all, it’s a very mysterious age. I told her that tomorrow we’d say byebye to Bibi and Babu, with whom we have had a long and lovely stay, and she seemed to sort of get that. Later in the day she started telling my mom, “byebye Bibi, byebye Bibi” at random intervals, practicing for tomorrow, perhaps.
Yes, tomorrow is “byebye Bibi” and “hello Daddy” day, with a nice chunk of airport and airplane time in between. Thankfully, we got a non-stop flight from Southwest. I’ve got a carry-on bag stuffed with fun books I’ve been collecting for a while (I cannot WAIT for Dr Seuss’s animal sounds book!! what could be better), little dinosaurs, paper, crayons, play-dough, books with FLAPS, alphabet flash cards, snacks for any toddler mood, and especially, three surprise presents, all brightly and cutely wrapped from Susannah Park. We’ll save those for any moments of crisis!
I also did what for me is an unusual thing, which is to go out and buy a dress for our trip tomorrow. A traveling dress, if you will. Which I’m just hoping isn’t totally covered in crayons, milk, and crumbs when we arrive… not to mention any diaper changes that I end up doing on my lap, for lack of room in an airplane lavatory. Please no poops on the plane, please no poops on the plane… going to feed that kid bananas all morning….
I am looking forward to spending the day with Alaythia tomorrow, it’s a big day, and we are each other’s sole companion for it. I feel happy that we are going to spend every second of it together. Even sitting on the same seat in the plane, though I won’t be sad if everyone is too scared to sit next to a toddler and we get a free seat for her (I might give her a pacifier then steal it at strategic moments while people are loading… he he he).
But though I am looking forward to our day, I’d be lying to say it’s ALL looking forward. I’m a teeny bit nervous that she’ll freak out with all the people and loud propellers in the plane, that she won’t sleep for a moment, that she’ll be fidgety on my lap, that she’ll get sick to her stomach all over me and some unlucky person who is hating being next to us, etc etc etc… trying not to think up any other things to worry about, however. Praying for a fun, safe, quick, uneventful trip—and THEN, a happy reunion with my husband!
I’ll keep you posted.