This blog has been my refuge for so long.  A place I can unload without immediate criticism and while Dan holds the couch down, watching Ridiculousness.  But here in the condo(n’t), it’s downstairs.  Where it’s 45 degrees despite a heating bill that made me choke and Peter is sleeping on the sofa he’s called bed since we moved here in November.  I hate writing here.  I hate most things here.
But there is still you and there is still me and I miss you, so I’m sorry I’ve been so remiss.  Life is moving a bit faster than I’d like and I’m nearly always playing catch-up.  And not well.  The house rolls on.  Dan’s ring tone has developed in me the Pavlovian response of complete paralysis and anxiety.  I know when I pick up that sweet voice is going to say something like, “Hey, I’m here at the house with the tiles guys and we’re wondering how high you want the back splash in the girls bathroom?  The need to know right now.” or “Hi there, Jim wants to know ASAP how high and deep and long and wide you want the cabinet in the back hall.  Also, what kind of wood, which finish and doors or no doors?” And I begin to shake and wonder, what fresh hell is this?  Where I must make snap decisions in front of an audience of my husband’s professional peers.  They must surely think I’m a complete idiot.  Wait till they see the office wallpaper.
Which is one reason, the forever winter not withstanding, why I’m loading the Smalls into the car and getting the heck out of Condo on Wednesday.  I can just as easily make an ass of myself over the phone from Hilton Head as I can from right here in Grand Rapids.  I’ve got everyone packed with about three and a half outfits and a bottle of sunscreen.  The adoption binder is on top.  We are blowing this joint.  I thought Dan would be lonely without us for 11 days, but today I caught him google searching Searchmont and asking if I had already packed the ski stuff.  He’s clearly devastated.
As for the adoption, I’d love to give you a clear road map of where we’re headed, but if one exists, I haven’t been made privy to it.  Now that we’ve been given our i800 clearance to bring baby into US (and I call her baby because we’ve been having second thoughts about her name lately-what is wrong with us?!?), I can begin tomorrow to email the National Visa Center (NVC-everything in adoption world has an acronym) which will lead to our SIM number being replaced with a GUZ number (I told you) which will lead to our Art 5 being dropped off, then picked up.  Which will lead to China issuing our travel approval (TA).  This all happens over the span of the next month and a half to two months, which will lead us to mid to late May.  Two weeks after we get our TA, we fly to our girl.  June 13th is looking like the most realistic travel date, but Father has sped things right along since the very start and I wait in anticipation to see what he’ll do here.  So while I hope moving and traveling don’t happen on the heals of each other, I will do whatever it takes to get that girl home as soon as we can. And I wrestle with the fact that moving home on May two and then shortly after preparing us to travel, we eight, to China to snatch her up seems impossibly impossible.  Like someone barfed in my brain.  And then made me clean it up. But Father, who has orchestrated this whole crazy thing knows my capabilities and will work it all out in his perfect timing.  That may be the only thing I am sure of these days.  That and the fact that our neighbors hate us.  Won’t even make eye contact with us and there was a Uhaul in their driveway this morning, I swear.  We may have driven them to this.  We have probably driven them to this.
This is me being real.  Willing to testify that we were not made aware of any policy stating that inhabitants of Condo must have two or less children accompanying them.  Wondering how we’ll possibly choose…



It’s Monday morning.  Which means Lucy is at preschool.  Which means I should be at Costco and Target, and using my car as a mobile office to make sure the tile guy knows where the blue penny tile goes and that the painters understand that all trim is to be Benjamin Moore White Dove.  I did do my half hour at the Y, where I laughed so hard at Jon Stewart’s summation of the CPAC convention that I nearly fell off my treadmill. And I totally believe in the mission of CPAC, but seriously.  Funny.
And I’ve only just, it feels like, returned home from a whirlwind few days with my love at the most magical place in recent memory.  Where we dined our friends and I spent nearly one whole day reading.  Where Dan slept in until 11:30 and I got so sunburned on my nose that it’s peeling.  Lord, help me not to run into my dermatologist at Target later.  Where I could take calls from the Smalls from the teak couch on the screened in porch while I wrote out tags for the gift bags and ate m&ms (don’t judge me).  Where I could get iMovies sent to my inbox featuring Solanda (Lu) making Nanny pretty from the condo bathroom and see for myself what I already knew: that the Smalls were being doted on by the amazing Nanny-burd and Papa too, even though poor Papa was under the weather.  Doted on despite being brought to school “so early we had to wait in that little vestibule for, like, 20 minutes”.  Yes, he used the word vestibule.  My kids are awesome like that.
And while I was riding my bike, with it’s little black basket and “cottage 29” painted on the handlebars and while I was laying by the pool, all covered up, ‘cept my nose, because it was fifty and windy, and while I was taking long tubs in the prettiest bathroom I’ve ever been in (doilies in the trashcans y’all.  doilies!), I chatted with Father, who I’ve kept on the back burner far too much lately.  Kept there until I found small cracks in my day between breaking up the constant battles these condo walls have wrought between brothers, especially, and placing internet orders for side tables and drawer pulls. But last Thursday it was just me and a bike and a teak couch on a screened porch in a magical place and I spent the whole day with Father.
I prayed for kids whose daddy walked out.  Just like that.  For a friend needing healing.  For marriages that are disintegrating.  For my own Smalls and their myriad needs that I’ve been working on solo when they can only be helped in tandem, something I know, but had forgotten.  And through it all, I kept whispering pleas for patience for me.  That darn patience which feels a couple sizes too small so when I sit down it makes my stomach pooch and takes my breath.  Patience that I wear for a bit and then kick off to the back of my closet so I can put control back on.  Control fits so much better and it stretches and when I wear it I think everything is where it should be.  But there is patience on the floor in my closet, reminding me that the tight is what I need to wear right now.  That control is just an illusion and patience is actually my size.  So on that day when I put on patience and laid by the pool, I felt good in it for the first time in a long time.  Patience felt right.
And the next morning, I sat in the Savannah airport having panic attacks before boarding (part of my pre boarding process, along with buying US Weekly and a bottle of Fuji water) and wearing patience and reading The Long Winter and whispering breath prayers to Father for courage to board.  Found peace in the pocket of patience.  I think it’s been there all along, but I forget to grab it.  Held onto that peace through deicing the wings, which led to tarmac sitting, which usually ratchets the panic, but this time I was holding peace tighter and panic fell away and left me in 16 B wearing patience and clutching peace, even though I was missing Tessie’s talent show and my next flight.  But I did get home.  To four Smalls who had been picked up early from school and were waiting for me.  Four Smalls who heard me before they saw me, because there I was, wearing patience and clutching peace, but smiling happiness as I called out that our LOA had been issued while I ran to them.  That we are now on the home stretch of this crazy journey that terrifies me daily.  That she will be in our arms by mid June at latest.  Four Smalls with shiney, watery eyes who couldn’t believe we’d finally gotten it.
So this is me, loving being home and challenging myself to kick control to the back of the closet more often and make patience my uniform.  Patience and trust, they go well together, I think.  I’m learning to wear them in tandem and it looks good.  Even though the Fed Ex truck, with said LOA, isn’t here yet and there are a million decisions to be made today.  Even though China is now looming larger than ever and it just totally terrifies me, everything about it, except her.  Even.
This is me being real.  Wondering what you need to shrug off today in favor of something Father is holding out and beckoning you into?  Do tell.