Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Perfect Storm

As I sit here typing on yet another rainy/snowy/sleety day here in Maine (yes, that's the roof of the doghouse in the 4 feet of snow in our front yard, and yes, that's after it rained all day today and melted in yesterday's 40 degree temps), I’m sipping a nice hot cuppa, as our friends from over The Pond would say. It’s called “Tea for Tension,” touted as being “good for the occasional strain and nervous tension.” One can hope…

See, I thought I'd be so wound up and excited right now about how close we really are... I can hardly believe that in seven weeks we’ll be there, walking the Great Wall, looking over the vast mountains that border Mongolia, and meeting our new son.

Yesterday the FedEx gal dropped off the LOA, learned what was in the envelope and gave a HUGE grin and congratulations. All she got in return was a appallingly truncated story of Dang Yong, because I could barely keep from ripping that envelope open while she stood before me. After she left (barely), I tore open the envelope, signed and dated that long-awaited letter, and immediately put it back in a new FedEx envelope.

And e-mailed FedEx to come right back. (They really are overworked, these poor FedEx people.)

With a decisive “DONE!” I slapped the envelope on the counter, danced a little gig and headed out for my piano lessons. On my way, I was telling my story to the kids’ mom. I said, “Isn’t it weird? On the LOA, they actually have a box you have to check saying you will accept the adoptee…” And then it suddenly hit me.

No, not "Holy Cow! I'm going to be a Mom in a few short weeks!" No, it hit me that I’d done everything except check that all-important “YES” box.

So I beat it back to work and barely beat the FedEx gal who was winding her way around the block and doubling back. All was well.

So, back to tea drinking…

Despite the excitement of this upcoming adventure, I’m a bundle of nerves and a ball of stress lately. I’m anxious about foreign travel (even though I love it!), the extensive flight, whether we should just travel coach or spring for the upgraded first class with more leg room and comfortable seats whose springs don’t jab you in the pancreas the whole flight.

I’m worried about sleep deprivation and jet lag. (I hate to be tired.) I’m nervous about our son freaking out at this groundswell of change. I imagine him pointing his little finger in our direction and shrieking horrible, incomprehensible Chinese words at these new people who are responsible for it all. I’m thinking about which shirts to pack and which luggage to use.

I feel like I’m standing at the shoreline watching The Perfect Storm making a bee line straight toward me. At least that’s how I’ve heard most 4-year-olds described. (Just kidding...I’m talking about the impending trip, really. Well, mostly…) My stomach hurts and I feel lousy. Maybe it’s just nerves. Maybe it was the meatball sandwich. Maybe it’s the flu.

So then of course I feel badly that I can’t get my emotional act together and just rejoice! I repeat that awesome verse from Isaiah: “They will go out with JOY and be led force in PEACE!” What is there to fear? God’s put me on this trip to begin with; He wouldn’t leave me stranded now. Why should I feel so negative instead of happy and excited and pulling out suitcases? Is this normal? Why am I not tripping the light fantastic?

As we snuggled up to watch our Travel Orientation video last night, all the realities started crowding in. We really are on our way. This really is happening. I have to remember not to drink the water over there. I have to learn to use the squatties. I have to get Dang Yong’s room ready. I have to be stared at, questioned, and cajoled into buying street wares. I really will be eating Spicy Pigeon and staring back at chicken heads eyeballing me from my dinner plate.

My head wants to explode spectacularly.

So I sip my tension taming tea and practice breathing – in through my nose, out through my mouth – just like I teach the 4-year-olds in our Little Samurai class. Slowly. Peacefully and prayerfully. I try to calm my roiling tummy and really listen when Jason lovingly reminds me that this is an AWESOME time for us.

Because it really is! I may be very nervous and feel very inadequate for the adventure that lies ahead. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Not for all the tea in China.


Angel said...

YOU ARE AWESOME! What a great post. Those emotions. They are NUTS aren't they??? Did ya read my post today? Ya might like it. I am so excited FOR you but I totally get the feelings. One day I am thrilled and the next I am petrified. It's called being a girl I think or maybe just being human. Hugs to you. Angel

The Aumanns said...

Yup! Sounds exactly like a pregnant woman realizing that she is in the home stretch! Awesome & frightening, isn't it? :)