Thursday August 29: This is our last day in the states. Yesterday I was camping with my kids and my parents. Tomorrow I’m going to Korea. This time in between is thrilling. Terrifying. Confusing.
My parents took Ivan and Ember to their house with them, so only the two older girls are here. They don’t feel the same urgency as I do. We are still at home, so for them nothing has changed, yet. Except that Mommy is very distracted. They play quietly together until they have a question. Then they search the house for me (I could be anywhere), present their request and then wait patiently. It takes at least 90 seconds for me to actually HEAR their question, because the roar of my inner dialogue is deafening. I have to force myself to attend to the mental echo of their voices. My thoughts sound like this:
(Subconsciously note that Kelly appears in the doorway of the kitchen)
“These bananas are ripe, I better send them up to my parents’ house so they don’t go bad while we’re gone…oh, I’m by the medicine cabinet, I’ll take Luka’s medicine and put it in her suitcase…Swimsuits! I need to pack swimsuits for the kids…I wonder if I will need a swimsuit, will there be a pool where we are staying in Korea? Ugh, no, I can’t even swim, who cares if there’s a pool…If the plane crashes I hope it crashes over the land and not the ocean because I can’t swim…WHAT??? Nobody’s going to SWIM their way home from a plane crash…(gory Titanic-like image of plane crash victims bobbing in the ocean). STOP! Mental reset. Dear Jesus, please give me strength and peace…feed the cat. Feed the cat a LOT…how many days until Gary and Sandy get here? One…two…three…four… Have to change the sheets on our bed so they can sleep in there…”
See Kelly looking at me expectantly. What did she just ask me?
Rewind memory. “Mommy, did you feed us breakfast yet?”
Have to keep grounding myself, because I’m starting to wonder if this is what the beginning of mental decline feels like. What am I doing right now? I’m wearing my Korea shirt in celebration. Celebration of a plane trip that just a few months ago terrified me so much that I was trying desperately to get out of it. The weather website says that the temperature is the same over there today as here…our boy is over there doing things. Living. Everyone is over there living, just like they do everyday. Somehow that’s comforting.
I’m packing Luka’s suitcase…blue swimsuit because it matches her eyes. Will I see her again? Will this be the last day I spend with her?
I’m preparing for this trip like I’m preparing for a wedding. Tried to get my hair done just hours before we left. SO disappointed that I will have to experience this life changing event with mousy grown out roots. Notice a hole under the waistband of my underwear. Well, I can’t wear THAT to Korea…
I can hardly stand to leave my cat before we close and lock our front door. I hold her like she is another of my babies, afraid to leave the comfort of her. This is the last time we’ll be in this house without Hudson.
Driving to my parents’ house. Van bulging with obsessive-compulsively packed luggage. Both girls asleep in their carseats. Listening to a Laurie Berkner CD…”sail away on the ocean, sail away on my blue sailboat.” I’m going to miss it. Want to drink these children in and not forget how they look, sound, smell.
So many people have helped to make this all possible. I can’t even count them all. I am so grateful and humbled. I feel less alone with my fears when I remember all the people who have supported us.
I’m going to be an international traveler. How weird is that? I will say things like, “when we were in Korea…” I will look back on the plane ride and my memory of 16 hours will be condensed into a few minutes. I will forget parts of this trip. Even though I’ve anticipated it every day for two years it will only happen once.
Hudson’s foster mom is taking care of him on the other side of the planet right now. She knows he is about to be torn away. But he doesn’t. He is eating, sleeping and playing in his “home.” We are going to do something awful to him. To erase his entire world. A toddler’s nightmare. To be separated from his “mommy.” His Well Baby Check Up report said that he calls his foster parents the Korean words for “mommy” and “daddy.” That broke my heart when I read it. But it shouldn’t. How wonderful for him to have spent these first two years in the comfort and security of a loving family, rather than in an orphanage, waiting for some faceless strangers to come and rescue him from a place where he has not been loved.
We will be jettisoned in an arc over the earth. Isn’t that a fantastic thought? While people are picking up dirty laundry, curled on a couch watching TV, filling their cars with gas, we will be in a timeless, temperature controlled missile, attached to the world by nothing. With only a mattress of air under us. I am giddy with wonder and terror at this thought. I almost don’t believe it. Like I will walk into what appears to be the door of an airplane, and rather than ME moving, my surroundings will change while I am shut inside, and I will step out in awe 14 hours later.