The list has finally dwindled to a few squiggles still unchecked with my usual triumphantly large mark.
House stocked with cat food? Check. Bags packed for four, including carry-on bags with hopefully enough toys and clothes to survive all that some 24 hours on an airplane can throw at us? Half-check (Brad still has some packing to do). Ready to go back to the States after almost three years away? Double check.
I’ve anticipated this month-long trip to the States ever since my husband spent about five minutes tearing down my arguments when he first mentioned the idea of us joining him when he does training stateside.
But what about the extravagance of flying us all back?
“ You’re worth it,” he said.
And the long plane ride with the kids?
“I’ll be with you,” he reassured.
But isn’t it just too crazy to go so far for vacation?
“It’s been a long couple of years. I want to give you a true break,” he insisted.
OK. So, I wasn’t digging in my heels on this one. The idea of a month with my parents to help with the kids while Brad does some training sounded wonderful. Throw in some cool weather to give me energy and a chance for an emotional break from all that is this overseas life and I have been an excited woman.
But as I get ready to leave one home for another, the thoughts and worries run all squiggled through my head. How will we get through that plane ride with a toddler who doesn’t sit still? And almost three years without an American stamp on my passport…Will I remember to drive on the right side of the road?
Will I survive the cold? Will my little kids recover from jet lag and actually let me get much-needed sleep? Will I know how to be a mom in a place where I have so little practice? Where Asian patience and adoration for children isn’t present?
And then that nagging question I don’t want to admit. And after I hold my sister’s new baby, and watch my parents playing with their grandkids, and after I enjoy a month of anonymity and Mexican food and shopping for clothes that don’t smell, will I want to come back?
Like it or not, I live in two worlds. Here or there, life as a mom will always be a mixture of complications and joy no matter where I am. Ready or not, the bags are (mostly) packed, the lists are (almost) done.
And here, America, we come.
photo credit, hillary the mammal