In just about 72 hours, I will be boarding a plane to begin the final segment of this great adventure. 72 hours. Wow. I can't believe the time is finally here. In less than a week, I should be holding my daughter in my arms again! I am so happy and excited, yet oddly calm at at the same time.
Of course, over the past week I've had several "freak-out" episodes. I have been so excited at the prospect of seeing HotDog again that I had glossed over many of the issues that could make this trip exhausting and difficult. Then last Thursday night I began to think about the details and suddenly became overwhelmed (it didn't help that Stu was leaving for a 4-day golf trip on Friday). I am taking this little girl out of the only world she has ever known; I think this is a good thing and that she will have a great life, but she doesn't understand any of that. All she knows is that she is no longer around any familiar people, sounds, smells, etc. She is going to be completely dependent on someone who is a complete stranger (I'm sure she won't remember that I visited her 4 1/2 months ago). How scary must that be for her? What if she is inconsolable? What if she cries non-stop? With both boys, we've had fairly easy initial transitions. But then again, they were both older and were able to interact and communicate with us. Also, Stu was with me on both return trips so I knew that I could at least grab a nap or a bite to eat and he could hold down the fort until I returned. This time it is just me. This little girl is going to need me to fulfill every single need for her, 24 hours a day. She is not going to understand that I am in a foreign country where hardly anyone speaks my language, where I have been encouraged not to venture out of the hotel as I am a single Caucasian female and will draw quite a bit of attention. There is no doubt in my mind that I can do this but it is a bit overwhelming to think about. If nothing else, the week and a half in-country with her should be a wonderful, if intense, bonding time for both of us before we return home to the chaos of daily life.
In addition to those fears, I have been trying to make a million decisions before I travel: Should I switch her to the American formula while I'm there or wait until I get home? How many clothes should I pack for a 6-month-old baby? What types of clothes? It looks like it is going to be cool during the days and very cold at night (not to mention that they don't turn on the heat until mid-October). How in the world am I going to pack everything for her, me, gifts, a donation of 30 pairs of shoes for the orphanage, snacks, etc. into one suitcase? I have not even wanted to think about the plane ride home with her. How in the world am I going to travel for over 30 hours by myself with a baby? What if I don't get the bassinet on the plane and I have to hold her for every single one of those 30 hours? What happens when I need to go to the restroom in those tiny little plane restrooms? Again, I know I will get through it, these are just some of the myriad of thoughts going through my mind.
I am definitely ready for this and getting more excited as the hours pass. My suitcase is packed, the carryons are prepared, my paperwork is ready. That leaves the next 72 hours open to have fun with my boys. They are currently on fall break so I have many activities planned for these last few days as a family of four. I am letting them each plan something fun to do: Chipmunk wants to see a new movie at the movie theater (still such a big treat for him) and Monkey has requested a trip to a popular pizza place whose mascot is a giant, somewhat creepy, rodent (I mean, how disgusting is it that their mascot is a rat?!!?). Today I think we are going to have a picnic and ride bikes through a nearby forest/wildlife refuge. It looks like the next 72 hours are going to fly by....