Tuesday, 18 October 2011
On waiting well
“He’s REALLY late,” she says to me, and I can hear my voice in hers. “Can you call him again?”
But this is Uganda, and This Is Africa, and I know what calling him again will do: Nothing.
“Sorry… but really, there’s nothing to do but wait,” I tell her, my first daughter so like me, looking into traffic for our driver, tapping her foot. My other daughter, my new gift, holds a different posture: already filthy from the day, she’s sitting in an actual dirt pile behind the safety of a gate in the parking ramp, scooping up little dirt piles with a tossed-aside bottle cap she found.
And I think we both could learn a lesson from her.
In our first adoption, everything about waiting was excruciating. Before we left for Africa, I tried to make something happen by reading more blog posts. While we were here, I obsessed about the next step, gobbled down stories from other families on the process just in case I could use a scrap of information for a magic ticket home.
No wonder the love wasn’t there; no wonder bonding was so difficult for me. Now I see that most of my energy was reserved for willing something into existence, forcing a signature to happen, staring someone down or pacing the guesthouse grounds or refusing to buy another pack of diapers until the last minute, sure that if I sent out the right signals, the universe would bend to my will.
This time? Well, let’s just say that it might take a lifetime of discipline to learn how to wait well.
It’s true, I’m not so frantic this time. I know what pushing for a result will get (if the passport isn’t ready, it just isn’t ready).
But still, I’m wishing this waiting time away somewhat.
I think of the family vacation that happened while I was gone, and the tooth my son will lose while I’m not there, and I see families around the campfire and it makes me want home, and how June is almost over and the summer is slipping away and I’m not even there for it…
and then I realize: but I’m here for it. How “here” am I though, when all I can think about is there, or when, or as soon as, or after that?
I want you to know I’m writing this out for me. I want you to know that I’m drifting toward distraction always, but I’m saying these things out loud here to remind myself to step away. To be here. To see my new daughter, to build lifetime bonds to Uganda in both my daughters, to try eating a grasshopper (yesterday!), to buy sugar cane and avocado and pineapple and bananas in the tiny produce stands that are everywhere, to walk the dirt roads until my toes are caked in it, to pray it never washes off my sandals. To turn off the internet and look into my new girl’s eyes. To pray that I could see the beauty God puts in my path today, and tomorrow, whether here or there.
As much as I long for home while I am here and I long for Uganda when I am home, let me sit in the dirt with my daughter now, when I have the chance. Let me feel the sun hot on my shoulders. Let me live and love where I find myself today.