Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Joy of Anticipation

Many people have commented on how flexible I am to be willing to change plans at the drop of a hat to accommodate what will work for our family this year. To some extent it is true that I have been willing to make and change plans whenever my husband is able to visit with us. But it has not been easy.
Take our trip to Europe, for example. We had planned from the beginning that we would try to meet in Paris before school began. A great way to end the summer and spend a bit of time with dad. The first hurdle was finances. We have been recovering financially from doing a year overseas to see how it would fit our family. My husband heard that the State Department would cover one trip for kids to see their parent on an unaccompanied tour. OK, but they required that he give them the rule in writing. I guess they don't run into people taking advantage of that one very often! After weeks of searching, my husband was finally able to pin it down and get the plane tickets approved. The next hurdle was that my husband's visa only got him into Pakistan one time. He was waiting for his work visa to come through. With 600 people waiting for visas and just a few weeks before we were to leave we were shocked when his was one of 70 that came through. Then with only 5 weeks before school was to begin, he had to request time off, buy tickets, make reservations, and everything else that comes with planning a big trip. So we made the plans and 3 weeks later we were together in France. It may sound easy enough, but what do I do with tentative plans? As the date got closer and we had no idea if we were going, I struggled over filling the calendar with play dates, visiting parents and camping. How much can you tentatively plan?
We were hoping that I would be able to visit Pakistan to spend my husband's birthday with him and go to the Marine's Ball. Once again we had to submit forms for approval of my visit. These were messed up and delayed 3 months. By the time they came we only had 2 1/2 weeks to get my visa. My emotions have been up and down. Am I going or am I not going? The papers came through Fri. evening so I wouldn't be able to contact the Pakistani Consulate to inquire on length of time to acquire my visa. So Sat. night I took my son dress shopping. If I was going to a ball, I was going to need a dress to wear. I was pretty sure that my fairy godmother would not appear at the last moment to turn my rags into a gown. I came home very excited with a gown, shoes and the hope that I would not have to return them. Monday morning the consulate told me I would need a copy of my husband's diplomatic passport and a letter of invitation. With my husband traveling my hope was only hanging on by a thread. He got me those things, but we ended up deciding the timing was too tight to buy a plane ticket and hope that my visa would come before the plane departed.
Three weeks ago my husband was finally able to confirm his time off for Christmas. That meant that we could go ahead and make plans. Fortunately I had done my homework and we were able to book a cruise. We have two months before we leave and it feels so good to have something to look forward to. No last minute, emotionally frantic joy or let down. The kids and I have been talking about it at dinner. We are all excited. We are researching the places we will be stopping. We are looking forward to the time we will have with Dad.
This job requires me to be flexible, but there are times in life when we need to be able to anticipate something. To yearn for it and spend hours of dreaming about how it will be. This is my two months of joy.

No comments:

Post a Comment