“Is it Mom? IS IT? Are we going yet? Is. The. Plane. GOING???”
This is an all too familiar version of the same relentless “Are we there yet” banter which accompanies every trip with kids, without fail. This time we were all going to Maui.
Translation: we were going to be on this very crammed aircraft for a really long time.
“Look out the window,” I say. “Can you see everything moving past?”
“Noo,” my five-year old son says, “I caaannn’t”. (Insert pained and impatient overtone). “It is just clouds out there. And they are not moving at all.”
“It’s ok buddy, we are moving. I promise.” I tell him.
Five minutes later and at constant five-minute intervals for the duration of that flight, my little guy would ask,
“Are we almost there Mommy? Are we there yet? WHEN will we be there Mom, WHEN? This is taking so so long!”
“Be patient Oli. I know being patient is hard.” I would say.
I should have just put that response on voice recorder and played it to him on repeat. That way I might have been able to read a page of my book or shut my eyes for a while. Retrospective genius is so unhelpful.
This conversation is familiar to me, and not just because I have it with all of my kids every time we take a trip. It is the talking track which has looped endlessly in my own head everyday for the last few months. I am having the conversation with the Big Guy Upstairs. It goes something like this:
“Hey! Excuse me? Sorry to interrupt but, am I getting anywhere close? I mean am I getting anywhere closer to where it is I want to be? Is this even the direction I am supposed to go? Can you please give me some clue as to what that ‘right place’ looks like anyway? At this point, I am pretty sure I wouldn’t recognize it if I saw it.”
I have these uncertainties because this plane or train or bus that I am a passenger on, seems like it is at a virtual standstill……kind of like the train my then soon-to-be-husband and I once rode from Jaipur to Varanasi, India. This train moved, but there was as much sideways momentum as there was movement forward.
Lately I feel like this. I have experienced tons of change. Much of it has not been predictable and most of it seems meant just to shake me up, not move me in the general direction toward “Better.” You are just journeying down this road of life, naively believing that everything is mostly always, pretty great. Then WHAMMO! You get crosschecked, hard, right into the boards, and nothing is ever the same again.
Ever. Even when it all looks the same, it is not.
So many things that I thought were’ done deals’, have fallen apart well after the point falling apart should have been possible. Samuel dying at 40 weeks and 3 days inside my womb was the first event in this series of the unexpected. Clearly none of these other changes have had the devastating impact that did.
Compared to losing my baby, frankly, all other challenges pale. My work situation, plans for graduate school, childcare; all of these facets of my life have abruptly changed over these past few months. And each of these things have affected the others like an ironic game of dominos, jarring me into a sort of stunned standstill, and rendering me incapable of making decisions or trusting any I have already made.
These events are truly just bumps on the road of life. But none-the-less, even a series of small bumps over time can create a sort of mental-emotional whiplash. The cumulative effects are noticeable. One begins to wonder what the hell is going on when every plan seems to get turned on its side over and over again.
It is not at all devastating, but all of this change of plans stuff is certainly surprising, annoying and somewhat confusing. Will any path will lead anywhere you expect it to? The over-uttered adage, “Everything happens for a reason,” becomes terribly trite and annoying at a point.
Maybe the message is this;
“Just sit back and let Me move this train you are on. Know that even though it doesn’t feel like the train is going anywhere at all, it is actually going so fast that you can’t feel it move. Look out the window….do you see Me? I am the clouds you are watching go by. I am right here with you. I promise. Trust Me.”
I guess all of this change, this sideways momentum, is just there to remind me that movement is happening. There is no doubt about that. The plane is really moving after all.
Now I will just have to learn to sit back and be patient. Maybe Oliver and I can learn together.