Next Monday, whether we’re ready or not, we’ll jump into the van and ship out. It’s our own private apocalypse.
The freezers are defrosted and everything is stuffed into the large chest freezer. I’ve made arrangements for my starter baby to live at my brother’s house. Five-sixths of us are done with our typhoid vaccine. The kitchen sink is scoured and most of the windows are washed (thanks, Mom!). The grape arbor is pruned (thanks, Dad!). The ceilings and walls are patch painted. The toilet doesn’t leak anymore. We’ve made arrangements for what to do with our bodies should we die (that was a fun Christmas Eve morning activity). Flip-flops and money belts are purchased.
Crisis happen on a semi-regular basis—the refrigerator died! we can’t find suitable jeans! the insurance company dropped the ball on all the prescription meds!—but we plow through. (We still haven’t caught the Large Animal that is living in the floor of the upstairs.) (Renters, if you’re reading this, panic now.)
There are happy-dance times, too. Like when I posted on Facebook that we needed a dog kennel and within five minutes we had one. Like when we combed through stores for hours in search of plain jeans for my non-trendy preteen and came up empty and then, within the next couple days, found a variety of perfect jeans, shorts, and capris from just one thrift store run and several friends’ houses. Like when the refrigerator’s thermostat stopped working so we had to plug and unplug the refrigerator to regulate it but then it died anyway but then my husband gave it CPR and it came back to life, ginormous sigh of relief. Like when a multitude of generous people loaned/gifted us a huge variety of backpacks and suitcases. Like when my order of books arrived at the door in all their glorious fresh-smelling newness.
Our family is an emotional smorgasbord. My husband is in denial. I am achy-sad and a bit in awe that this is actually happening. One child is excited, two are a bit sad (one is worried about the giant hornets and the other one explains the torn feeling perfectly: I really want to go but I don’t), and the last one (guess which) is suffering from headaches, stomachaches, nightmares, and lack of appetite—at the mere mention of “packing,” she crawls under the covers and hides.
Next Sunday during the worship service, there will be a commissioning service for us. I intend to cry bucket of tears. I will begin crying when the prelude starts and I will not stop crying until the benediction is over. (I’m undecided about whether or not I’ll cry during Sunday school and the potluck.) If you plan to attend, wear your wading boots.
This same time, years previous: giant sausage and leek quiche, Christmas 2010, windows at dusk-time, spaghetti carbonara, marmalade-glazed ham, for my walls, Christmas 2008, chopped locks, one step above lazy, tomatoey potatoes and green beans, hats