Making a list and checking it twice

A-100 is over.

And so begins the time of the List.

lists

The list of how long it takes us to use a bottle of shampoo (or a roll of toilet paper, or a bag of dog food…whatever consumable item it is for which we might have to determine the number of items necessary to tide us over for two years in Kinshasa).

The list of what we eat, like to eat, might possibly want to eat, and that will be either wholly unavailable (think ice cream treats and other items that cannot be shipped) or exorbitantly costly (we have heard that a case of diet Coke can cost upward of $80 USD) in Kinshasa, and thus must be gorged on (or a substitute acquired, tested and approved) prior to departure.

The list of all the people we love who live all over this country, and others, and who we will want to visit, nuzzle up to, break bread with, and generally fill our minds and hearts to overflowing with, before we leave.

The list of places we want to visit – both in Washington, and in general, in the next nine or so months.

The list of books we want to read that will need to be downloaded, bought, borrowed, or shipped via Amazon (hooray for Amazon) to our new home.

The list of games, toys, entertainment, DVDs, music, and other time occupiers that we will need to buy (and pack) before July.

The list of birthday, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Anniversary, and “just because” presents and cards we need to shop for, buy, and hide away (but in such a way that we remember where we put them when we actually need them) to cover us for two years.

The list of documents, power cords, transformers, adaptors, tags and shots we will need to safely ship our car, our dog, our electronics and our gadgets (and to get them back when they land on Congo soil).

The list of what we want to carry with us (300 lbs (two 50 lbs suitcases/person)), ship by air (600 lbs – the “UAB“), and/or ship by boat (7,200 lbs – our “HHE“) when we leave.  And yes, I get it, some may think it is a little too premature to be making this list, but I feel like if i don’t start now something vital will be forgotten or overlooked. I tend toward procrastination, so I’m trying to avoid the last minute panic and wild throwing of random items into a suitcase only to arrive somewhere and find that I have packed every shirt I own, but no underwear.

The list of what insurance we need, whether we have updated (and appropriate) wills, powers of attorney, and advance directives, and which of our 4,917 (a guesstimate) passwords go with which online accounts.

And, as they say, the lists go on and on.

I’ll get it together, I have no doubt, but right now I’m lying in bed at night thinking about my lists, worrying about my lists, planning my lists…and, apparently, turning my blog into its very own list.  So, maybe this is the list I should tackle next…

wine-list1

P.S. For anyone wondering, yes, Brian was officially sworn in last Friday.  We were incredibly proud and I can’t wait to write about it, but I’m waiting for a special photo that I need to get from someone else…stay tuned.

Controlling the uncontrollable

I’m beginning to feel that my life as the mother of a three year old is going to be good preparation for my new life as a “trailing spouse.”

Before C, at least before my adventures in pregnancy, I prided myself on my control of most situations.  I could plan for almost every eventuality, every possible outcome – whether of a case, a relationship, or a day.  I could make lists, make plans, direct the other attorneys and staff I worked with, and generally maintain physical, emotional and organizational control over my work and my life.

Then came pregnancy and, later, C.  And my control disappeared along with my waistline.  I’d like to think the waistline is generally back, but somehow the control seems to have been permanently displaced.

This morning C refused to get out of bed until I agreed that she could wear a tutu and crocs to have breakfast.

IMG_0070

I tried to reason with her.

“We need to get dressed in clothes we can wear to school,” I cajoled.

“No.”

“You won’t be able to play in the playground if you wear this,” I told her.

“I don’t want to play in the playground,” was her answer.

I’m sure a better Mummy than me could have sweetly convinced her to put on her (appropriate for school) clothes, eat her breakfast, wear her socks, and leave the house without a doll, three princesses, a light up ball, her umbrella and a purse, but not me.  Because I cannot “control” or “manage” or “organize” her; she is three.

And it turns out, while I can do a lot of planning, I cannot control much about what my life will look like in the next few months – and maybe even for the foreseeable future.

Self-Control-alexmillos

It seems crazy to me that I have no idea where I might be living next year. What happened to the “me” that needed to know what was happening, where I’d be, and what I’d be doing every day? I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and to find myself totally freaking out, but so far that has not happened.

I have started to lose a bit of emotional control – it started in earnest tonight.  I went to workout and when I arrived home some of our best friends in Charlotte were just leaving our house, a leather chair we put on our “sell/give” list in the back of their car.  C and their son, W, were kicking a soccer ball back and forth, their baby E was playing on C’s little push car.  It was such a scene of contentment and friendship. My stomach gave a little twist as I got out of my car and walked toward them all, thinking how much I wanted to preserve the little scene, but knowing I couldn’t.

W & C - Friends forever...

W & C – Friends from the beginning…

Then, later, as I was putting C to bed she went to her basket of stuffed animals and said “Where is my monkey with the tail on it? And the daddy monkey?”  The twist intensified. I donated those monkeys last weekend.  I know she doesn’t need three stuffed monkeys (I kept Curious George), but her question just left an ache in my chest thinking of those lost monkeys and how much she loved making them a “Mommy” monkey, a “Daddy” monkey and a Baby George monkey.

And finally, as she was falling asleep, giving me a hug and playing with my hair, she said “I didn’t want W to take my big chair.”

“But W will look after the chair and we can come back and visit it, won’t that be fun?”

“Is W coming to Washington, Mummy?”

“No, sweetie,” I told her.  “W is staying here in Charlotte to look after our chair.  But we’ll visit him, and maybe he can visit us.”

She said “Ok” but I know she doesn’t understand.

I understand though.  I know that how often we might, or might not, visit is out of our control and there is nothing I can do about that.