Sort it all out

21 January 2014



There's so much yelling upstairs and I'm just letting them do it, the clock blaring 8:39pm. I'll give them and myself five more minutes to sort it all out. Our evenings are sometimes like this, when Matt is working and the three wee ones and me are so tired it all comes out in screeches and hollers. I'm hoping by refraining this one time, by allowing them to stomp and sort, by staying out of their way and keeping my impatience all tucked in, the hollers will die down a bit. They'll all retreat. This is wishful thinking, I know, but I don't think they need me. Not yet, anyway.

We took Jack to the US Embassy to renew his passport. It snuck up on me; five years go by so fast. We've made this trek a half dozen times, including one ill-fated trip including vomit and resulting in a 4-day hospital stay for Ella at the age of 3. Pneumonia came the year we had Ash. We loaded them into a double stroller and commuter train to get his "Birth Abroad" certificate and the passed out girl didn't even seem to stir us as we were so intently focused on the new baby. Looking back now we're ashamed and dumfounded. How could we not know she was so sick?

But today it was just the three of us, Matt and me and Jack playing hooky. We did the bureaucracy dance and filled out the forms, we paid the fee and ran around getting new passport photos taken. We came back and a man in a fit swore at the employees and stormed out enraged. It didn't go how he wanted today, and he let them all know it. It's hard to protect the ears of the 10 year old when the f-word is thrown in his face.

The guard was kind and the American employee flustered. Matt was good to talk with Jack, to ask him what we should do when things don't go our way. A teachable moment. I cringe to think of all the times I didn't react so well to similar circumstances, though I don't remember causing (much of) a public scene. I do remember crying, hiding under covers, picking fights, pacing the floors, thinking all hope was lost. Today things took so long and I knew the pictures were wrong, I could barely sit still. I bounced my knee up and down violently, anxiety swirling. I kept pulling at Matt, telling him where I thought we'd messed up, how we'd need new photos, how this wouldn't get sorted today at all, how we had to get new visas in a month and didn't they all know this already?! He silently chastised me with calm and cool cucumber-ness, making me all the more unsettled. But it got done, everything sorted. Another thing we do, wait for, pray on.

Sometimes it goes our way, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes I holler, sometimes I don't.

Tomorrow night and next week and next month we'll do it all again. Bedtime routines and stealing of toys. Immigration and another passport. Five years on now and it's Asher's turn soon. Ella is stronger than she's ever been. We live in Dublin and love our work.

It's all a part of life and it'll all get sorted out.

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