September 18, 2014: It’s dark out still. The rains returned yesterday, and drops continued to fall through the night. My breath feels caught in my chest, making this airplane feel much smaller than it really is. I feel a single tear stream down my cheek and for a moment feel a bit startled. I didn’t know it was coming. For many reasons, my emotions live very close to the surface lately. Today, my tear is the embodiment of the emotions I feel about going home to see my family and, for the first time, being completely uncertain about how long it will be before I return again. How many inches will taller will my nephews stand when I make this trip again? How many new wrinkles will I count on my mother’s pretty face after the next few years have passed? Another tear trickles down my cheek. With every decision, new doors are opened, while others are closed.
Neil and I are on the verge of knocking on a door that is in many ways a portal to another world. Will we crawl through the bureau, like the children in the stories of Narnia, only to wish desperately we could find the doorway back to home? Will we feel content in our new world and all its beauty in spite of the challenges we will face? Only time will tell. So, we continue to tiptoe closer to that door, teeming with anxious anticipation about whatever awaits us on the other side.
We continue to work towards cutting the dock lines, and practical preparations for our journey consume us. As critical as it is to ready ourselves emotionally to make this leap, however, nowhere on our ready, set, sail to-do list will you find, “Come to terms with leaving our family and friends” or “Be certain we will not freak out at sea.” Emotional to-dos are simply not tangible in the way that, “Service winches” and “Buy dinghy repair supplies” are. The point at which emotional to-dos are completed is difficult, perhaps impossible, to gauge. So, how do we know when we are emotionally ready to set off? I guess we don’t—we just have to go. Ultimately, our emotional growth never ceases; that work is never finished. We all wage battles with personal demons and fears, and even the most loving and supportive of partners cannot fight those battles for us. Emotional to-dos are often processed privately. This is not to say that Neil and I don’t share our feelings, we certainly do. However, we try our best to not interfere with the other’s process and to appreciate that we absolutely cannot reconcile the unique emotional to-dos of anyone but ourselves.
The hands on the clock are accelerating with each passing day. In just two days, we are in the single digit countdown. Speaking of our to-do list, I’m grappling with a bit of guilt for traveling the next four days, while Neil is home continuing to tackle practical preparations; the type of to-dos in which my help would be particularly useful.