>So. Here we are. It’s the day before we leave. And this time, we haven’t gotten ANY phone call from the agency and instead of me in the curled up sniffling fetal position in the recliner as I watch my furious husband man the phones to Africa and the CDC in Atlanta….I am surfing back and forth through the house, up and down, packing, sorting, zipping, counting.

Duffel: zip. Laundry: fold. Shoes: find. Toddler: kiss. List: check.

It is a huge undertaking to travel, anytime, really… as a mom. With a trip where the family is split, you have to also plan and sort and prep for the kids left behind. You make the daily surprise bags with little happy nothings in them that will buy the babysitter a few extra minutes of happy busy time and you draw hearts on them from mom. You make these and set them aside, one per day per kid, no matter how old. You prep the babysitter notes and backups and house. You look at the garden and hope, again, that it doesn’t die while you’re gone. Then you turn to your packing, again, and you sort the clothes and backpacks and meds and books. And, inevitably, something is forgotten. Every time. {Ok, me…not SO organized after all}

And it’s so easy, this time, so jumping giddy after so long waiting, to get swallowed up in this busy pack-o-rama. But last night, it hit me. Right about dinnertime, my stomach knew it before I did……we are about to plunge.

We are diving off a cliff.
That’s sure what it feels like anyhow.

I’ve done that before, literally, on a baby cliff in northern California as a teen. It was what? Twenty feet high? Surely nothing. But I remember standing on the edge, trembling, afraid to stand too close, and feeling this same sick in my stomach. It looked so fun and everybody had splashed safely into the river. They didn’t bash open their heads, they came up smiling…all good. Way back forever ago, in the dark ages when I stood on that cliff, a cute guy was standing by the edge and finally helped talk me into the jump. So, finally, feeling like a fool and with a great lurch in my stomach as the butterflies flew inside, I jumped. Not dove gracefully, mind you, but jumped feet first with a scream all the way down.
Obviously, I survived, with my dork factor intact, and in fact increased, but I did it. And I was glad.

I tell you all this to say that I have those exact same feelings now. I have looked over the edge, and I have a dear handsome husband standing next to me, encouraging me. But even so, I have those same butterflies swirling inside my stomach with both the excitement and the fear of jumping off this cliff. That may shock some of you, after all our ranting raging pining away to go get our girl.

But there you have it.

Every single time I have a child: by labor and c-section, by racing in planes or automobiles to go get them, near or half a world away, I have to fight off a bit of terror.
Because life changes, the universe shifts.
I know, I know, it already did.
But now, I am really, truly, leaping into the abyss of the new, the shifted.
And it’s a little scary.

So I’m almost ready to go. Our bags are packed, almost. Our goddaughter arrives in the early morning to drive us to the airport. My toes are hanging on the edge. My husband is holding my hand to help my courage and I’m looking over the rim of the world, swallowing my fear and knowing I will make a fool of myself as I jump. I don’t really know everything that will meet us, except a girl on the other side of the world….who might be just as nervous as me.