A one-two punch this morning has me seriously jonesing for Tess. Dave and I spoke for a few minutes just before he fed her (bad choice: squalling baby + useless mommy = sadness overseas), and then I went down for breakfast, where I watched a cute anglophone couple and their 15-month old enjoying their morning. Ack! I’m looking forward to our temple visit this morning, but that was a direct attack on my heart.
Part of it is the impossible truth that I’m a mom. Tess is 7 months old; she’s vibrant and sweet and ours. Yet every time I look at her or hold her, I wonder how it’s possible that we’re her parents. I kept thinking that stunned feeling would fade, the way taking your husband’s name becomes less weird by your first or second anniversary. Now I’m not sure. I don’t think this is adoption-related. It’s disbelief that we are so fortunate, that our dreams really are coming true. So when I say that a little one visiting China gets me, part of it is the urgent desire to throw myself against Tess’ door and make sure she’s real and I’m not dreaming – rather impossible from so far away!
As we prepare for another outing, I have to marvel at the Chinese capacity for dedication. As I heard that the Great Wall took over 2,000 years to build and umpteen millions of people’s labor, it occurred to me that no one in our time has shown anything remotely resembling that level of multi-generational drive to complete something magnificent. Lets be clear: the Wall was built on feudalism, tragedy, and out of fear and a desire for protection. Still, 2,000 years! It’s incomprehensible in our world of micro markets, twitter and fads.
There’s a great blogger who’s been a professional traveler for the last 6 years. She used to be an idol of mine; I guess she still is. I couldn’t do what she does, and I never really wanted to. Still, I admire her passion and drive. More, I admire her honesty and self-awareness. She recently posted that she is no longer as passionate about constantly traveling, that it’s exhausting to live without a home base. When I traveled almost nonstop, I could relate. It’s not glamorous at that point – you sometimes can’t remember and don’t care where you are. The blogger fell in love, and is choosing to reevaluate and revamp her lifestyle so she can try something new: having a home.
After years of wanderlust that didn’t end with finding Dave and the joy that is my life at home, my wanderlust is morphing. Now, I would rather stay home more and take Tess and Dave with me when I go. Traveling by myself or even with other family isn’t the same without them. This is a first-world problem, folks! In fact, it’s not even a problem. It’s a slowly-dawning realization that I am joyfully tethered to my family, that comforting Tess at 5 am is more fulfilling (sometimes!) than a new city. I’ll always be a traveler; it’s in my blood. But my life is morphing too.