Thursday, May 14, 2015


We are deep into the packing process right now.  

Empty boxes of things.
I have lists.  I have lists of lists.  No, seriously.  I literally have a list detailing all of the lists that I need to make.  Lucy, Riley, Don, Toiletries, Kitchen, Medicine, Entertainment, School, Packing here, Grocery store in Port-au-Prince, to order online, to buy at the store, to do before we go, etc, etc.  Lists and lists and lists.

I have boxes and boxes of things.  I bought all of the things.  All of them.  Then I took them out of their boxes, and put them into gallon ziplock bags.  A lot of ziplock bags.

I sat on the guest bed last night surrounded by empty cardboard boxes and full ziplock baggies.  And then I had a panic attack.

Full ziplock baggies of cashew and clorox and dried fruit, oh my.
Oh my God.  I bought all of this stuff?  Do we need all of this stuff?  Do we really need to bring granola bars and apple sauce pouches and swim floats and 3 canisters of bug spray and 42 bottles of children’s tylenol and peanut butter new bottles of toiletries?  Why do we need all of this stuff?  We are going to a populated country!  There are people who live there, people who eat and love and get sick and take showers.  We can live for a month without Nutella for Christ’s sake!

I bought CVS.
I looked around again and my panic attack did not abate.  It intensified.  Because I tallied the cost and the weight of everything around in, in dollars and pounds and expectations, and I felt even less prepared than before I began.  I would forget something.  I had forgotten something.  I knew it.  I had made lists and lists of lists.  I had purchased ALL of the things.  And we would go to Haiti and pay extra baggage fees for our six pounds of peanut butter and we would get to our apartment (our own apartment!  amazing!) and we would unpack and someone would ask “Mom, where did you put the X, Y and Z?” and then my head would explode.

The best part about this panic attack was that it occurred while I was on the phone with American Airlines trying to get Riley added as a lap infant to our reservation.  I was on hold for 23 minutes, using that time to put more things from boxes into ziplock bags.  Riley, for her part, was communicating to us from her crib that she would not be taking a nap this afternoon, thank you very much, and the fact that we were trying to force her to do so was killing her.  Don walked into the room with a train of suitcases in which to pack the ziplock bags full of things from cardboard boxes.  A live human being finally came on and asked me how she could help.  And then the phone cut out.  

I put the phone down on the bed, gentler than I have ever handled anything in my life.  I took a deep breath.  I looked around at the sea of boxes and bags on the bed again.  A rising sound filled my ears.  My chest got tight.  I breathed in slowly again, but couldn’t seem to get any air.  I felt like a tea kettle left on the stove too long.  I wasn’t just going to boil, I was going to crack.

And then I looked up at Don.  He got it.  He knew exactly what was going on.  Because he had that look on his face.  He was Robert Redford in the Horse Whisperer.  He was in full de-escalation mode.  And I don’t even get mad at this anymore.  I love it.  I need it.  I was about to get totally crazy.  I was going to burrow into a cave of Cliff Bars and Crystal Light powder and diapers and sob.  I was about to cancel the trip.

But he knows.  After being together over ten years he knows.  I am on board for the adventure.  I am all in — but there is a caveat.  Every so often, I am going to totally lose my shit.  I am going to cancel the holiday/trip/dinner, pick the worst fight for no reason, get emotional and cry and make everything about me.  The best part about Don is that he knows this, and he knows exactly how to deal with it.  He wraps me in a mantle of patience and logic and a calm voice and he waits out my crazy.  

The best part about Don is that he knows my crazy, and he loves me.  Not in spite of it.  Not even because of it.  He just loves me.

Unpacked bags :(

Packed bags!

More bags...
Just too cute not to add in.