There was a bombing in Arusha a few weeks ago. Did you know that? (Don’t feel bad if you didn’t, unless you’re closely following international news sources it’s unlikely you did; my husband is living in Arusha and even I didn’t know until he sent me a text.) A bomb was thrown into the window of an Indian restaurant; 8 people were injured, one man lost his leg. Most of them – maybe all of them – were Wahindi Tanzanians. Tim and I often had date night there.
Unless you’re living under a rock (no offense, but even I know of this one) you’ll know that a plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine. 298 people on board were killed. The plane had departed from Amsterdam airport. Tim is flying through Amsterdam on his way home.
This weekend Oliver had a fever. Thankfully it lasted only 24ish hours, but he was irritable and lethargic and sad for at least three days. Yesterday he couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t let him have chocolate milk again before dinner. “I hungry,” he wailed in the corner. “Why no more chocolate milk? I want daddy. I want daddy. I waaaaaaant daaaaaaaddyyyyyyy.”
Eleanor has started drawing pictures with which she wants to plaster the walls for Tim’s birthday surprise (Tim, if you read that, pretend that you’re surprised). She cannot wait to buy something for his birthday, to make a cake – or maybe even a cake and cupcakes – and to celebrate it with him. Circled on the calendar that hangs by her desk in my parents’ home office is the date he returns and last night she made a paper chain that she can rip each day until he returns.
When Alice sees him on FaceTime she still tries to look behind the phone to see where he is, and Oliver, when we have to say good-bye says “Daddy has to go away?”
But it’s not all bad. In fact, it’s almost all good (except when it’s not.) On balance, we have had a remarkable summer: boating, swimming, beaching, playing in the woods, being with family. I have been reminded of all the things I loved about my own childhood summers in Maine and am so extremely thankful that I get to give a taste of that to my own kids. They have gone miniature golfing and ridden kiddie rides with my in-laws. They have gone boating and swimming in the lake with my parents. They regularly make houses and beauty salons and dress stores in the woods, play with sticks and lead marching bands down the driveway, they garden and eat ice cream and go to the beach with their uncles and aunts (and adopted aunts, Annabel).
For all the complaining I have done about having Tim gone, what I really want to complain about is not having him here. (Yes, those two things are different.) Not having him here means that he doesn’t get to share all of these experiences. He doesn’t get to relive his own summers on Great Pond – swimming for hours, canoeing out to the islands, catching fireflies and sitting in front of a roaring fire on cold rainy evenings. He doesn’t get to see the sunset over Portland Harbor while sipping bear and eating pizza at Flatbread and he doesn’t get to watch our kids create plays in their forest theater. It’s not fair to him, because these moments are priceless.
So, because I don’t want him gone and I don’t want him to not be here, I think it’s time that he comes home.
Just 11 days and counting.