It’s 3 am, do you know where your sleep is?

It is just after three and my sleep is nagging me, but the rest of me is not quite wanting to give in. I’ve been waking up anywhere between 2 and 4 am for a long time now. Some days it’s just easier to get to sleep than others. Tonight my head is all stuffed up and I’m wondering if it’s leftover dust on the luggage in our room. I did wash everything, but it’s had a couple of years to build up. Took an allergy pill so we’ll see how that works.

The rest of the stuff running around in my head, is well, doing just that – running around…

Chris and I went to Port yesterday to get Liv’s passport with Canadian visa, and her original adoption docs from the Embassy. They called yesterday to say it was ready buy didn’t mention that the Embassy Immigration section was closed on Fridays. Thankfully we have a great contact in Consular Affairs and she was able to send someone down to reception will all our stuff. Walking out I could tell that Chris was finally happy. He was almost skipping. He felt free. Good moment.

Yesterday was the first time in I don’t remember how long that Chris and I have been able to have time on our own. And it was much needed. Liv is in a stage of repeating everything a billion times, and usually when we are in the middle of trying to have a conversation with each other. And she’s all elbows and knees right now, so of course this is also when she wants to always be climbing on us. We’ve both been feeling the frustration of not being able to talk to each other and not feeling like we have any personal space, all the while being conscious of the fact that kids are sensitive and over the last weeks Liv has been picking up on our roller coaster of emotions and the mix of tension and now excitement in the house. Of course it’s going to affect her. She’s excited too, and yet only knows that she should be because we are. She really has no frame of reference for Canada other than what we tell her. And how does a two year old know what camping is if she’s never gone? We’re trying to be mindful of all of it, but it’s been trying in the parenting department. I know a change of scenery is going to be great for all of us. And being around family that can help with Liv after not having that for two and a half years is going to be great for Chris and I.

I’m starting to get our stuff together and will be doing more packing today. For you parents with small children, I’m curious about what you do to keep them occupied while traveling. A friend gave Liv a kid sized back pack so I’m packing that for her to take on the plane. I’ve made her a little coloring book (normal sized one wouldn’t fit), put some crayons in a ziploc, and a book that has about 50 stories in it. Chris has some kid movies downloaded and ready to go as well. Our flights are long, two of them being 4.5 hours. We’ll be taking the Gravol too because she gets car sick and I’m not sure how she’ll do on the plane. Maybe the Gravol will knock her out for a while… Suggestions welcome, please!

We’re leaving for a long time – almost 4 months. Since I moved to Haiti in 2005 I haven’t ever left for more than about 2 months at any given time. For Chris it’s never been more than about 6 weeks. This is new for us. I’m excited that it’s new for us and something we’re doing together. I’m sure there will be times that are frustrating with being away so long, but right now we need to get the space and rest so badly that I think for the most part it’ll be good. Being home for that long will give us a chance to settle in and just live, rather than feeling like we’re cramming in all of this stuff. We’ve each made lists of things that we want to do while there. My list is a lot longer than his, but it was where I grew up so I have home team advantage. Everything from walking a few times a week as a family to ice fishing is on there. I’m excited.

Now that we know we are in fact leaving, and now that we’re down to a matter of days (oh. my. gosh.) I’ve noticed that I’m being incredibly aware of my surroundings. Almost like I know I’m going for a while, so I want to stamp things into my memory. I know I’ll miss Haiti. In all the craziness that is life here, I know I’ll miss it. We went to see friends in St. Marc earlier this week and as we drove home in the evening, just around dusk, I was aware again of how Haiti changes at night. People gather in the streets to visit and almost let down the guard that follows them all day long. They are less agitated and I can only imagine that the heat has something to do with that. I saw trash burning on the sides of the road, and a woman walking with a stack of egg flats on her head. It POURED rain on the way home, harder than it ever has while we’ve been driving here, or maybe it just seemed that way because it was dark. Yesterday I was noticing all the vendors, for the hundredth time of course, but still fascinated by what they sold and how they did it. And the mix of colors and life that go with all of this.

On the way to Port we saw a dead body on the road. It was a young man, probably late teens/early 20s. It was the first time in all the years that I’ve lived her that I have seen a body. There was nothing gruesome about it, he was just lying face down on the side of the road. I don’t know what the story was, it wasn’t obvious. Maybe he was hit by a car? Maybe not. I don’t know. Chris asked if I was okay. I think because my brain was so full of other things it didn’t hit deep right away, but I felt very sad. There was no one standing there obviously upset, just people going about their daily activity, but aware from a distance. There were cones on the road so the police had been made aware, but there was no one doing anything at that moment. The feeling I had was sadness. I think that for all the years I’ve lived here, and because of some of the circumstances that have been Haiti during that time, I anticipated at some point I would have a moment like this, but I didn’t expect it to feel so quiet. I know it’s not something I’ll forget, but I think with everything going on right now for us it’s harder for me to process it. I also know that this is where we live. It’s part of life here, and maybe I accepted that more than I thought I had.

The fatigue is setting in and the allergy pill is working, so it’s time to go back to sleep. Have a great weekend!

~Leslie

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About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

7 thoughts on “It’s 3 am, do you know where your sleep is?

  1. We’re north of you in the T&C, and I have 2 kids who are frequent fliers (often transatlantic). I always have at least one change of clothes (2 changes for my littlest) per child in a resealable plastic bag (with extra ziplocs for various emergencies). If something spills, someone gets sick, a potty accident etc you put the dirty clothes in the plastic bags and seal it up to go in the wash later and have spares ready. I also pack one or two lightweight clean shirts for me which have also come in handy.

    I have a cloth diaper (or some sort of cloth) in every carry on to pull out fast. Baby wipes in a plastic bag if I can. Simple snacks and double the amount I think I might need. (banana bread, oatmeal cookies, crackers etc things that will fill up a bit when flights are delayed and you have a hungry kid). I also have empty sippy cups to put water in, once through security. I always practiced clearing my ears with my kids, (holding my nose and blowing to get them to pop, or yawning, making silly faces.) and tell them we’ll do that on the plane every 30 minutes or so (more often on descent)

    A lightweight sweater is a must for the a/c airports. My girls actually wear them to the airport (and the little one wears leggings as she knows it will be cold) Easy slip on shoes and talk to her about the security screening in MIA as they will want her to walk through on her own but when they are little it’s a bit intimidating. If my husband is with us, I’ll go first while he does the luggage/laptops etc and then the kids come through. They become seasoned pros at int’l travel though.

    The one thing I have learned flying with kids (many times on my own) is that if people see you actively trying to entertain, soothe, take care of your child, they will be very sympathetic and helpful even if you have a full meltdown, throw up etc. I have been amazed at the kindness and help I have received on flights.

    Krys

  2. I am SO HAPPY for you!!! At last your tedious struggle for precious Olivia is behind you, and you can enjoy a much deserved r&r with your parents et al. Your journey is over and now a new journey awaits you; your parents must be ecstatic! May God fill this time with blessings on you all. I can’t describe the joy I feel for you! Much love, Aunt Sue.

  3. First: I am so excited you’re finally coming home for a visit and I can’t wait to see how Olivia reacts to the wide world opening up around her. Are you guys still thinking of visiting the Island, or am I going to have to finagle my way to Armstrong for a long weekend?

    Second: You probably already know this, but some kids have an atypical reaction to Gravol. In other words, instead of making them sleepy it makes them hyper. If Olivia’s never had it before, you might want to try her on a dose before the day of the trip, just to make sure. (This is what the pharmacist I used to work for would recommend to parents in your situation.)

    Love,
    Abby

    • Abby,

      We aren’t sure what our plans are, but lets talk about all that. We want to see you! We’ve had Olivia on Gravol for about 6 months now because she gets carsick. Bad. She’s one of the lucky ones that goes to sleep :)

  4. We’d love to catch up with you and meet the family if you get a chance…we’re in Armstrong quite a bit. I know you’re busy and want to be with your family but let us know…..Good luck with the traveling thing! It’s SO exciting that everything is done and you can home together! What a blessing!

  5. Hey Leslie,
    Make sure you bring something for Olivia to chew on for the take off & landing. I find even myself that gummies or anything helps to relieve the pressure in the ears. Ask too if the Pilot will let Olivia see the cockpit. I dont know if they still do that post 9/11, but we used to when we were kids and it was neat.

    Have a great trip,
    Nadine

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