I loathe flying. Seriously loathe it. There’s a moment of sheer panic for me in every flight (if not multiple moments). So it comes as no surprise that psyching myself up for the flight to Ethiopia took some work. But it might surprise those that know BF to know that he had his own trepidation. My anxiety was flight TO Ethiopia related. Could I sit for hour after hour in my fear and come out on the other side in Africa and not jail (whenever we hear those news stories about the passenger who dove for the emergency exit midflight and had to get restrained and sedated, I think, “there but for the grace of God go I.”)? But I had no anxiety about the flight home. I knew that tending to baby would keep me busy and engaged in something far more important than myself and my fears. The hours, I figured, would fly by. BF, on the other hand, was paralyzed by the idea of the flight home. He was scared that baby would cry the entire time and that every passenger on the plane would hate us. I figured that most people would give us grace, but I also knew that if baby cried, BF would spend the entire flight going up and down the aisles apologizing. But then one of our dear friends, a physician, gave us the best possible advice for the flight. She said, “Think about those flights as your labor. Every family suffers a little bit to bring a new loved one into the world. Your labor is the flight– it’s a little too long, impossible to ever get fully comfortable with it, seems like it won’t end, you don’t know what’s coming next, and, yet, the entire time excitement, anticipation, and possiblity lick at your stomach.” It was the perfect metaphor– one that helped both of us handle with grace the part of the journey that really challenged us.
If your journey to a new family member is still ahead of you, I hope that metaphor serves you well, too.