My dog is moving to another country next year. She doesn't know it yet, so if you promise not to spoil the surprise, I'll tell you how this big move came about.
A few months ago, we learned that John's job was going transfer him overseas for a year. A year that would start a month or so after our baby was due.
We'd known since he took this job, he would be eligible for world-wide reassignment. It's a big world that includes where we live now, hundreds of countries, and a few places where people go for a year without their families.
Before we were pregnant, it was always my plan that if he ever got one of those "solo" assignments, I'd find a way to go "with" him, or at least go somewhere at the same time, whether in a military deployment or working for an NGO.
As it turns out, he will be going to one of those few places I can't go with him. Or "with" him.
Since I'm not trying to have my blog show up in any crazy internet searches, I'll tell you this way. It starts with P and ends with tan. Let's call it P-tan.
Honestly, I was jealous before I was sad, because I can't go. I'm the one who read the Greg Mortenson books first and wanted to jump on a plane and go help over there. I have a genetically inherited wanderlust and have wanted to live in that region since I was 17, when I first visited (a different country) and fell in love with it.
But he's going and I'm not. I'm having a baby. A much prayed-for, long-awaited, precious, miraculous baby. And that baby's first year is going to be way different that our dreams of it would have determined.
Of course, we've had time to process this and we're dealing with it pretty well. We've cried a lot. (Mostly me). We've questioned our decisions, we've questioned "God's timing," we've sought wise counsel, we've prayed and cried some more. We've talked to people who have done this. (Lots of people have done this, like thousands of troops deployed for the past several years. What a proud company of sacrifice for us to be joining!) We've gotten amazing support from our families and friends.
Remember my blog about our bed? This is what I was setting you up to tell you. We believe God has been preparing us for this since before we met. He gave us a thirst for adventure, a love for travel and a desire to live in and raise our kids in awareness and appreciation for foreign cultures. He wove something into the DNA of our relationship that has enabled us to endure, thrive and grow as a couple during our separations.
When we started dating two months before I left the country for a year, we knew that something in the separation was necessary for us to be the couple God intended us to be. And even through many tears and questions now, I believe the same thing. There is some reason, a good purpose, that our family will be shaped in this unique way.
We know it's going to be tough, but here are some of the perks we're focusing on now:
-We'll be together for the birth and the first 6 weeks afterwards. Huge perk considering how many dads in uniform watch their children's births over the internet or not at all.
-He will get three 3-week vacations during the year. That, plus the 6 weeks he's taking off after the baby is born, is almost four months off! He wouldn't get that much time off if we were staying here or going somewhere together.
-He would probably have to do an assignment like this at some point in his career. To be able to get it done in the year Blueberry won't even know he's gone is really a blessing. I can't imagine how much harder it would be a few years down the road with older/more kids.
-In my mind, P-tan is by far the best of the few of the places he could go by himself. The U.S. has had a presence there since 1947, and where he'll be working is huge, safe and well-equipped. Plus, he's super excited about the work he gets to do.
-He will have an advantage for his next assignment, which will of course include me and Blueberry!
-He gets to take Mocha! This is going to be great for all of us. I can't imagine trying to care for a new baby and a very active, needy dog in the winter, by myself. He will have a piece of home with him and his second biggest fan greeting him every day when he's done with work. He even met someone who's going there soon and is taking their lab and they've already agreed to take turns dog-sitting while the other is on vacations. And since Mocha's life revolves around John and food, she'll be as happy as a dog can be.
As for me, I'll be ok. I'll have a baby. I'll spend some time with my families in Texas and Oklahoma. I'll do some traveling. I'll get three 3-week vacations with my husband. I'll cry. I'll write. I'll take hundreds of pictures. I'll get comfortable on video chats. I'll learn and be stretched and grow (and hope to shrink a little bit, too!) in ways I never could've imagined.
I'm counting this a joy, not because it makes me happy and not because it will be so much fun, but because James 1:2-4 tells me to count trials (which I'm pretty sure this counts as) as joy because the testing of my faith produces patience, and patience has a perfect work to do, which will leave me lacking nothing. I think I'm going to need all of that for this next year!
(Oh, and you know I love comments, but please remember comments are searchable too!)