Maybe waiting is the measure of a man. We have done our share of it.
Today, I daydreamed back to a sweltering Bolivian night eight years ago when we made pizza for Yoli’s family and I got down on one knee to propose. Not many days afterward, I boarded a plane bound for St. Louis.
I knew we would be separated for a while, working in two countries on the paperwork to obtain a fiancee visa. But I didn’t know how long.
How long turned out to be nine months. At the time I called it ‘the interminable wait.’
It seems to me that the waiting was hardest at the beginning (where the elation of getting engaged was followed by the loneliness of returning home alone) and near the end (though we never had a clear idea of when exactly “the end” would come).
My mind wandered, remembering those months of waiting, then returned to the present. I thought of our eighth wedding anniversary, just around the corner: Nov. 22 and 24.
But even sooner, I thought, our family will move back into the little brick house that was shattered by the Good Friday tornado.
Then it struck me: we have gone through another “interminable wait” this year.
In some ways it’s been harder. There was little joy at the outset, except maybe the solace that comes from knowing nobody was hurt and many of our possessions could be saved. There were so many unknowns: how do you pick a guy to cut down your tree? We chose one, and it went badly. Our temporary housing moved us farther away from all our usual places. We couldn’t walk Jadzia to kindergarten as we had planned, nor could we walk to the farmer’s market, or the bank, or the library.
But in some ways it’s been easier. Yes, we were separated from our house — but not from each other. We’ve been in exile, together. The rental house where we’ve lived was actually bigger than our own home, though it lacked some things (dishwasher). Our friends and family rallied around to help us. And our wait has lasted only six months, not nine.
Still, there’s no getting past the waiting. As with our engagment eight years ago, we had a vague notion of how long this reconstruction process would take. But the ending proved to be elusive. We would get close, and things would drag out.
At last, though, the finish line is in sight. Today our little house was full of people: cutting tiles, running pipes, painting walls, tracking in mud.
Tomorrow our long-stored belongings will begin to arrive at the house. Before the end of the week, we hope to be sleeping in our own beds again.
I would like to think that this “interminable wait” helped us, strengthened us inside.
Time will tell.