The fear is creeping in. It always does when we are on the brink of a new move. All of the unknowns come crashing down, and suddenly I feel totally inadequate. There are many times I have doubted my parenting abilities; moving just tends to magnify those insecurities. I've hopped aboard the roller coaster. One day I am elated at the prospect of a new adventure, the next I am sitting in a chair, hugging my knees, tears streaming.
This evening I spent a great deal of time researching all sorts of things about Singapore online. Sighing, I pushed back from the desk and tiptoed into Maddie's room to sing her favorite song to her as she slept. It's a beautiful song by Joe McDermott called "Great Big World." And tonight it broke my heart. I had to stop because I was afraid my crying would wake her.
In the song, a father sings to his infant, "Someday I'm gonna hold your little hand [and] walk around this great big world." That part I've got. Walk around the world together? Check. But then he goes on to sing about all the things he can't wait to share with his baby and teach his baby…walking out into the backyard, climbing trees, exploring the garden, lightening bugs. It all sounds so safe and wonderful and familiar.
Suddenly, my confidence is gone. Zilch. I got nothin'. I'm not even sure we will have a backyard, much less plant a garden there. Can a garden withstand monsoon season? Sure I can Google it, but as far as personal experience, forget it. How will I guide the kids around "this great big world" when I don't even know what to expect? It's like the blind leading the blind.
And what about American traditions? Will they remember what it's like to watch fireworks on the 4th of July? I think about their lemonade stands and camping in the woods. Is that all a part of our past? Does Santa come to the mall in Singapore? Is climbing trees against the law (like chewing gum - no joke!)?
There is so much I don't know about our new home. As Aaron read aloud information about local customs and laws this evening, I grew more and more nervous.
Don't point at someone with your foot or show the bottoms of your feet to others; it's considered very disrespectful.
Don't use your left hand to hold your utensils, as left hands are considered reserved for bathroom functions (ew!).
Don't pat children or others on the head, as the head is seen as sacred.
Don't spit on the ground or you could be fined.
Pornography [including public nudity] is illegal and could result in fines or imprisonment.
Don't forget to flush a public toilet, or you could be caned?!
I am pretty sure that my left-handed husband, my ever-wrestling, head-patting, kicking kids, and my own foot fetish are going to land us in jail. Did I mention that Jack tends to forget to flush the potty, pees outside, and often refuses to wear pants? Oy vey!
Despite my laundry list of worries, I am comforted tonight by familiar verses:
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
No matter where we go in this great big world, God is with us. He is the guide. He is the protector. And it is with that blessed assurance I will lay down my head and rest.
When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.