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in anticipation

The wait, seemingly unbearable at the outset but not that long in the grand scheme of things, is nearly over. After packing first the layette shipment and then her suitcases, S is making the final preparations for her return to Kigali this weekend. It has been a whirlwind summer — on both sides of the Atlantic — and much as D will grumble about the lost sleep that awaits with the arrival of two jet-legged kids, he is very much looking forward to seeing them again.

Looking through his files recently, D stumbled across a folder of unsorted photos from his last week in Maine. We took far fewer pictures this summer than in the weeks after Munchkin’s birth, and D was mostly able to stay on top of sorting and organizing them, but the last few days before his departure were hectic, and he had completely forgotten that he had downloaded these photos before leaving the camera with S.

The changes are remarkable. Junebug looks noticeably larger and far more alert than the last time D held her, and Munchkin too seems to have grown up in the five weeks since D saw him last. S typically tries to pick quiet moments when Munchkin is out with nana for our Skype calls, so D has seen very little of him this past month, but the few times Munchkin has popped in on our calls have proved revealing.

As during our previous separations, his Russian use has fallen off, but D was heartened to hear him try to use the few Russian words and phrases he has, even if the resulting conversations have the feel of playing a broken record. “Папа, где ты?” Munchkin would query, repeating the same question over and over while D patiently explained that he was at our house in Kigali, waiting for Munchkin to return. “Папа, я….самолет to Kigali” — lacking the action verb, Munchkin nevertheless made sure D knew he would soon travel on an airplane back to Rwanda.

S has developed a habit of telling white lies to Munchkin as a coping mechanism for his persistent interrogations, which he then regurgitates in his monologues. Thus, the last time we Skyped, Munchkin told D all about how he was going to get on the plane “in a few days,” but that the plane was not ready yet because the grounds crew was cleaning it. Fortunately, this deep cleaning is nearly over, at long last.

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