Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Stamp of approval

Oh my goodness. Sorry to leave you, unintentionally, hanging.

Ian called sometime yesterday afternoon, just home after a long day in Paris. The process took three hours, most of that waiting in the embassy waiting room for his number to be called. Long story short, he's been "approved."

What they call an "interview" consisted of standing at a counter, just like you do at the Department of Motor Vehicles, and answering questions. Talking through a hole in plexiglass. This means Ian, I'm sure, said, "I'm sorry?" a lot because he doesn't hear all that well. Too much ear-plug -free nail gun use.

He did hear the interviewer ask him the one classic Green Card question, and that was...
"When is your wife's birthday?" He miraculously came up with that date then the woman had the, I don't know, lack of imagination, to ask him "What did you give her for her last birthday?"

I'm afraid I laughed out loud when he told me this because if there is anything Ian and I don't do in any sort of traditional, consistent, or over the top manner, it is birthdays. What usually happens is I treat myself to something, usually clothing, and tell him it is his gift to me.

"See what you got me for my birthday?" I say, spinning round and round in my new green wool overcoat from Mark's and Spencer. Or kicking up my heels in yet another pair of boots or clogs I don't really need.

So Ian's answer to the interviewer was just that, "I don't remember exactly, because she probably bought it for herself."

Now he's waiting what is meant to be "seven to ten days" for them to send him his passport with the visa stamped inside of it. Once he has that in his possession, he is free to board a plane bound for the United States.

No plane ticket yet, that I know of, but we're sort of incommunicado since we've skipped town and headed to Burlington to watch a Women's Hockey World Championship Game.

We saw Switzerland beat Russia this afternoon and seeing how excited Esther was to see all those powerful women out on that ice was balm for my chapped soul. Now we're in a hotel with a pool, my parents are with me, and we're going to the state capital tomorrow so Esther can attend the award ceremony for the state-wide poster contest she placed in. Her poster won second place. Clever girl.



Funny thing, perhaps this is textbook, but after all this, neither Ian nor I felt overly elated at the news that he could come home. Shock? Distrust? Bureaucracy fatigue? PTSD? I don't know. But both of us admit to feeling kind of empty, tired, drained of any and all energy or capacity for emotional reaction at this point.

I assure you once we are back in each other's midst, in the flesh, not just voices over a wire, or faces on a screen, and I and Ian's girls are securely in his arms, the source will  renew itself. The flood gates will open. I'm sure of it. And I'm looking forward to the cathartic release. This stoicism shit is getting old.

But until that day, I'm not sure if I will feel anything but apprehension.Yeah. And the last vestiges of lingering, festering, anger.

So.... Ian is coming home. Still don't know when. I would type "Hurray" but that feels fake. Bear with me here. This is really quite strange.


38 comments:

i.ikeda said...

Congratulations! The rest will fall back in place with time. I'm very happy the end is finally in sight for you all.

Robin said...

I definitely think it's bureaucracy fatigue and distrust. It will be easier to celebrate when you're all together, but I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't go into celebration mode right away. It's hard for our bodies to turn off anxiety and stoicism, and it might have to phase itself out slowly. That's true for the girls, too, who have probably felt, if possible, less control and understanding of the situation and might therefore be more distrustful of the permanence of his return, at least for a bit. In any case, congratulations, and I hope 7-10 days is just that, and a cathartic springtime reunion is in the works.

Sue Kol said...

Congratulations! and I totally understand all those emotions. I didn't want to be stalkerish, but I've been checking your site every hour since yesterday morning.

Very happy for you.

Oh! congratulations! for Esther's poster contest thingy.

Anonymous said...

I am so thrilled for you! It will take some time for the reality to sink it, and to get used to having Ian back once he arrives.

holly said...

Well I'm letting out a big hooray for you!
Every emotion you're feeling is normal, but trust the earth, things will fall in to place.

AdrianneP said...

Geez, totally not how I pictured the interview going! I thought he'd be in a classy interview room, up against 3 people. My immediate question when I read that he was in the Embassy waiting room was "How was the decor?!" Being a guy I suppose he didn't even notice?

I am *so* glad he's been approved! I'm giddy for you : )

I'm also thrilled to hear Esther loved the women's hockey championship!! Get her into hockey and she can get a scholarship to RPI in Troy, NY and play on their Woman's Hockey Team!!!

Adrianne

Liz said...

I'll say it, "HURRAY!". So happy for your family.

Kate D said...

This is wonderful news, congratulations to both of you. Bureaucracy fatigue and distrust sounds about right. I think if I were you'd I'd feel the same way. When he is REALLY home, then things will shift back into place. I'm sure the transition will have its ups and downs, too.

The USA women's team is rocking it! They beat Finland 11-0! So glad you and your family could enjoy some of the competition. And congratulations to Esther for her poster. When I was 9 I won a State of VT poster contest and I remember the feeling very well.

Thanks for sharing your life with all of us readers. We love you.

Anonymous said...

Woo hoo! So glad to hear the news (thanks for thinking of sharing with us all here as soon as you could). Totally understand your lack of excitement . . plus until he walks of that plane you can't help but wonder what else could happen that could keep you apart.

Congrats to Esther and sounds like a fun time for your family!

Laree said...

Oh how wonderful for your family! I've dealt with long term seperations in our marriage (like him leaving for 4 months just before our 2 month anniversary!), but never on the scope that you guys have had to deal with.

So now my wish today for you is to find a SWINGING deal on airfare so he can get here quick!

Liliana Holtzman said...

Dear Betsy, I am so happy for you and your husband. I feel so invested in your story!
Don't worry, like you say, you'll get excited soon enough. For now, you are both holding your breath.
Congratulations to Esther on her poster design.
Hugs to you all.

Kathleen Trail said...

I think "holding your breath" is the right phrase.... And you'll probably be absolutely dizzy and ready to faint by the time you can exhale. Fingers and toes will remain crossed that all goes smoothly from here on out. (And even if you're not in "Hooray!" mode yet, I'm gonna say a little one – hooray!)

Janell Tawater said...

I've been checking your blog just waiting for the news! So happy for you and I totally get the apprehension. It won't be real untill you are truly back in each others arms. Thank you for keeping us posted. Hoping there are no more hopes needing jumped through and everything else simple and smooth - and quick!
Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Yippee!!

Kingsmom said...

Very glad to hear this!

Angela said...

Great news! I too have been waiting with you!!! It probably still feels a bit abstract because Ian doesn't have an actual TICKET, and you don't quite dare to let it sink in yet. At least, that is how I would probably feel myself... ;) Wow, Esther did well!

Rachel said...

I'm so happy to hear this!

Kelly said...

Yay! That is great news. My husband has gone on two different year-long military deployments and I completely understand your feelings right now. When he was in his final week before coming home, everyone around me seemed happier than I was. You have been the rock to your family for months and you can't really let down until he is in front of you or you might not get back up again. So, so happy to hear that a reunion is near! Take lots of pictures if you can!

Betsy said...

Wow. Thanks all. Yes, Kathleen, holding my breath is apt. Or still waiting to exhale, to steal a phrase. I can see the surface, and life above water, but still have to conserve my air for a little while longer before I burst through and start gulping for more air. I am so dramatic, I may have been Anne of Green Gables in a former life. Isn't it "tragical." You are ever such devoted readers and I truly appreciate that. Especially considering how sporadically I update. I don't deserve you. I'm not worthy. I'm kissing all your feet now, in case you can't visualize it.

Betsy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Betsy said...

Kelly: "You have been the rock to your family for months and you can't really let down until he is in front of you or you might not get back up again."
Yes. Exactly. Thanks.

Was Living Down Under said...

Wow - I think I missed this party! Not sure where I've been - nursing sick children probably but still....

Yay! I totally get your stoicism. I behave exactly the same way when one would expect the opposite. In the meantime I'll cheer for you! Hurray!

Seamingly Sarah said...

hip hip hurray! i wonder if you'll be experiencing ptsd long after, like waking up in the middle of the night in a panic that he is not there again? i hope not.

and congratulations to esther on the poster contest. i won honorable mention once for a home safety poster contest. i still have the poster in a scrapbook after all these years.

Was Living Down Under said...

Oh and yay Esther for the poster contest... What kind of posters were they?

Enjoy your mini-break!

Anonymous said...

I know that what I felt after 18 months was relief and disbelief. It ebbs, though. After awhile you just get a feeling that it was all a dream, or maybe that it seems so long ago.... It's hard to explain. You just get back into your life together. I'll tell you that I've never forgotten what it was like not to be able to wrap my arms around him or smell his neck. Yes, his neck. I just love the way he smells... It's also really great to be able to talk to each other right there any time you want to. For a long time my stomach would get tight with panic if either of us had to go somewhere (even the store) and we needed to call the other. I'm looking forward to hearing about all of you getting back together. I think that we all are!

KiminAZ

txwinter said...

Whew! Another major hurdle overcome. Yes, I totally get the waiting to exhale feeling. I have a situation of the same sort here (not the same subject though) and the relief is not real or permanent until it truly IS. I am so happy for your family! It's been a long, hard slog for everyone...
Congrats to Esther on her poster-that's super cool! Looking forward to hearing 'he's landed' in Vermont. :)

Txwinter

Anna said...

left a comment that didn't post - Anyway, I'm so happy for you all! Wonderful news. And congratulations to Esther!

Anonymous said...

Betsy - so excited for you guys, can't wait to hear about Ian's official homecoming. SO COOL!!!!!
Congratulations.

Keep talking, we're listening.

danielle

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to hear when he is finally home. I think about you guys a lot. Antje

tinsenpup said...

Such good news. It'll feel real when it's real.

cecile said...

Oh, that is great news ! I hope he can fly really soon, then I'm sure you will feel this happiness.

mooserbeans said...

Iam so happy for you, but I also understand the feeling of "waiting for the other shoe to drop." When you spend an extended period of time under stress or keeping a stiff upperlip, it is hard to switch it off right away. Iknow that everything will be better when he is home.

alouise said...

I am so happy for all of you!! This is wonderful news :)

Laura said...

Oh, honey, I hear ya. And yes, it's normal to see the first flicker at the end of the tunnel and close your eyes, just in case. Congrats, so glad to hear it!

alison said...

Congrats...
Did he finish his job there?

alison said...

Congrats...
Didi he finish his job there?

Anonymous said...

Yay!! I have been a reader for a very long time, and I was rooting for the immigration mess to be over. Hope Ian gets home soon!!!

Yay!!!

Special K said...

I'm SO excited for you! I was thinking last night that it's been a transition to having my husband home after a year of traveling during each week. But there WAS a definite honeymoon enjoyable phase so soak it up!

And try not to overanalyze, just enjoy him home for the girls and for you! Best of luck if he has to search for a new job or something.