Monday, August 1, 2011

The Night Before Elf

There are a lot of mixed emotions in the hotel room tonight.  Total excitement over meeting our service dog Elf tomorrow morning at 4 Paws For Ability for the first time ever. If you remember my Kodak moment parenting blog, you’ll know that I’m imagining a Hallmark movie moment where Caden and Elf see each other and instantly fall in love. But let’s stop and think about this for a moment: we’ve traveled about 900 miles by car since we left home on Thursday (and watched the same Looney Tunes movie more times than I can count).  We’re in a new time zone which means we’re out of our routine although we’re doing our best to re-outfit the hotel with our “stuff.” And tomorrow we’ll be surrounded by people and animals we don’t know. Things will be different, out of control, and unexpected. I teach, research, and write about communication and change as well as meet and talk to new people all of the time. Yet I know how big the elephants in my stomach are tonight so I can’t begin to imagine how my precious little boy will feel. At the moment he’s excited to meet his new best friend Elf although he asks every few minutes when his sister will get here—it’s a question I imagine we’ll answer many times over the next 10 days. Honestly although I know she’s having more fun where she is, I already miss her and wonder how I’m going to handle 10 days apart too (she ironically chose only grandchild time with the grandparents over us in about 2 seconds). I have no idea what any of us will think or do tomorrow. Ironically although he doesn’t know it yet, even Elf is about to have his world turned upside down. I guess we all really will be in the same boat.

I think tonight kind of feels like a strange mixture of anticipation over bringing a baby home and going on a blind date. When we brought the kids home, we had all of the necessary supplies and probably a few dozen we only thought we needed. We did our research and purchased the brands that had the highest reviews but quickly realized that neither child read the reviews prior to birth. So we went out and bought new bottles, and then some more new bottles, and finally more new bottles before we found ones that Caden liked. We’ve purchased approved and interesting looking toys and a pretty darn nice dog bed but I’m sure Elf will quickly make his preferences known and we’ll be at the pet store we spotted up the road in a day or so.  I’m just hoping Elf sleeps better than either of my babies ever did!

I’ve never been on a blind date but you know I’ve seen movies. Thankfully Elf is the only black lab in the class so we won’t have to worry about coordinating outfits or wearing large flowers to find each other. But we’ll both try to be on our best behavior in hopes that the other will like us. Caden asked me tonight what we’ll say when we meet Elf and I said I guess we’d just say hi. He’s hoping Elf gives him kisses. I’m hoping this isn’t what he’ll ever expect on an actual first date.  And strangely I’m trying to figure out which outfits we should wear tomorrow. You know clothes that say we are classy but in a fun and hey you want to hang out with us some more kind of way. Again, I’m hoping that this isn’t an attitude that either of my kids take to dating but then again I’m hoping Elf is our only blind date.

Honestly I have no idea what tomorrow brings but I know we’ve waited for this day for 2 years and 1 month.  We’ve weathered the application process, the fundraising process, the video making process, and the match process. We have a name and a picture and darn it we’re going to figure out how to make this date like us and maybe by this time tomorrow evening he’ll be sleeping like a baby in our hotel with us.