Friday, November 21, 2008

God is with us

For those friends and family not on Facebook, we've got big news: Kieran Tinashe McAlister was born Friday morning at 4:22. He weighs 8 pds 2 oz and has reddish hair. Mommy and baby are both doing well and will be released from the hospital on Monday. Dad is trying to be as helpful as possible.

Tinashe is a Shona name that means "God is with us." More updates soon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Still waiting

I had a dream two nights ago: I was out for a walk, and when I came back to the apartment, there was a message from John to get to the hospital as soon as possible. I went, and he explained to me that I'd missed the labour and birth. Sure enough, I looked down to where my normally huge belly is and I had a flat stomach. The doctors said it was a medical miracle! John explained that since they hadn't been in touch with me, they brought my sister in to the meet the baby. He thought I should go in, so the baby wouldn't be confused about who the real mother was. The baby was SO cute! He never cried, and just loved smiling and cooing. Ah, the fantasy life... :)

Our baby's 6 days late, but it feels longer. It feels like I've been pregnant a very long time! I think mature people can appreciate waiting. Spiritually mature people can appreciate that God can teach us so much through times of waiting. I don't feel very mature! I feel impatient! I feel huge and heavy and nervous about the impending labour (supposedly he has a big head - yikes!) I feel like I'm incompetent somehow when everyone's like "what's up? what's wrong? where is he?" Whereas really, I should just be happy that our little baby is safe, healthy and growing. Besides, with his combination of Ivany-Island-African roots, he didn't have a chance of being early or on time!

Friday, November 14, 2008


Our baby has still not arrived. I think he's too happy/comfy in there. It makes sense - who would want to come out to the dreary weather we've been having if they have a nice warm waterbed they're swimming around in? I continue to stay home and rest. Daytime t.v. has become a bit boring, so I'm trying to keep my mind active, but maybe I'm spending too much time thinking!

Last night I didn't sleep well. I had a dream about Zimbabwe. Usually when I dream about Zimbabwe, it's a situation where I have arrived back but not been allowed to bring anything with me. So either I'm stressed, wondering how I'm going to find food or money or else I'm just stressed because I don't have anything to give those I love. And then I always see people I love from a distance, but something keeps me from being able to talk to them. The dreams are kind of sad! I often feel helpless when I think about Zimbabwe. I worry when I don't hear from people, but then when I do hear from people, I also worry. And I feel helpless.

Yesterday I got a letter from one of my Zimbabwean mothers. She and her husband are pensioners that live on the compound where we used to live. They've both lost all of their children, and so they adopted us and really believe that we were sent to Zimbabwe to be their kids. The letter made me feel horrible. She wrote about how they had not heard from us on Mac's birthday and that he was disappointed about that (I did send a card, but I guess it never arrived). She wrote about her poor health and asked me to send medication. She said they're struggling for food. She said all of the money we left is finished and that we should send more or else they would die. I read this letter and just felt totally deflated, guilty, and most of all just HELPLESS! I just kept repeating, "I don't know what to do."

Zimbabwe was so real for us. The relationships were real. It really did feel like we were adopted into families; that we became son and daughter. It was a beautiful thing. But how does that continue now? When we were there, it was easy to be good kids. It was easy to bring food and money, to access medicine, to bring cake on birthdays. It was easy to visit with people, to listen and to share life. But now? From here? Zimbabwe is complicated. It's hard to transfer money. It's hard to know if parcels and letters will arrive. The phones are usually down. Even if it were easy to send money, how much should we send and how would we decide who to send it to? I've seen it from both sides now. I've lived with families who are counting on their "rich overseas relatives" for survival. And I've worked in Canada with refugees & immigrants on this side who don't feel very rich and struggle to make ends meet while still sending as much as possible "home."

We never meant to create dependence. We know what good development is. We know that it's better to teach people to fish than give people fish. We didn't want to make people dependent on us. But it's Zimbabwe. 80% unemployment, a trillion% inflation, shortages on all basic goods. How are people supposed to make and save money? Even those who are working full-time struggle for basics like school fees. We've been there. We've borne witness. So what's our responsibility?

It's heart-breaking to feel helpless. I know I can't be stressed now. I know that I have to rest and save up all my energy for giving birth and having a newborn. I just struggle to integrate the extreme experience of Zimbabwe into my Canadian life. I don't believe that God brought us all that way and showed us so many things and gave us so many people to love just to forget now. But I don't know how to re-member well or to bring the two different "lives" together. I don't want to be one of those people that gets so overwhelmed with "the weight of the world" that I don't do anything. But I also don't want to go crazy or feel guilty/stressed/sorrowful every time I think of our friends and family in Zimbabwe.

Well, maybe Dr. Phil will have some insight for me today...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Due date

So, today was the big day... but nothing happened. I guess our baby's on African time. I must admit that it's weird at this stage to just be waiting. I'm at home, trying to rest and entertain myself (I dusted!) but it's just waiting and wondering, knowing that a major life change is going to happen, not knowing exactly what that will be like and ready to find out. I feel like I've been pregnant forever, and I'm starting to have dreams about him never coming out (I'm also having dreams about being chased by crocodiles... I'm sure it's unrelated).

But there are still good things:
- Eventually our son will come to the outside world and be held in my arms instead of my tummy,
- Melissa Fung was released, unharmed,
- Barack Obama won (attitude change IS possible),
- I have a while to get used to being a parent before having a teenager (watched a scary Dr. Phil about salvia and sexting - new teen trends - very scary!)
- We don't have cockroaches OR crocodiles in our apartment...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance Day

Today is November 11 - Remembrance Day - the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I. Imagine how that must have felt to the world - peace at last. What a shame that so much war is still going on, and mostly affecting civilians.

I must admit that I feel conflicted about Remembrance Day. Maybe it's because I grew up in multicultural, postmodern Canada; maybe it's because I'm a pacifist. Part of me struggles to honour people that fought. Part of me struggles with the phrase "fighting for peace." And yet I know this makes me sound so selfish and ignorant because I get to live off of the avails - in freedom. A woman in the doctor's office this morning was distressed because her poppy had fallen off. I gave her mine, and she shared how she had lost the two people closest to her in the war. My heart went out to her. Of course I get choked up when I see old men in uniform, standing proudly or weeping softly - remembering all of those losses and tragedies from so long ago. Of course I feel compassion, respect and gratitude for them. But if I'd known them when they were young with guns?

Maybe I've just had too many scary experiences of young (often drunk) men in military fatigues with guns and a seeming disdain for human life.

"Lest we forget." One theory is that if we remember war and document it and keep it in our minds and our children's minds, we will not return to it. The other theory is that as long as we remember it, we will feel that loss and a need for revenge. But maybe that doesn't count in Canada because we don't really have any enemies and there is no revenge to be had. To remember or to forget. I guess most people who have seen real war don't have a choice. I have a small understanding of the inner conflict you feel in wanting to both remember and forget at the same time.

Friday, November 07, 2008

5 days to go

Well, I'm due in 5 days. So I'm finished work and resting at home. I guess I'm overdoing it a bit. I threw up 5 times in the shower yesterday. At least it was easy to clean up! But I spent the whole day today relaxing and catching up on day-time t.v.

John's nesting. He keeps wandering around our nursery, making sure everything is in the perfect place and that we have everything in order.

I'm enjoying... warm baths before bed, cheesies, back massages, thinking about holding our little son...