Here is the question I get most of all these days: “When does Kathryn leave for the Peace Corps?” It feels comparable to the good-natured question, “when are you going to have children?” if you’re recently married. The short answer to the question I get is: I don’t know. And, what’s worse, I don’t know when I’ll know.
Waiting is hard for a mother. When Aaron put his mission papers in, I devised all sorts of strategies to keep myself busy, knowing I had a few weeks before the infamous packet would arrive in the mail. This is different. This is a larger bureaucracy we’re dealing with; one that is in no hurry to get anyone anywhere. I recognize that the Corps has a lot of variables to deal with, but it doesn’t help me feel much better. I try to stay busy and not focus on where my daughter will be assigned and when she may be leaving. It’s still hard, mostly because I have no end date–no general idea of when her packet will arrive in the mail that gives me the information that allows me to PLAN.
I have lots of conversations with my daughter (who I know gets asked about WHEN more than I do) about my stress over this. She says, “Mom, the Peace Corps website tells us that during this process, we need patience and flexibility. Can you try and do that as well?” She is stronger than I am. I know this is tough on her, but she is handling it rather well. I think that being a mother ramps up stress, especially about things that will affect the well being of her children: if I was waiting for my assignment, I could handle this better. It’s been nearly a year since this process has started. She has had to put up with me freaking out on a regular basis, worrying about things I can’t control.
The bottom line is this: getting an assignment in the Peace Corps takes a lot longer than anyone probably expects. It is not an easy thing, especially for a mom bracing herself for her daughter’s departure. Kiddo, I’ll need you to be a little more patient and flexible with me.