Being on Vaction in Your City

My mom is visiting us as we await the birth of our baby and she is the first visitor we have had in a year. The last one was stopping through on her way back from Nepal with a boyfriend and sister. It was one night and two days — in the midst of a work schedule that I couldn’t move because of visitors from our London office.

This month long visit is completely different: my mom is here to hang out and that’s exactly what we have been doing. She’s showing our nanny how to make certain dishes and available to run errands, or to start recipes while I’m still upstairs sleeping. She typed up my birth plan – something on my to-do list for at least two weeks and fields calls from my insistent auntie in India who wants to know exactly what is going on.

In short: it’s amazing. For someone who has spent 75% of her time alone over the last five years, having company has been an unexpected joy. We go to have tea with my former students and lunch with friends who have a one month old. She waits patiently in the doctor’s office as we are an hour past the scheduled time to meet with the doctor.

It’s such a luxury to have companionship. And if I hadn’t spent so many afternoons alone over the years, toiling at my desk, writing one project or another, or in the office, trying to cram in the last bit of efficiency, I think I would take this completely for granted.

For now, I’m enjoying it, rather than feeling crowded as I worried I would, between the nanny, mommy, my belly, and me. Rather than climbing the walls and chewing my nails in the last five days before our due date, I’m eating well, enjoying movies, hanging out with the neighbors, taking time to meet new arrivals.

In short: I’m living my life in Doha which I rarely get to do during the year when I’m working like a gerbil on her wheel, trying to get to the carrot.

It hasn’t all been easy, as the temperatures and dust have been climbing outside. But since Mom has jet lag, our naps are synchronized as well.

Yesterday my husband said: “Why doesn’t she watch T.V.?”

Because since arriving on Saturday, the sight of her sitting on the sofa with a 400+ page book is now familiar.

“This is the difference in how we grew up,” I said to him, “that’s why I love reading.” (Became a writer, work for a publishing house, went to graduate school in literature).

I told this story to my mom and it turned out she was actually intimidated by the three remotes it took to turn on the various functions of the TV, DVD player and cable! She prefers a mix of movies (catching up on the OCEANS series over the last two days while I’m in the slow process of waking up or at Arabic class) AND reading.

It’s the calm before the storm and she’s on vacation as much as I am.

We are creatures made for fellowship. We love to exist in community.

And I’m so glad that this one has found me at this moment.

Are there moments you have felt particularly connected to others? Celebrate them for what they are: glimpses of the divine.

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