You know things have been bad when the baby wakes up at 4am and your first thought is, “WOW! The baby is finally sleeping through the night!” I’ll take my six hours and be very thankful for them. (Emma has been smiling at me for the past hour, so I don’t think we’re going back to sleep.)
We went by the Embassy yesterday and picked up Emma’s passport and Wes’ renewed passport. They gave us another document that will act as Emma’s birth certificate in the US, so my worries about just having an all-Japanese one were unfounded. This was great news. When we got home, we had a note in the mail from the immigration office. I’ll spare you the long, endlessley frustrating story about the immigration office — no need to thank me — which we visited a month ago. We’re not sure what the note says (Japanese illiteracy, you know), but we think Emma’s visa is ready. Now that we have a passport, we can get the visa, and Emma? Emma is free to leave and re-enter Japan as many times as she wants to!
The girls and I walked to the grocery store the other day, which was my first opportunity to use the double stroller. Just as I suspected, the stroller is actually longer than most Japanese cars. But it handles wonderfully, and the girls seemed to enjoy it just fine. Ana especially enjoyed being in front and being able to greet people as we passed by. She received the normal “kawaii!” responses, but what I really appreciated were the additional reactions to Emma. Japanese women don’t take newborns out and about this early (I wonder how they can avoid it, since my life has only gotten busier with each birth), so she was getting a lot of looks and her own “kawaii”s. I think she’s going to have the same eyes as Ana. Maybe not as light in color but just as big. Sometimes I think she looks just like Ana did at this age, but then I look at the pictures and see so many differences. It’s kind of sad that in a lot of ways, I’ve forgotten what Ana looked like. I guess that’s normal, getting used to the changes they go through so quickly and never remembering that they looked any different. No matter since they’ve both been BEAUTIFUL every step of the way! Even when they looked like little grouchy old men!
Things are going well at the church. When I look back at the past year, it’s really amazing how much has changed for the better. Wes has done and continues to do a great job. I’m saying that as a member of the church, not just as his adoring wife. I think it’s been a challenge, learning how to lead and shepherd when the church belongs to Christ and the people who make up the membership. Being an employee, the leader, and a part of the whole all at the same time makes for some confusion and gray areas as to what exactly you can, should, and need to be doing to help move the church forward in growth. (Even saying that he’s an employee feels very “unspiritual,” since the church isn’t like other organizations, but… he IS an employee. See how it’s a strange situation?) I don’t know that they ever taught us in seminary how to wear all of the hats at once or how to know what exactly to do as you lead people as a professional in your field and follow and learn from Christ all at the same time, since you’re never a “professional” in your role as a disciple. I don’t know that they could have taught us that. Anyway, all this to say (and I did take the long way around in saying it, didn’t I?), Wes is doing a great job. I don’t know that he gets a whole lot of kudos from anyone, probably because no one has ever stopped to think about what it must be like to be in his shoes. He doesn’t get angry calls or death threats (some pastors do!), so I guess that’s an affirmation in and of itself, huh? We love our church and have learned a lot this year. Yes! It’s almost been a year! Can you believe how quickly it’s flown by?
And the sun is coming up over the Pacific Ocean as I write this. I can see it out the window. Guess there’s one or two advantages to being up this early. Emma, of course, is now settling in for a nap. Think I might join her for an hour or two before Ana wakes up…