The last three months on the road with The Return Voyage have been snugly scheduled with just a bit of breathing room. Our schedule page tells the story. We've just returned from our spin through the southeastern states; we're back at our base camp here in the northern Shenandoah Valley. We are now doing something that 'Iokepa and I very seldom do - we are waiting. We do not wait, because indigenous Hawaiians did not wait. Like all tribal peoples, they lived every moment - no, every breath - with absolute awareness that it might be their last. There was only today, this breath. Everything else was illusory; everything future was unknowable. To expect, to wait, was to refuse to live this breath fully.
So 'Iokepa and I, attempting to live in the fullness of the ancestors' wisdom, are loathe to anticipate what comes next.
And yet. Look at our schedule page. After the Florida, Atlanta, and Asheville swing, there is a three-week space. It says: "Baltimore, Maryland, Inette and ‘Iokepa’s Grandchild forthcoming around March 4."
Today, my daughter-in-law, Elizabeth, is one week from her due date. In truth, nine-month-pregnant women wait. Sometimes they will take long walks or hot baths to end the waiting. Sometimes they are scrubbing floors, washing walls, assembling cribs, and nesting. Sometimes they feel like they're on a train that they cannot get off of. There is little they can do for all their doing but wait on some life-changing event that they cannot hurry nor delay.
And so, in this three-week emptiness on our schedule page - 'Iokepa and I wait. We wait with a full tank of gas in the car and overnight bags packed, for the call that will send us on a two-hour and fifteen minute drive to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore to welcome our grandchild.
This child will be my first biological grandchild. I have spent these months shocked that I am reliving my own pregnancies - now thirty years past. I cannot fail to notice and engage every pregnant woman and every infant from Seattle to New York City along our book tour. But like my one-week-shy of full-term daughter in law, there really is no way to adequately fill my days so as to override the inevitable.