Marking time: paper chain count-down

by Alissa

I love a paper chain. It’s a very light burden that shrinks by the day. Supposedly we made this one to help our two-year-old wrap her eager mind around the length of time between leaving Waterloo and arriving in Oz. Really, it’s for me.

Every day we tear off one more loop and get one day closer to arriving. It’s getting shorter, and I can feel it. Only 38 days to departure/40 to arrival in Newcastle. (Yes, we will mysteriously lose two days in transit over the Pacific).

Sometimes, when I get too excited talking about being together with Ace in our new home, Octavia will shout, “Let’s go now!” But never when we have the length of chain in front of us. A month into tearing off loops, she seems to grasp that we still have quite a bit of waiting to do.


Here it is a month ago, crisp and fresh and full-length, back in Waterloo on our dining table, which is, we hope, somewhere past Hawaii on an ocean freighter right now. We made this chain from some purpose-drawn art by O, scissors and tape. It’s gotten a bit wrinkled and water stained in the past month, but installed it in a blueberry carton protective cage last week after some light repairs. Paper chain time has become a nice little ritual to add some regularity to the many places and stages of this journey.