Monday, June 24, 2013

Having calmed down a little ....

Sometimes it's just a bad day. We all have them. And maybe venting here last week was a bit like having an online tantrum. Neither grown-up nor dignified. And certainly not good manners. Sorry everyone. 

To those of you who have been so lovely with comments and thoughts along the way in this past year and a bit, you deserve so much more .... 

Yes it got a bit much last week. And yes, i have been thinking for a while that i'd like to change things up a bit but i'm not sure how or what exactly. What form that will take. That hammock and the drinking tea sound just about perfect for some downtime reflecting and it's summer here and time for beaches and spending time with the monkeys (my human varieties, of which there are two). So a little time out seems like a good idea. But then i said that and here i am so who knows what will happen.

We have two more nights in our house. We have rented here for 6.5 years. It is the longest time i have lived anywhere since i left home when i was 17, to move a long way away to go to university. I have always moved after that. Back home for a few years and then overseas. A lot of moving in England - in London, then to Kent then Surrey then Hampshire. A lot of homes and goodbyes along the way. The gathering stone always, me, and i loved it that way.

This move marks the beginning of a new chapter for me and i think that's partly what's been unsettling me. It means we are staying here - for a while at least. That we are willing to put down roots and try to grow our children and ourselves in one place. And i am worried about all the things i want that one place to be. I have high expectations in spite of telling myself not to. I am worried that moving away will be hard on my friendships and they mean the world to me, especially here where family are so far away.

For those of you who asked, we are moving about half an hour north of where we live now ... still in Westchester county, directly above Manhattan, but to a new town a little further up - near Katonah on the map. There are lakes and farms and it's definitely more green and rural and it's beautiful. There are no shops a few minutes away, no starbucks on every corner. No big malls and it's definitely quieter and less built up. But we are hoping to find new treasures there. To stretch our legs and go on new adventures. I am hoping Hayden climbs trees and feels free in the woods behind the house. I am hoping there are kids in the neighbourhood for him to make friends with. I am hoping that the space and the green will be good for his soul, and for Lexi's. That maybe we can get a dog. And a big orange cat for Lexi. Her exact words when she asked for one. Garfield sprang to mind.

I am excited to be able to paint walls again. To leave behind the floral carpet upstairs and the pink bathroom and old kitchen. It's a brand new chapter and it's not that far away at all - i keep telling myself that, like a mantra.

In South Africa we thought nothing of driving half an hour to visit friends, and in England it was like that most of the time - even further. So i am hopeful and a little excited, mixed in with the sadness of leaving and moving on. New beginnings mean some endings too. And that's just part of the process.

So sorry for tantrums and venting a little too much ... although i strive for honesty that's not what this space was meant for. It's meant to hold a space for being true and from the heart, but not angry and pessimistic. Never that.

Here's to new chapters, whatever they may hold. To new beginnings, new paint colours and new paths, wherever they may lead.

Thank you. 

Wishing you a wonderful summer in the north, and a quick winter in the south !


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Today ...

Today was one of those days. In fact i wanted to start this post off by saying that's it folks .. sayonara (however that's spelt). And yes. I could google it. But i don't want to. Goodbye and thanks for the fish, as the 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' said it so well.I wanted to say that i think i'm done - at the end of my proverbial tether and that blogging is really just not working for me anymore and i am ready to give it up and disappear into the woods to which i am moving.

A day which held three tantrums. One of them so big that people came out of stores to watch me dragging my four year old daughter down the road after she slapped me across the face and knocked my glasses to the ground. Not my happiest mothering moment. Moments like that, and there were many today, where i wonder why i'm doing this. Thinking that being a stay-at-home mom is way overrated and that it's time i went back to work. That they'd be so much better off with someone who doesn't get emotional, who sets clear boundaries and is nicely consistent. Who speaks in a calm voice and doesn't get rattled. Who doesn't have a whole list of things to get done during the day, and who's only focus would be on them. I could leave the house at 7.00 and come back after bedtime and the week would pass in a blur and on weekends i could be more focused and maybe a little more patient and loving. The kind of mom i always wanted to be. Instead of the shrieking tired person i seem to have become. Way low on the patience front. Not smiling that much anymore.

There was a mother in the line behind me at Lego Discovery Land today. Her two year old was trying to run through the line holding us in place, where we were waiting for a ride to finish so we could have our turn. He was testing her, seeing how far he could go. Holding onto the rope, looking up at her. Trying to stand under it, but still in the right place. And then he snuck right under and started walking to where the ride was in progress, not a safe place to be. My voice would have gone up. Long before he walked under the rope. I might even have yelled, concerned for his safety and angry at being ignored. If he were mine that is. But his mother stayed calm, her voice a complete neutral. Come back Thomas. If you don't stay with Mommy you may not go on the ride. Come back. That's a good boy. 

I feel like i let myself down today, and the kids. I'm feeling a little tired and jaded and uninspired is a word that's been floating around for too long in my head. I'm tired of the perfect lives i find online, the well decorated houses and the happy families with perfect smiling kids who go on wonderful day trips and never have food stains on their clothes. Tired of everyone else's perfect careers and ability to multi task and endlessly juggle. Tired of beautiful trips and travel photos and all the wonderful things they are doing. Tired of feeling homesick and not knowing when i'll be back - on so many levels. I know it's partly because i'm working on finishing Lexi's memory book from last year so that all the bits and pieces of paper are not lost in the move, and there are photos of home and family and a beautiful wedding we went back for. But it's more than that - it's always there, for me - that sense of loss, of something missing. How badly today when i lost my temper and felt like sitting in my car to cry, how badly i would have liked to call up my mom to say can you take them for a little bit, i'm feeling so cross and they are so tired and it's a tough time for all of us right now - they just need someone to lavish them with time and hugs and to listen to what they are saying instead of being distracted and turning the tv on for them. Like i have been. And can i come for coffee too actually ? 

But there are oceans and oceans and i haven't mastered the art of teleportation yet, much as i have tried.

So that's how it goes ... and maybe this isn't the place to be venting but i'm not feeling patient with perfect tonight.

Maybe it's time for something else - i feel as if everyone on the planet has a blog. Almost everyone. OK, i know - slight exaggeration. But still. It's just like churning out the same as everyone else and i'm not so happy with any of it at the moment. Not sure what's next. Not sure what to change it to. But something different methinks. There's really no point when it's feeling flat and when i'm boring even myself to tears !

So that break i was talking about ... for moving (7 sleeps!) ... i'm taking some time away from this blog and from the online community i am following. Time to settle into a new home and a new community around me. Time to paint walls and figure out what's next in my chapter. Maybe it's time to go back to work. Maybe there are things i need to finish first. I'm just not sure. And this sense of dissatisfaction has been around for too long. I don't want this to be the place that i come to to moan and lament. That was never the point.

Maybe there will be something new on the horizon or maybe i just need to sit in my hammock and stare at the soon-to-be-my trees and drink tea. And think. In between painting walls and the inevitable yelling at kids. Can a leopard change it's spots ? I'll get back to you on that. Maybe.

So dear hearts - thank you for reading ... for all the lovely comments and support along the way. This journey is ending but maybe a new one will begin. I shall wait and see.

Deep breaths. Deep breaths.


Monday, June 10, 2013

On this and that and last minute trips to Toronto ...

In my head i have an ideal image of how mothers should be. Calm, kind, soft spoken, strong in a quiet way - gliding along, unruffled in the face of tantrums and sticky fingers on white skirts. Perfect calm and love. Radiating.

I have yet to achieve that perfect state and after 8.5 years of parenting I am realizing (only now you ask) that it's probably completely unattainable for me, and also just unrealistic.

We are moving in two weeks and although I like to think of myself as pretty laid back and relaxed, able to multi task and juggle a hundred balls without getting flustered, the truth is that i do. Get flustered. A lot. Of course I do. By the end of last week I was losing my temper too many times over silly things, and feeling really emotional and spent. The boxes are piling up but the house is still full and i ask myself what on earth we need all these things for when really our necessities would be a bed, some towels and clothes, a few books and toys, a glass bottle for some flowers, dishes and a mattress to sleep on. The 50 odd boxes in my basement tell me that we are way too overloaded with THINGS and the weight of them is sitting heavy on my shoulders.

On Friday I sent Hayden to school with a frozen bagel, hoping it would have reached room temperature by lunch time. Not my proudest mama moment. I felt like i was snapping and shouting at absolutely everything, wanting both my kids to be quiet and invisible so i could get on with what I needed to do. Totally reasonable. Not.

It was definitely time to take a break from the packing and the emails and thoughts about the move. Luckily the universe must have known I would be at the end of my tether by now, a little frayed at the edges and not feeling very patient or productive, and I was able to fly away on a quick weekend break to Toronto, to visit one of my oldest and dearest friends and to see her husband and their gorgeous baby boy. Six months old already and I am so glad i got to finally meet him. It was just one night but somewhere over the clouds, or in the pages of the book i was reading, the tension slowly ran out and into the ether and I was able to switch off. Having coffees and catching up. A wonderful dinner of the best Chicken Korma ever (yes really) in a tiny restaurant on the high street - my absolute favourite Indian meal. Walking the high street and browsing shops, not thinking of houses or moves or having to hand out snacks or stop a squabble. Feeling the weight of a six month old baby in my arms again, remembering all the little things about that age that i had forgotten ... it's been a while since there was a baby around here.

Thanks for a lovely weekend guys, it was just what i needed. 

This is the book i read on my way - Isabel Allende is one of my all time favourites and Maya's notebook does not disappoint. I almost finished it over the weekend, that's how hungry I was for a good story. Just a few more pages to go ... maybe the boxes can wait just a little bit longer ....

Now i am back home and hopefully a little calmer and a little less fraught as the real push to finish packing and getting us moved begins. Lexi has finished preschool and Hayden is almost done ... it's the time of endings and new beginnings for us and a busy few weeks ahead.

I'll be taking a little break from blogging for a while but will be back from the new house in a few weeks time.

Till then ....