Last week was a wobble of a week. I’ll try and explain why, without sounding ungrateful or using too many words, (a regular paranoia that goes alongside writing this blog- along with grammar and spelling fears, I know I overuse the comma, for example,,,,,).
Some of our cargo arrived, the rest is coming by sea in the merry month of (mid) May. I couldn’t remember what we’d packed in the UAF (Unaccompanied Air Freight) perhaps my dignity and patience were packed and travelling separately from me, my ability to be succinct in the row behind). The cases arrive during our dog-sitting ventures (see previous post) and when we return to Chateau de Bangkok, 5 cases are standing to attention, ready for inspection. I have a root while James is at work, which is fun at first. I find more kids books, wellies, coat-hangers (was I high when I packed these?) socks, towels, nappies, and more random objects. Encouraged and intrigued by these treasures I move on to case 2. Our parting gift from friends, protected by a pillow with a little round blood stain on (really Natalie?) lies waiting for my emotional reaction shouting ‘Surprise!’ I see the room full of our friends faces at our parting soirée, how suddenly everyone was in the living room with Prosecco in hand, and I want to hide. I remember I looked at James and said “oh friggin hell, they’re gonna make me cry now, can I just go?”. The gift, my trigger, is a photo of Abe and Patti’s little mates, taken by a close friend. It is framed beautifully and signed by our best pals, with moving messages inscribed. I quickly flap the lid of the case shut, it feels like I’m fleeing from my surprise party. Then I spot a bottle green cardigan hand-knitted by my mum for Patti, uh oh, sinking feeling, wave of grief, water entering eye area, hand up to cover mouth – drown the sob, but it’s too late, I’m spotted by Eagle Eye Patti who saunters over, stares up at my face quizzically and starts patting my arm with her tiny soft and sticky toddler fingers, “s’ok mamma”. The floodgates open.
When I feel low or sad, or I’m just having a full moon kind of a day, I usually a) phone a friend, b) drive to my folk’s, c) booze. None of the above are an option due to time zones, lack of credit, being sole parent while James is in Burma. I decide to go with the emotion and have a day of crying. I handover parental care to youtube and the DVD player. I text James, fearful of burdening him on what is a ‘big day’ in the world of cultural relations. He responds quickly to tell me I’m amazing and it’s all part of the settling in process. It’s not enough, the crying continues, I spend the day in a fog of misery, taking hugs from the kids as and when they’re offered. Like eager to please cats bringing me tortured birds I receive toy dogs, slobbery kisses and gentle caresses followed by demands to provide sweets and chocolate, ‘have you got any crisps, mamma?’ I think this ‘mamma’ thing is a result of my failure to police youtube, and Patti finding Spanish versions of cbeebies shows, ‘Makka Pakka adora su uff uff’ and other shows. It could be worse, much worse, but internet worries for another day.
I delve into my misery, I prod my emotional ulcers and wait for the pain and the next sob. It’s self-indulgent, it’s also irritating me but I can’t stop. I think of my friends who’ve lost their mums, the sadness they feel in waves for always, and I feel their heartbreak and cry some more, all the while feeling guilty for sinking further, guilty that my mum’s still around, is visiting next month, and although we’ll fall out after day 3, how we love each other and have each other to comfort, nag and argue with. When the crying ends I’m spaced out and blotchy.
I get some Skype fixes, Whatsapp exchanges, succinct tweets (not my forte, though I’d love to haiku them), detailed emails, from my (so solid) crew, the people that fuel me, encourage me and help make this decision the right one with their kind words. I’m trying every possible communication process, other than having my own tv show, but give me time…
I don’t know if I’ve experienced ‘home sickness’ before, I probably did when I went to university but used the same aids as everyone else to numb the sadness. I’ve felt very sad before, like pit of your stomach sad, from break ups, friendship losses, deaths. It’s consuming and the lump sits in my throat like a roast potato I haven’t chewed enough, choking. I think the worry that I’ve removed the kids from their grandparents, their mates, their school/ play group, their people, is my main woe. I have to remind myself all the time that I’m doing this for the kids, and for us as a family, and for the adventures. Home for the kids is where WE are, wherever James and I administer our love in bucket loads, how we reassure them and comfort them. It’s worth noting they haven’t cried once for missing home, so something must be working, right?