Thursday, 25 December 2014
In a run of generosity my eyes only opened at half past five this morning instead of half past three, an extra two hours sleep really fills the energy bar up. Usually I'll use the quiet of the early morning hours to write or read but this morning as the sun was up I thought I'd get up and use the time to do my chores and a few secret things before the girls began to stir. I got off to a good start, hung out the washing emptied the dishwasher, sorted the rubbish bags and recycling for collection, made the Mauritian's breakfast and switch on the kettle for coffee. Then it all turned to custard!
With the rising of the offspring came the carnage! It was a silent attack at first, both trying to fit onto one beanbag to sit and look at the newly acquired fishes in a tank. With the growing rivalry came the whining which prompted mediation, separation and breakfast. Apparently it is not wise for the mediator to have a shower at these fragile times, on emerging clean and refreshed from the bathroom she encounter a fully-fledged sibling cat fight complete with hair pulling, kicking, pinching and biting not to mention screaming. Risking her very existence the mediator dives into the fray to separate the warring factions and demands an explanation for this horrid behaviour. The cause of the disagreement was an electronic device that they both wanted to use and neither wanted to share. The solution was to remove all electronic devices that could possibly cause conflict and they were advised to go outside and play in the warmth and brightness of the rarely seen World's end sunshine. The Peace agreement was signed and an uneasy truce began. The mediator, however remained on high alert, with guns handy in case threats had to be made to achieve peace. After a reasonable peaceful time the mediator relaxes her vigil slightly and steps into the kitchen for some refreshment, which was interrupted by an atomic explosion as the two factions again exploded into vehement disagreement.
Now completely at the end of my very short supply of tolerance I fairly exploded myself! "Enough!" I yelled as loud as only I can, freezing them both in the process of pinching each other. "If the two of you do not go outside and find something to do either together or alone I will cancel Christmas! You know I can because I have Santa's phone number! Do! Not! Push! Your! Luck!" Suitably chastised the Butterfly took the Lollipop's hand and lead her quietly outside to the trampoline, where she remains with her sketch book and pencils. The Lollipop has since made her way back inside and is sitting on her bedroom floor playing with her toy kitchen. I finally got to make myself that elusive mug of coffee, put my Melissa Etheridge Christmas album into the CD player and sat down to finish the last blog of 2014!
On reflection 2014 has been a mixed year with so many different emotions to look back to. We made a bad financial decision which wobbled us for a while but we managed to recover enough to breathe a sigh of relief. Only to be surprised with a request to vacate our home that took a chunk out of what savings we had managed to rescue. I had to stand by and watch helplessly as a good friend's ten year marriage dissolved into hatred and mudslinging, shared her sadness when she buried her mum and toasted happiness as she celebrated her sister's marriage.
I spent two amazing weeks surrounded by so many of my family as we gathered together to celebrate my baby brother and my Favourite Eeyore getting married. Reconnecting with Aunts, Uncles and Cousins can only be described as pure happiness as we managed in so short a time to create yet more forever memories. Being blessed with the chance to finally see my brother the Fireman after almost fifteen years, to reconnect with some of my nieces and nephew and see my Grandnephew again filled me to bursting point with so many emotions. You just want to bundle them all together and take them home with you just to preserve those feelings of pure joy. Yet while I floated on a cloud of happiness I also felt a deep sadness that my own children and husband where not with me to enjoy the ride. Saying goodbye is always hard, but having to say goodbye to so many people who have helped shape my entire life this time really did feel like my heart was breaking. Then I stepped through my front door and back to the familiar and I knew I was where I belonged and life was back to our kind of normal.
When we moved homes we lost some awesome neighbours but we gained some really good friends. Affectionately known as "Aunty E" and "Uncle Arry" (No his name is not Harry!) they have become an important part of our daily lives. I made a new friend, the Florist, who has sent my girls flowers just because, babysat on her day off and drank far too many glasses of wine with me. Except for the time we went to movies and had wine out of water bottles! We have spent the year simultaneously worrying about the health of and drinking to the health of a friend who has not had the nicest 2014. A distance has grown between us and friends who have been around almost from our first year here, though it saddens me a little I know our paths no longer run in the same direction and they will meet up again when time decides. We can now officially say that we have a friend who is a qualified acupuncturist and will begin recommending him as soon as his practise opens in the New Year. Both the Mauritian and I have been pouring over pictures of his niece born in June, what a beauty she is! The Mauritian is such a proud Uncle but that pride is always tinged with the sadness that it will be a long time before he meets her. The wondering couple of Africa2Anywhere have recently welcome the arrival of their little boy. This little guy brought their wonderings to a screeching halt but he has brought only happiness and smiles to everyone who knows him. I can't help wondering if his grandfather, our Master of Ceremonies, had a say in the timing of the littlest M.C's arrival. In January we will be welcoming yet another niece, as her big sister, Turn the Paige, waits with impatience for her real live doll. If she is anything like her cousin she is driving her mother nuts with a thousand questions about babies and where they come from and talking about all the stuff they are going to do when she arrives.
My children have grown in leaps and bounds and learnt new things with much enthusiasm as children do giving me many proud mommy moments. Our Butterfly join a Dance School and jiggled, swaggered and sang her way into her first real stage production on a real stage in a real theatre to an audience of at least one hundred. When she finally realised what was happening, about four hours before the actual show, she looked at me with wide eyes and said: "This is my dream come true mum, I always wanted to be on stage!" The best part was she was so happy she smiled so broadly throughout the performance and battled to sing. Again this year she sign up for cricket, she never missed a practice or a game despite being the slowest runner and the only girl on the team. Her bowling has improved so much that she even managed a wicket and she is beginning to understand the rules of the game enough to run between wickets with her bat grounded and way out in front of her. When I told her coach I was surprised she'd stuck it out as the only girl he said he didn't think she even realised that and in fact was the most encouraging member of the team and was quite good at keeping the team motivated and listening. How can I not feel good after hearing that? Finally after nearly eighteen months of hard work and saving pocket money she had collected enough to buy her fish so the Mauritian went researching. She now has a tropical fish tank with all the extras and now nine fish because the first lot died and the pet shop didn't have enough to replace all eleven. No matter we've made some new friends in the process and the Butterfly can again see the result of disciple and working towards a goal. Compared to her extraverted sister Lollipop is a little shyer and quieter in company, until she gets to know you then there is no stopping her. After a horribly disrupted start she eventually settled into Kindy and happily hops down the road to have a few hours of play with kids her own age. Her teachers often comment on how friendly she is and how well she interacts with the other kids, I'm always relieved to hear this because even though she is always eager to go to Kindy she always seems overwhelmed and unsure. Maybe she's just really good at making me feel bad. They are both so different: One likes to draw, dance and sing and craves the company of other people almost continually, the other likes to play pretend in her "kitchen" or with her dolls or create things with Playdoh and building blocks and is happiest with her own company. Yet they are both so alike with the same sense of humour, same levels of confidence and independence and the very same stubborn streak! They don't go a day without some sort of disagreement, yet neither do they go to bed without having had a good giggle together. The Butterfly adores her little sister and the Lollipop worships her big sister! When I see these two together and how well they fit together I realise that despite any outside negative forces all is right in my world.
After navigating through some really bad head space the first half of this year the Mauritian is more relaxed, confident and finally happy in his own skin. Watching somebody as extraverted as the Mauritian crawl inward and begin to self-destruct was painful. Trying to help someone who refused to help himself sapped me of the energy I needed to focus on my children and the balance our day to day lives so I stopped trying. Now I don't know if my stepping back and saying that I couldn't help any more was the catalyst or if he had already reach rock bottom and the only way he could go was up but soon after shades of his old self started to appear. It's good to have him back to his old self, there are still a few kinks that need straightening but those are issues that will only fix with time and patience.
Me I'm much the same, maybe a centimetre or so narrower thanks to the minimum four kilometres I had to walk getting kids to and from school through the cold, wind, rain, hail and sunshine since we moved in August. On reflection this year has been a good year, yes there were the regular ups and downs but nothing that a positive attitude, perseverance, a laugh or a bottle of wine couldn't fix. I think this year can be filed away as successful, we have moved up and forward, we have made new discoveries about the world and ourselves and taken it all in our stride. I believe when we sit down as a family, open our "Happy Box" and read over all the positive things we did each day over the past year we will realise what a good year 2014 has been. That is despite the fact that I also discovered menopause, perhaps one day I'll see the funny side!
In 2015 our Butterfly will no longer be a junior at school any more, year three will bring her more opportunities, new things to learn and more responsibilities. In 2015 Lollipop will be at Kindy for more days and for longer hours I hope she realises this and embraces it. The Mauritian has set some goals for 2015 that he seems determined to reach before its end. In 2015 we will have had our residency permits for World's End for five years and we will begin the process of applying for citizenship the final step away from the country of my birth. We always said that we would leave citizenship for a later date, it's not essential so there really is no rush. But five years later we both feel we need to take that final step because the truth is World's End is now our home, it is the place we will grow old together and watch our family grow. Africa is in my veins she will always be a part of who I am but she is not home any more. 2015 will present us with the challenges and curved balls that life likes to throw, but that's okay because I believe life gave us a trial run this past year and I think we did alright.
So as the earth comes full circle once again in her perpetual journey around the sun I wish you all a happy, blessed and merry Christmas. May your homes be filled with the sounds of happiness and your hearts be filled with joy! I hope you take the embers of 2014 and use them to set fire to 2015 and move forward into a bright new light with new begins, new opportunities and the strength to carry on despite the hardship.
Love, Light and Happiness
Friday, 7 November 2014
Recently on that all-consuming social website we all call FB a lot of people have been posting articles and blogs by "expat" South Africans and having their say. I find myself muttering at the screen that the author is either being a tad harsh or has no idea what they are talking about or my favourite line is that they moved for the wrong reasons. So as my youngest is curled up in her bed nursing a horrid bout of flu and the rest are at school and work, I figured in the quiet, I'd take the time to put my opinion as an expat out there in cyber space.
If I knew then what I know now I would've left when I finished school. I miss my family and the few friends that are left there but so many of my family and most of our closest friends left South Africa before us anyway so further distance between us makes little difference. I don't miss the food except maybe a decent rump steak now and then. I don't miss the weather expect perhaps during those few bone chilling wet mid-winter days. I don't miss the beaches, we spend more time on the beach here than we ever did back "home." I don't miss walks in the bush or picnics at the botanical gardens or the sight of the Drakensburg Mountains covered in snow. I walk the girls to school through a park dense with trees and bush and natural wildlife every day, who needs the botanical gardens when you can have a supper picnic in the sunshine. Every morning I wake up and I am greeted with the majestic sight of a snow covered sleeping giant. I don't miss the beauty that is Africa I appreciate it because I know first-hand in her harshness there is unsurpassed and unequivocal beauty. World's end has her own beauty, it is a much more subtle and gentle beauty but it surrounds you in comfort and makes you feel at home. I will admit to really missing a good heart stopping thunder storm, you know the one I mean, when even the ants stop moving in anticipation. That complete stillness as the light begins to change colour and the air becomes electric, when eyes turn to the sky and feet scurry for shelter just as that first flash of light tears through the blackest clouds. Then that clap of thunder that makes everyone's heart stop for just that moment and the instant relief when the first giant drops of water hit the ground. Then as quickly as it began so it is over, the sun is back and everything is shining with water and the dust has been washed from the air and Africa starts moving again. That I miss, there is nothing I have experienced that will ever come close to comparing with an African thunderstorm.
I don't miss living in South Africa and I don't miss our life in South Africa and I'm not talking about the crime rate or the government I'm talking about our day to day actual living life. There are as many reasons to stay as there are to leave you don't decide to pack up your family and home in your mid-thirties move to the other side of the world and start again without first considering all the pros and cons. Decisions like this have to be made with logic and intelligence and not with emotion, there is no point jumping on a plane and making a run for it at the first sign of danger. There is no point moving somewhere "safer" because the conspiracy theorist are predicting the country will implode. There is no benefit in leaving because all your expat friends and family say you should, what do they know they aren't living your life. A decision to leave your homeland is a very personal one and, I believe, no one else's business, what and why you decide to do what you do should not have to be explain or rationalised. But you do need to have something with which to answer those never ending questions, my answer is: "I needed a change!" I am always amazed at how people react to that statement, some change the subject out of sheer surprise while it becomes a very interesting discussion with others. Of course the cost of living, crime rate and horrendous rise in the cost and drop in standard of education where factors in our decision to leave but they were not the deciding factors. Those reasons run much deeper and personal and shall remain there. During the deciding the Mauritian approached his father for advice because he too had given up his life to move countries, his advice as always was crude by effective "Fuck everyone and what they think do what works for you!" then he picked up his glass of whiskey, finished it with one swallow and staggered off to pour himself another.
In my years working in foreign exchange I processed many transactions for people packing up their lives in South Africa and moving to "greener pastures." In those same years I must have reprocessed at least a third of that number as they packed up their lives overseas and went back to South Africa. Over time I began to realise that these people where the ones that where more than happy to tell you why they were leaving and then changed their minds when they realised how much they had to give up to leave for good. Leaving your home for another life is a decision for the head not the heart. The truth is when you decide to leave your home country you have to leave it behind completely. You cannot take the weather, the food, the space or your family and friends with you. You have to think, talk, shop and drive differently. You have to accept that you are different because you are no longer a local and therefore friendship will take longer to form because you have to find a common ground to start on. You have to accept that things are done differently from how they are done at home, they may never make sense to you but that's the way it's done so there is no point complaining. Moving life and love to another country is the biggest change you will ever make in your life! Not only are you making a physical change, but also a sensory change, everything you see, hear, smell, touch and taste will be different and to be successful you have to change mentally too, you have to decide to do everything differently and keep trying new things. Without that change of mentality your emotions will take over and rule you, too much emotion makes decision making harder and giving up easier.
Feelings of homesickness, sadness, depression and emptiness are real, something every expat feels to some degree from the moment the change becomes a reality. Feeling lost, useless, forgotten and unwelcome are a "rite of passage" for any expat, we have to navigate through the emotion with a mental compass and if our reason for leaving was the right one our emotions become manageable. We all want to go home to be with our loved ones or sink our teeth into a Wimpy burger or watch a mid-summer thunder storm unfold around us and know we can't. We all need mum's chicken soup or dad's advice, we all want to cuddle our nieces or wrestle our nephews, we all feel obligated to be home to watch a brother getting married or bury a grandmother. But the truth is that these are the sacrifices we chose to make when we chose to leave. The reality is that few expats can afford the air fares to go home to be with family every time there is a gathering, life for an expat is not cheaper or easier it is merely different, it is when we chose to accept and embrace the difference that we know we choose to leave for the right reasons.
People spend so much time judging others for staying, for leaving and for going back. There is so much out there in cyber space criticising others for the choices they have made and their reasons. Accusations fly and rubber fingers point and wag! What for? What purpose does it have except to rile people up and cause arguments? I do not agree with a lot of expats reasons for leaving South Africa or their sudden decision to go back because I think they have allowed their heart to rule their head. But I don't live their life so I have no right to voice my opinion, my way of thinking is not their way, they must walk their path. In much the same way I will not accept someone else's judgement of our decisions, I will fight you tooth and nail it's my life butt out.
There is no shame in wanting to leave your home and make a new life somewhere different. There is no shame in choosing to return home. There is no shame in staying. We may never agree with each other choices so let's drop the debate and just get on with our own lives leaving others to get on with theirs.
The sun grows dim in the African sky
The moon softly lights the African dark
Ah yes, those slow African days
Bleeding gently into warm African nights
The smell of the African grassland
The steady beat of the African drum
With a burdened core I bid you farewell
I have grown old in my African skin
Though the pulse of Africa
will forever beat in my soul
Though the African sun
will forever shine in my eyes
I long to dance in the cleansing
I long to breath the new air
of a fresh start
Samantha Braum Sep 2008
Friday, 10 October 2014
Yes I'm back, at last! I'm still trying to work out why I seem to have not had much time to "blog" recently. What's been happening? Well, the Lollipop started "Kindy" but you all knew that already. I can even say with some confidence that I made it through chicken pox with a minimum of fuss. Oh, we moved house too, under duress I might add, but now we are so happy we had to. The Butterfly missed two weeks of school having navigated through chicken pox, flu and a chest infection one after the other. I was amazed I made it till the end of those two weeks with what sanity I have still intact. Basically it's been life as usual with a few changes and yet no "blogging" time. Perhaps, if I am honest, it boils down to the fact that I haven't had the need to vent or share lately. Until today that is!
The end of September marked twenty five years the Mauritian and I have been together and on Friday we celebrated sixteen years of marriage. When so many of your friends and family are divorced or in and out of relationships it's difficult not to be proud of our "achievement." On reflection and with relief I have realised that we are not in an exclusive club, among so much destruction and heartache there are those among my friends and family who can boast the same achievements. So why do I bring this up, because I have an overwhelming urge to vent. Now, it is important that I qualify that this is a general vent! I'm am not focussing on any one person or couple I am merely voicing an opinion. I know that some relationships should never have happened and that others turn to poison and the only way to fix it was to get out but there are those out there who want the bed of roses without the thorns.
On Facebook recently there have been so many of those "words of wisdom" about how to love or have a successful relationship. You're subjected to those sickening sentimental stories of "loving with passion" or how you treat your partner if you love them. Now I admit sometimes I read something and agree with the sentiment but most times I find myself almost gagging from the over sweetness and gushiness of it all. I'm sorry but a relationship is not all sweetness and sentiment, relationships are real and only work if your expectations stay within the bounds of reality.
After twenty five years of being in a monogamous relationship, here is what I know to be real:
- "Love is not a feeling, it is an act of your will!" (Don Francisco) When all is said and done, the Mauritian and I would not be together now if we had not made a conscious decision to love each other unconditionally. Our "courtship" was never about romance and roses or moonlight walks on the beach. It was about learning about each other, learning how we expressed ourselves and from there how to communicate, learning our likes and dislikes and so learning how to compromise. We got to know each other and then chose to love each other. You never stop learning, you never stop growing and you never stop choosing to love.
- "…For a relationship to last always remember to give, give, give!" I have based my entire relationship on these words. The Mauritian and I had only recently started dating when one of my Aunts spent some time in Durban and consequently shared my room with me for that time. (I wonder if she remembers.) When she left for home I was at school but I came home to a thank-you gift and a note with the best relationship advice. When we chose to "give" all of ourselves to our relationship, to give truthfully and completely, when we focus on our partner's happiness we grow closer and our love strengthens.
- "…stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow." (Khalil Gibran's The Prophet) I know no other way to be in a relationship because this is the relationship my parents have. Never be anything but who you are, do what interests you, have your own hobbies, your own circle of friends, be independent to your partner. My parents have very different personalities, the Mauritian and I couldn't be more unlike if we tried. Yet our relationships work because you have to accept that your partner is not you, they don't think like you act like you or even at worst agree with you. Accept your difference, embrace your differences and allow each other to live completely different lives. Then when the day is done, in that silence before sleep you will have something to share that puts a twist into the "rat race" we call life. But, more importantly, it makes those moments when you do, think or speak as one more memorable and so much more important. When you are true to yourselves in a relationship the unity you share is what others remember.
- "…When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God…." (Khalil Gibran's The Prophet) I learnt this lesson from my mother-in-law, she loved her husband because she truly put all her faith in God's love for her. For those less religious among you let me put it in more cynical terms: I often said that my mother-in-law should be canonised because she willingly and knowingly married and stayed with my father-in-law regardless of how much of a prick (sorry mum) he could be. The truth is, she chose to love him unconditionally and she trusted in her faith to give her strength in hardship and she meant every word of her wedding vows and lived them every day. Through the years I have also learnt that despite his roughness and really bad attitude, my father-in-law's love for his wife came from a place of pure passion, she really was the "be all and end all" of his life. When you make a promise it only works if you really mean it and you make an effort every moment to fulfil your vow no matter the circumstances. But we cannot do it alone, faith is necessary. For the Mauritian and me it is our faith and belief that we were joined by God that keeps us choosing to love each other. For you it may be your faith in yourself or the promise of your partner or even in fate or karma, whatever you name it there is a higher power guiding you. Trust in it!
You see I do not believe that a relationship survives on sentiment and romance. The infatuations and "butterfly" moments of our youth, though memorable and heart-warming, never last because they are not real. For those feelings to last in the reality and monotony of life you have to choose to fall in love every morning with the person lying next to you and to love them more because yesterday you learnt something new about them.
Tonight I learnt that my Mauritian would willingly sacrifice the comfort of his bed to sleep on the floor in his daughters' room because they asked him to and now they have a memory they will always share. Today I learnt how proud he was of how long we've been together because his colleague's at work complained about how many times he's told them about it. No matter how many years pass he never ceases to surprise me.
So join us as we raise a glass to sixteen years of marriage, whether you agree with me or not, you have to admit we're doing pretty well!
To those of you still searching, believe!
Monday, 23 June 2014
Thursday morning was continuing along its regular routine when out of the blue the telephone rang heralding in an exciting yet saddening change to our weekly routines. Our Lollipop is officially starting her school career with her first three hour afternoon at preschool. I am bracing myself for a myriad of conflicting and confusing emotions because even though our Lollipop is ready for "school" the prospect of leaving my "baby" girl in the company of untamed smelly masses of small people controlled by just a few strangers is daunting.
We have spent the last four days talking happily and excitedly to the Lollipop about "Kindy" and all she has to look forward to. The Butterfly has been fabulous, having been at the same "Kindy" she has first-hand knowledge of what goes on there, coupled with some good memories her excitement for her sister is genuine. The Mauritian and I have been making all the right noises about how much fun she'll have and all the friends she'll make, we even took her up the hill to show her where she will be going. We "Skyped" her Grandparents so she could tell them the news and also made her tell everyone we crossed paths with over the weekend. So the Lollipop is nothing if not prepared for her walk up the hill and her three hours away from her home, Mum and routine. The Lollipop's sister is very excited for her, so much so that this morning without prompting she tiptoed about the house and whispered that we need to be quiet so her sister can get to sleep in because she has a big day today. The Mauritian has been mercifully distracted from the impending excitement and emotional uncertainty by the need to be at work on time. Which leaves me and my confusion!
Lollipop is ready for "Kindy" she needs the stimulation, I am no longer able to keep up with her growing brains need for continuous stimulation leaving her bored and often up to a level of mischief that has me reeling in disbelief. She needs to learn to socialise and to interact with other "grown-ups" without the use of her mother's legs to hide behind or shoulder in which to bury her face. There is much she needs to learn that she won't learn at home. I am looking so forward to the few hours when the silence means alone time and not that something illegal is afoot. She needs room to grow and I need to get away with only having to make the beds once a day. But sending her off to "Kindy" means she's no longer my baby girl that she will no longer need her Mum as much, her toddlerhood is over and her childhood begins. No matter how necessary it is, no matter how inevitable it becomes letting go is immeasurably difficult and so foolishly heart breaking. I know intellectually that everything is moving along correctly and at the right pace, Lollipop is growing and learning as she should and "Kindy" is the next correct step in the right direction. But emotionally she is growing up to fast, learning too quickly and leaving me and my silliness behind, I don't blame her I am a mess of sentiment and emotion.
For the past four days I have been like a pendulum, swinging from excitement through practicality to emotional distress! A real soap operatic drama queen in the flesh! Man it is frustrating, really wish I could pick a state of mind and stick with it. There I was jumping about with Oscar winning excitement and anticipation, trying desperately to infect a Lollipop with an excitement I wasn't sure I actually felt. Then there was the sudden realisation that the backpack needed a dusting and packed with a change of outfit or two. Back we swing to excitement as the Lollipop assists with the cleaning and packing, then the contemplation about how to co-ordinate being at home for when the Butterfly arrives home from school and leaving on time to collect a Lollipop from "Kindy." Then I'm sitting on the passage floor all sad and down thinking how quickly she has grown up as she models her backpack up and down! Then all is excitement again when the Butterfly arrives home to hear the news and reacts with the perfect balance of excitement and coolness, perhaps I should take lessons. Then off into the practical as the Butterfly and I discuss how we are going to co-ordinate the after school arrangements only to plummet to the depths of despair when the Mauritian comes home and asks how I'm going to cope if she starts screaming and doesn't want to stay. That was just Thursday, the next three days it was much the same thing!
Monday dawned and I was grateful for the distraction of the routine of weekday mornings and the intense cold that greeted us with the alarm. It's amazing how quickly those distractions get used up in times of need and drama! The Mauritian left home with no thought of the impending emotional drama about to unfold, the Butterfly tiptoed around the house so as not to wake her "Kindy" going sister and blowing her a kiss for luck before she too left to begin her day. Leaving me with no laundry to sort or dishes to wash and hours to go before our very first walk up the hill and the uncertainty of how either of us will react to this new chapter in a Lollipop's life.
With all chores completed and the Lollipop wanting nothing to do with this insanely clingy maternal parent, I realised that I had to find some kind of intellectual distraction or the hours before the start of "Kindy" were going to pass by like nails across a chalk board. What better way to distract myself then to write, but my muse was hidden under a mountain of blankets refusing to emerge into the winter cold. So I resorted to making a list of things I can do for the two hours I am childless, which was just as well because I suddenly realised how much there was to organise for the Butterfly's birthday in five days. But that's a whole other dramatically emotional blog all by itself.
So it was that the frigid cold Monday morning warmed in to a sunny blue skied winter afternoon when I was able to say to the Lollipop "Let's go!" and we headed up the hill to begin her new adventure. Of course by the time we had gotten to the school I had worked myself up all over again, concerned that despite all the "preparation" we had done, she would scream and not want to stay. I know I could not handle that! I want her to be as easy as the Butterfly was but I know she won't be. I'm convinced she'll be shy and clingy and difficult, I'll want to leave but want to stay and the whole thing will be a disaster. I really am such a drama queen! Reality is never quite as dramatic as ones imagination, and even though she was gripping my hand very tightly the Lollipop walked into the school with confidence and greeted the head teacher with a smile and a very quiet "Hello!" Most of the teachers from the Butterfly's time have left there now except for one who greeted Lollipop like a long lost friend which sent Lollipop behind my legs and my anxiety levels soring. But then she spotted the "play dough" table and all resistance crumbled. Leaving her there the introductions were finished and any questions were asked and answered, with that done it was time for me to leave. I found her exploring the painting area looking, to me, a little dazed and confused. Time to suck it up and get out of there so I told her I was going to which she said a cheerful goodbye with the obligatory kiss and hug cut short by the fact that she's found the way outside to the swings. As I passed by the fence on my way to town I crossed the street and looked the other way, seeing her then whether she seemed happy or not would not have been a good idea.
So, apart from spending time while shopping alone, looking for a child that wasn't there and almost forgetting to collect said child from Kindy, this mother has successfully moved into a new phase of motherhood with a minimum of emotion and drama.