Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Glimpse

I don't think you have any idea, you 8 dedicated readers out there, how much I've been thinking about you, wondering if I decided to just quit this whole blogging thing, what difference would it really make... And then I remembered that as much as I blog for the responses I get from you, (all two of them!) I blog because if not, I will launch myself off that proverbial cliff that I cling to every day.

It's been a hectic couple of weeks with the tribe at home, shitty weather that would make France ashamed of itself, and craziest of all, my homeless in-laws being with us. Imagine: you've just turned 85, sold your house, and now are stuck squatting at your kids' places until you can find a house you like in a depressed property market. Yup, it's a complete 180° to the normal "parents-have-house/poor-adult-child-moves-back-in" thing. But here, I think we win because these two so want their own place again that everyone sees a light at the end of the tunnel, unlike some of my other friends who's kids are BACK and seem to really like sharing the same toothpaste with Dad once again. 

And yet even though they are lovely, the kids are lovely, The Man is lovely, I'm mentally a mess. I'm having this little problem of keeping my thoughts too much in the past. I'm dwelling on this time last year and I know it's because our plans for the future are stalled and until something gives, moves, or changes for The Man & I, I can not get out of this rut. Until our new plans can really kick in, I'm remembering all the crap that tried to swallow me in the years behind us. You have no idea how much I want one of those red blinking light things they have in The Men in Black films.

Bless my Man for trying to keep me sane... but there are times when all he can do is hug me and wonder why on earth we have to live through so much 'after the fact' bullshit from time to time...

Someone asked me how I was the other day and the honest answer is, I don't know. I think I'm ok but there are moments when I can't sleep that I wonder what the hell this is all for. There are moments when the kids are driving me bat-shit crazy that I wonder why, why, why.... There are moments when I try to explain myself to someone in French that I just want to lay down, curl up in a ball, and wish I was miles away in English. 

One of my longest connections here left the other day and it's hit me hard. I didn't hang with her like I did with Miss Tennessee 1975 but BVJC was always, always there for me. She got me to know the other lost Anglo-souls, she explained where to find whatever it was I needed, she knew how to get around the French system, and it was her who I called when the shit hit the fan last September, giving me excellent advice in one of those tiny cafes in town while we sipped lukewarm coffee...  

I couldn't say good-bye to her the last time I saw her and now, she's on other side of the pond. This woman who lived the crazy bilingual world I know has left the building and I'm still standing here with my Bic lighter raised above my head, damp from slam dancing in the mosh pit. 

It's a turbulent time. 

I need some sun, some good news, and something to give.

I'm ready. We're ready. And any time about right now would be just fine.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Next Time, I'll Just Wait

We took the tribe to the pool yesterday and had a whale of a time splashing around and causing much needed mayhem.

Turns out, Rosie is as much of a fish as her sister and inherited that lovely way of yelling at all and sundry to leave her alone while she floats all by herself in the middle of the pool with her armbands on. We should have named her Bob.

MH and The Princess have gotten to be stronger swimmers and it's a blast to watch them dive off the side of the pool and then surface with the most amazing goggle grins on their faces. Bubba isn't quite yet there but he doesn't care. Splashing around in the baby pool works just fine for him, thank-you-very-much.

After we were done, we all scurried into a big cubicle together to get changed. Suits off, shirts on, towels on the floor, socks into puddles, pants damp,  just a big jumbled wet happy mess. Finally, when everyone else was about dressed, I started to get my own suit off and throw on my clothes.

"WOW. Look at all of mommy's muscles on her tummy!" MH shouted.

And so they did.

The Man started smirking and with that big shit eating grin I love so much on his face, just started laughing.

I shot him the death stare, which obviously isn't as good as I'd like it to be, and calmly replied to MH,

"No, sweetie, those aren't muscle marks. Those are stretch marks from having babies."

Cue curious silence.

Cue three angelic voices, echoing loudly in a family cubicle at the public pool:


Saturday, July 9, 2011

It's The Man Holding My Hand Now

Last night, The Man & I had our last appointment with our therapist.  It was really strange finishing our appointment, shaking hands and saying, "goodbye." 

How does one say goodbye to someone who now knows more about The Man & I than most people on the planet? Goodbye to someone who let me cry in her office over things that happened over 20 years ago? Goodbye to someone who never judged us and never let us forget that when there is love, there is hope? There were moments these last 9 months when I wanted to adopt her.

I had been very afraid to go to counselling. No because I'm afraid of therapists, but because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to really express myself in French. I know that on a daily basis I often miss the subtleties of what happens in this language I'm living in and I was so scared that I wouldn't be able to really get to the heart of what was happening in mine. 

I shouldn't have worried. Pain & suffering translate. And when people are in a crisis, the message gets across a hell of a lot easier than we expect. 

She guided us well through our own path of discovery. She let us vent, let us ponder, let us forgive without ever judging either one of us for our humanness. And not once did she laugh at my accent. I don't know how to thank her for that, thank her for letting us remember who we are & who we want to be. She held our hands lightly, guiding us to ourselves and that's wonderful in any language.

Au revoir, Madame. Je vous remercie, du fond de mon coeur.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Most Days

Rosie wakes at 6:30 and immediately demands a bottle of chocolate milk. She plomps herself down on the Nutella smeared couch (the reason why I haven't washed it) and with her finger points at the TV until The Man or I find her the daily music video show. Yes, she's a big fan of Shakira's Rabiosa and M Pokora. I fall into a lump next to her and drink a gallon of coffee.

By 9:15, Rosie has discovered a pen or permanent marker and painted herself in the most amazing rainbow colours. This is, of course, only after she has used hair gel as skin cream, emptied the desk drawers, and thrown all of the doudous off of The Princess' bed and into the bath tub. I make a fresh pot of coffee.

Around about 11:40, I am finally able to persuade the large tribe members to get dressed. Sort of. I find them a half hour later, hiding amongst the very recently sterilized Legos in a mish-mash of pyjama & bathing suits.

At 12:30, I dream of a Domino's being built THAT VERY INSTANT in the village but in reality, I fight with everyone to eat something that resembles a vegetable. Well, all except The Princess who has made her own salad with exactly one carrot, two pieces of lettuce, and four cherry tomatoes. I make another pot of coffee.

The afternoon is a haze marked only by the beautiful stillness around us as Rosie sleeps. When she's up again, all bets are off. It's laundry time, dog poop time, refereeing the boys, hoping no one drowns in the lovely new Intex pool we bought again this summer, and yet another pot of coffee.

By 5pm, I'm finding excuses to open the fridge and just gaze at the rosé bottle.

By 6:45, I'm wishing and hoping that The Man finished really, really early at work and is on his way home with a pizza from the imaginary Domino's down the street. I hesitate between more coffee or "accidentally" opening the rosé.

7:30pm rolls around and the entire village is treated to the sounds of Rosie screaming, "DADDY" at the top of her lungs as he parks his car. He looks tired and hot and is ever so grateful for that glass of rosé I've thrust into his hand.

8:30-9pm: CHAOS. Think of a hurricane hitting the dining room, then the bathroom, and then try to get it snuggled under a little blanket in a teeny tiny baby bed only the hurricane isn't finished throwing Stinky and everything else out of the teeny tiny baby bed over and over and over again. In the meantime, the big kids stall. I pray that there is another bottle of rosé in the basement fridge.

By the time 10pm rolls around, The Man and I stare at each other through our rose coloured glasses and dream of new places, vacations on our own, winning the lottery, going to Cape Town. We haul ourselves up to the attic, fall into bed, and hold on for dear life.

And then in the morning, it's rinse and repeat.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

And Curtain

Look. It's July once again.

The sun sets late, the wind blows warm. The Man and I stare at our wild garden and wonder, dream, repair.

Our friend's wife died Thursday and even though she had been sick for all the years we knew her, it's still hard to find the right way to grieve. They had a tough love, lots of bumps and bruises along the way, only to have their life culminate with her suffering from that lovely leveler, cancer. 

All those years. All those things, issues, stresses, joys, worries, arguments, happiness. All those things done.

How many times do we have to be hit over the head to get the message?