Well, it looks as if it has been 10 months since I last posted here. It would seem only major shifts in the tectonic plates of life spur me to write.
Previously I wrote of our move to the UK, Luke's first day of school, miscarriages, and of being forced to return to the states abruptly.
That last one was about a year and a half ago. Anyone who knows me will tell you I've been a bit lost ever since. Not really feeling any closure on that chapter, and the whole thing feeling rather unfinished, along with the fact that I adored our bucolic village life in England, made pining and planning for a return my Great Matter. Luke wrote about it in his first grade journal ("Mom wants to live in England. Dad does not."), family sighed when the subject came up (yet aGAIN), and online friends rolled their virtual eyes at my many British allusions.
And I knew I was stuck. But how do you change your heart? I went through all the necessary motions for caring for my family, I chided myself constantly for being so spoiled as to not be able to let go of this silly dream. I even started heading in a new direction with my art, recently celebrating my first year selling at art and craft fairs.
But the urge to go wouldn't leave... We even looked (pretty seriously) into moving to the Netherlands for a while. But, I mean, who really gets to do something like that... twice?? Beau and I had both moved around a lot before meeting, and continued to do so after Luke was born. (This just-seven-year-old has lived in 8 different homes in 3 different states and 2 countries. With countless hotels and couches in the interims.) It makes sense that they are ready to settle down and stop moving every year! Why didn't I feel that??
Maybe it's mid-life crisis time. I feel time running out... And the older Luke gets, the less practical it becomes. Until he's in college. But by then I'll be.... carry the one... really old.
So we planned this trip, to accompany Beau to London, after he was selected to speak at a conference that coincided with a few days Luke had off school. I think Beau hoped this would appease me. Throw a little England my way and maybe it would assuage my obsession. And, of course, secretly I thought he'd have so much more fun this time around, all our other problems would melt away, the clouds would part over the Welsh castles and beams of light would accompany the inevitable angelic choir, thereby sealing our fate as American ex-pats.
In the words of Merlin, "It didn't go exactly to plan."
All our other troubles have not miraculously disappeared. I won't go into what all they involve here, but, yeah. They still exist on this side of the pond. Huh.
It was lovely to see some friends. Truly. It warmed my heart.
But thing after thing seemed to fall thru, fall apart, not go to plan... it was almost a comedy of errors. And the jet-lag that we never seemed to recover from this time, along with the constant movement and lugging of baggage to different hotels, and more rain and cold than I remembered (from leaving in August!), led to a grumpy, tired, exhausted, sometimes-tearful family.
It is one thing to go to the grocery store that you used to frequent, sigh at how it all looks the same, and buy a few snacks for the hotel. It is not the same as doing your grocery shopping after school, coming home to cook dinner, light the candles in the (drippy) fireplace and settle in for the evening in your home.
And life seems to have carried on over here. (It's really a thing, I guess!) The Simensens are leaving, but we'll carry on.
So we went from place to place, feeling once again like tourists, and I just really wanted to get home to paint. And do laundry. And cook a meal. And put Luke to sleep in his bed. And to feel like I fit in.
It was bittersweet to see old places as well as new things... but last time we were here it was for real. Everything now is temporary. I'm happy, sad, excited, bored, inspired, thankful, wistful, physically and emotionally exhausted. My head is spinning with emotions. I feel like I am finally letting go.... and I can start enjoying the present, where we are now, and looking forward to the future. Rather than always looking back... afraid to let go.
All of this washed over me at once when I painted that white ninja on a wall this morning. Like years of experiences, things I've done and people I've been, came flooding back. And that little turtle. He said, hello.