Dust clouds dance with the heat haze rising from the baseball field. Hot dogs and burgers sizzle on the BBQ. My parents call it an ‘annual softball game’ with friends, but to me it’s different, exciting, fun…
The summer evening smells of cut grass and sounds of cicadas. I’m in my element, up late at a summer party at our house. My sister and I perform the famous Baby and Johnny ‘Time of our Life’ dance from Dirty Dancing for the guests. My ‘memory’ has it that we even we even succeed with the lift.
As the plane lands in Bermuda I gape at the most clear, inviting, aquamarine water I’ve ever seen.
Summer. Holidays. Celebrations. These hazy happy memories are ingrained in me from then, for now, for always. I hope to give our children similarly happy adventures to remember.
Chris and I have always taken the view that it’s important we integrate LLC and LMM into our lives. Sure, with LLC’s first breath we lost that innate selfishness that is life without kids. But we’ve always maintained that while now our children come first, happy parents make happy children and by continuing to do things we love other than parent we can set examples and inspire LLC and LMM as they grow.
With this ethos of forging ahead with experiences our family will remember we’ve had quite the summer of international holidays.
First, a long weekend and wedding in Vlieland, a beautiful northern finger island of The Netherlands. From late night sandcastles on the beach to laughs with old friends, to cycling dunes, celebrating love and being peed on by recently potty trained LLC we successfully maneuovered a 2.5 year-old and 2 month old around a charming, mostly car free island. The good old Bugaboo again came into it’s own and we even managed to ferry both kids back to our apartment in the carrycot one night without it collapsing!
Then, a summer in New York, a non-rushed visit, more regular life with our mostly (hi Alex!) American family and friends. We’ve been to the zoos, the local library, Aunt M’s in Manhattan, an aquarium, LLC’s first play, friends in and out of state…. It’s the longest hot weather stretch I’ve experienced since traveling in Australia and that in itself has been amazing. We’ve been in some type of water be it the pool, sea or sprinkler every day. LLC now knows the joy of running naked with cheeky abandon and feeding the birds with grandma. Our sensitive LMM has found a bit of zen in grandpa’s arms and has had his first underwater dunk much to Chris’ delight. I hope as everything is wiring up in the kids’ heads these experiences will shape both their unconscious and in LLC’s case, maybe some of her first conscious memories.
For me, it’s been nice to spend time with people I love but see far too little. After most of the summer here, I again get that bittersweet niggle of what we are missing on this side of the pond while living in the UK. Knowing we are missed in the US is tough too. But as usual, I’ve conditioned myself not to dwell on all this and instead to be grateful for the ‘two homes’ we have. My life in London is good, and I now have a lot of love for people and things over here in the UK. In fact I’ve just reached my 10 year anniversary of living here and my current home is here. I guess it’s just one of those things and like many of the most amazing things in life, being an expat comes at some price. If only I could invent that teleporter….
* I am hosting the next ‘BritMums’ Carnival here on September 4th to the theme of ‘Sweet September’ – please get involved by sending me a post from the last month that broadly links to this theme and I’ll add it to the round up!