I Adore You

I’ve learned that there is an ebb and flow to every relationship. As my years of motherhood carry on, I know that this is perhaps even more pronounced with a child, sometimes feeling totally connected, other times letting the frustrations of life get in the way.

For the past weeks I’m in a place where I completely adore being with Annie. I know a large part of it is that Markus is around as we get ready to return to Canada, and that gives both Annie and I space to focus less on the daily routine and more on enjoying each other’s company. I’m back to baby-gazing at her several times a day. “Why are you looking at me?” “Because I love you so much.” So far that is received with a smile or an “I love you too”…I expect the eye-rolling to being any day now.

It is just so much fun right now! And interesting. Her brain is working non-stop and I love hearing the latest thing she comes up with.  We are not very strict about monitoring her tv watching, so she often comes up with gems like, “You are only dead when no one remembers you.” O…..K. There is lots of singing and dancing around the house and oddles of laughter every day.

Annie is into miming/charades right now. A few days ago we were treated to a silent, 1-minute run down of her whole day. (Stretch to wake up, eat, get dressed, go to school, dance, sing, dance, go to sleep.) The funniest part was when we were guessing what she was acting out. Some were easy. Some were quite literal. (“What am I doing?” “Um, dancing?” “No, pointing my foot”, she says as she stands there pointing her foot. Of course!) But then she started shaking her hips. “Dancing?”, I ask with my go-to answer. “No! I’m Jello!” I had tears.

Earlier in the week was this:

First when I was invisible I chose you and Daddy, because I wanted to see how that goes. I saw that you wanted a baby. (Very much my girl”) Then I was born and was zero, then one, then two, then three, then four and now I’m five and a half. First I was invisible with all the other invisible kids. Then I chose you and it started all over again.

Now, this is exactly my belief, so I’m sure I’ve planted some of those ideas in her little brain. But I also know for certain that I haven’t articulated this in such a coherent or detailed way. And since we live in the deep heart of Catholic land, it isn’t like anyone else is saying these things to her. So, do you think that means it is true?? Ah well, we’ll never know, will we?…at least not in this life. (“I wanted to see how that goes”….priceless!!)

I’m even appreciating the less jolly times these days. With some coaching from a psychologist friend, we are very big into acknowledging feelings in this house. It is amazing both how much it helps in really any situation, but also how much it allows me to bond with Annie. “You are really frustrated!” “That must have hurt your feelings.” “Were you embarrassed when they said that?” No dismissing, or distractions, or helpful suggestions. At least, not until the emotions have been  talked about. It is such a great way to start dealing with any situation. (When I’m not losing it myself, which of course still happens.)

Our lives are so turbulently emotional right now. It is amazing to me that amidst all this chaos I’ve found a time of deep connection with Annie. I am thankful.



Plans 2012

Just pretend I wrote a great post about how relaxing and pleasant our holidays were, with lots of sweet pictures of family laughing around the tree, baking cookies and frolicking in the snow.

Now, onto the real news.

Our plans are almost all set for moving back to Canada. Flights are booked for January 31st.  That is right…only about three weeks left to go for our Euro-adventure.

After spending hours (days really) scouring Craigslist and every other housing-related website, we decided on where to live. We have sublet a furnished apartment for six months about a 15 minute bus-ride away from downtown Vancouver. (We don’t know when we will get a car, so far afield wasn’t an option.) It is in a great neighborhood (so my Vancouver friends assure me) that is good for families.

As soon as the ink was signed on the contract, I contacted the local school. After a friendly but non-committal run-around by the admin person, I very plainly asked, “Is there anyone in the school who might actually know if there is space for a Kindergarten child?” I was transferred to the principal. Principal was lovely and, indeed, they have a spot for a child at this moment, with no expectation that it will be filled before February. Yeah! The closest school (by quite a margin) is a French Immersion elementary. I’ve always wanted to have Annie in French Immersion, although part of me feels like one of those über-pushy parents making my child learn three languages. But I also believe, especially after my experience here, that one of the greatest gifts to give a child of this beautiful, interconnected world is the opportunity to learn another language.

It is possibly only for Kindergarten in any case, as we have no idea what area we will live in for the long(ish) term. But I’ll deal with that later. “One step at a time” is my new universe-forced motto.

I’m so, so (so!) excited about returning to more regular work. One contract is all lined up and I’ll know about the other one in the next week or so. I’m enjoying working for small, young companies owned by truly great people. I’m learning a lot and love not getting caught up in corporate culture. I may have to return to that someday, and do miss the stability and, you know, a benefits plan, but for now I’m enjoying the excitement and craziness and humanity of it all.

And of course, I just can’t wait to see my friends and family. Every time I send an email telling another friend when I’ll be back, I’m just so overwhelmed with the warmth and welcoming sentiments. (Remind me…why did I leave??) On the other side, it will mean saying goodbye to good friends here. But I’m sure my adventures in Europe aren’t over, so I’ll be seeing them again.

Although it has been a life-changing adventure the last three years, I’m ready to come home.