Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sinus Pain

My children are playing rather happily for the first time in over a week so I am taking this opportunity to write a little about our journey toward repatriation. We’ve all been sick since Monday so the time marking our second to last week in this apartment has been a bit of a blur. I keep reminding myself that we are moving back to the US in approximately 2 weeks, but I’ve given up trying to comprehend it as it seems far to difficult to do so.

Instead, I just have this looming sense that being sick; and therefore accomplishing nothing in the way of moving us back home- has put me even farther behind in this process than I feared possible. I am hoping that this brain numbing sinus pressure will clear soon, so I can think straight and get to the tasks at hand. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Uninvited Guest

I went for one of my daily walks with the boys yesterday. As I passed all of the usual people and places within my local neighborhood- an uninvited guest reminded me that these sights, smells and sounds I have come to know as home, would be nothing more than memories in a matter of weeks. My new life back in the United States lay before me with a degree of mystery and heaviness as I weaved the buggy from one street to the next...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Repatriation: Tailspin

I’m in a fog these days and am therefore having a difficult time organizing my thoughts and putting them into written form. We are less than one month away from moving back to the United States and I can’t even fathom how this process will unfold and take shape. My head is spinning with lists of things to do, things to see, things to buy, people to spend time with, phone calls to make, packing lists to create; and that doesn’t even include the day to day things (like caring for, feeding, and entertaining two 13 month olds who are starting to walk)! It seems like there is far too much to do between now and then; and while I find myself working hard to stay present in this moment, the inevitable elements of planning for a future move finds me growing more and more impatient as we enter the last few weeks of this process. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ode to Miss J

Due to some unforeseen but not entirely surprising visa issues, I find myself without my trusted nanny. I have always felt incredibly grateful to have her in our lives; but it is in her absence that I have come to realize just how much I relied on her. She was an employee, a support person, a co- parent, and a companion of sorts.

For many people, Friday brings hope of relaxation and rest. For me, Monday was that day. I knew that Monday would come and “Miss J” would arrive to help me care for Isaac and Naaman in a way that nobody else could. As the only other person who knew their day intimately- their sleeping and feeding schedules, their likes and dislikes, their quirks, and so on- I truly felt I could rest and relax a bit more once she arrived.

For several days following the realization that she would not be able to re-enter the country; I found myself tearing up at the mere thought of her. When I would read her and the boys’ favorite Dora the Explorer book (one that only she would read to them) - I would feel tremendously sad. The cynic in me said "well of course you’re sad- you lost your freedom and flexibility", but that wasn’t it. Instead, I felt a bit like I had lost a member of my family; and more than anything I was just sad for the boys. They loved her very much; and one day- she was just gone.

The fact that we are repatriating to the US and would eventually have to say goodbye anyway, has not made this loss easier for me. Yes-I had entertained the scenario a few times in my mind, but I would also quickly shut it out and reminded myself that the day would come on its own. So when the day came earlier than expected; I wasn't prepared for the physical or emotional loss to our family.

It's taken two solid weeks, but I think I have found my footing without my trusty side kick

Friday, April 1, 2011

Repatriation: Pause No More

In my previous post, (also known as a momentary rant or blogger mental breakdown) - I asked the question “am I in China or am I in the US?” Rhetorical in nature, this question is a simple reflection of a less than simple process we repatriating expatriates face. Following me here?

Life is in a strange state of pause and motion at the moment. I had been working very hard to remain present while living here in Shanghai; and just when I decided to give in a little and focus on our repatriation to the US, things changed course. This combination of events put me in an unusual place.

To keep in step with my philosophy on life- I decided to regroup and focus on our lives here in Shanghai once again. Phil and I took a look at some things that were in need of change, and decided we weren’t going to put them on hold any longer.

The majority of the “things” we had been delaying were child related. When moving in 3 weeks, it made sense to leave the remaining sleep issues, eating issues, and baby sleep locations alone until returning to our new time zone. But now that we were going to be here for 7 more weeks, we realized we couldn’t function the way we were any longer.

It turns out that after all of the delay and dread, the great big monsters (in my mind) were the smallest of mini beasts. After only one day, Naaman joined his brother in sleeping through the night. I couldn’t believe how truly simple it was and how ready he was to make the transition. It made me realize a lot about parenting and the ways we get into our heads and hearts to our detriment at times.

Other than a host of parenting lessons I have learned in this process- I have also learned about the ways we hold ourselves back. You don’t have to be moving to another country to put things off. We all put things off for reasons we think are good and valid; we convince ourselves it is easier when more often than not, it creates a long term pause or problem. I have decided to adopt a famous line from a sleep training “guru” known as The Baby Whisperer and apply it to other areas of my life as well. When Tracey Hogg says “start as you mean to go on” there is wisdom beyond just what we do with our children. I may be late to the start portion of this, but from here on- I will certainly attempt to live life today as I would like to live it tomorrow, next month and a year from now.