On Growing Up

It’s been a while since I’ve written on the blog. Since then we’ve been back to Sarajevo, then to Split, London, Paris and finally home to Vienna. I have exciting things to write up, but, this has been hard. Really hard.

I think after the first month of traveling, it stopped being an adventure and became a lot of packing and unpacking of the kids, of getting them out of the house so big Daddy could work and be on his phone calls without our banshee children shrieking in the background. We didn’t know when we would be granted our visas so we were living essentially week to week, determining where to go next. In Dubrovnik, the well-meaning people at one of the hotels we stayed at kept commenting on how tired I looked, as if no one was ever tired in paradise.

And I was tired. I don’t sleep well in new places, and I would wake up in the middle of the night lost, unsure of where I was. The nightmares about forgetting something important have finally stopped now that we are in a place we are calling home. But without my friends and family it doesn’t quite feel like home. Being six hours ahead and communicating only by texts has made me feel unmoored. I need the swift kick in the pants that my friends give me when I get too emotional, or when I start my way down the vortex of did I make the right decision. I remind myself that there is no one right decision, that life is a series of decisions that accumulate over time. I’ve been trying really hard to examine my own insecurities in order to keep moving forward, to be a better parent.

And then there were the kids. Some days they were great. Other days I had no idea how they could be so bad, screaming in stores, touching everything. And the fights we had when I tried to teach Squirrel how to read. Or to get Goose to use the potty. Or to get them to stop fighting between themselves.

Our first weekend back in Vienna I told D that I hated our entire family. It was not my finest moment. At the playground we were surrounded by parents happily playing with their children and I was wondering what was wrong with me. To be fair, I told myself, the happiest parents only had one kid. I have two honey badgers.

And then a few days ago I noticed how Goose no longer has her chubby baby legs but the legs of a kid who runs. Squirrel got taller. She likes to wake up early and make breakfast by putting out applesauce and Nutella bread. Goose can ride her scooter all by herself. They helped me cook dinner, Squirrel cutting and cooking carrots, Goose making the pasta and eating raw carrots. They can both fold their own laundry. This morning, Goose proudly set the table for breakfast and then called Squirrel over to help dole out the Nutella. Squirrel turned to me and said, “Look at her Mama. She’s growing up.” Indeed.

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