Last night Frans arrived home after four days in Romania. He greeted a worn out, half sick, yet triumphant wife and two sickly kids. One sickly kid was so excited to see her papa that she didn’t even feel sick anymore.
He had a rich, full time. Lots of meaningful conversations and the ability to stand in his gifting (speaking, counseling) and use them well.
I had a trying, full time. Trying not to count the hours. Trying to stay in the small moments. Trying to stay on top of household chores like dishes and cleaning up, although the lack of my partner was duly noted. Trying not to be bothered by the dwindling pile of clean laundry and the increasingly weedy, neglected look of the back garden. Trying to stay patient while absorbing all the parental blows. Trying to make it fun. Papa’s gone. Let’s eat popcorn and watch a movie in my bed!
We marked today, the 4th of July, in the calendar months ago with a small American flag. I was determined to do something celebratory, because sometimes nothing can be more Debbie Downer than waking up to ‘business as usual’ while you’re accustomed to a lifetime of family and friend hangouts, cookouts, and fireworks. There is a sense of unfairness, of being left out. Of wanting to shake all of the people in your neighbourhood and say, Relax. Have a beer. Aren’t you proud to be an….oh. So you watch your neighbours dress in black and gray and go to work. Kids go to school, People do errands, etc. The use.
Today I dressed in red and jeans, per usual. There is white in my sandals because I checked. My earrings look somewhat like fireworks. There were a couple of options on the table: the weather is looking nice, E’s been begging to go to the beach, we should go. Nothing more Fourth-y than a beach day! There’s a BBQ tonight we’ve been invited to with tons of Americans. Perfect.
And then last Thursday the kids got sick. And then Frans got home last night and I hoped for the best, but M woke up crying at 5am and downed a bottle of water, and E woke up warm at 7am, and then M had diarrhea and I realised he didn’t have any clean pants so I made piles of laundry and a grocery list including more stain remover. Now I’m sitting in my red, white, and blue trying to catch up on work (and ehm, write this blog) while the kids are at the babysitter’s, per usual Tuesday morning. And we can’t go to the beach, and we can’t go to the BBQ tonight, so I sit down to make a list, like prescribing myself optimistic medicine to keep myself from depression. An expat-with-young-kids’ dilemma. The list reads:
1. Burgers. Potato Salad. Jello shots.
2. Hang American flags.
3. Watch an American flick: Citizen Kane? Field of Dreams? The Sandlot?
4. Hang laundry.
5. Short trip to the beach?
Better get back to work. Happy Fourth of July! United States of America, I am thinking of you today. I miss you!