10 December. We have a lot of shit. A lot. I am so very grateful the apartment is finally empty. And that the cleaners were late because I had a quiet contemplative moment remembering and being thankful for a perfect three years. Although I simply cannot grasp it’s been three years. How did that happen?
I am grateful for our little unit. And for silver linings. No house help, no nannies, no gardeners and no family close by seemed like an alien world. And it was. But it’s a world where we are closer, are more present and are stronger as a unit. And not only because we have to be, but because we choose to be.
I am grateful for a hot shower. To turn a tap and have hot water pour out is a rare treat for some. An impossible dream for others. Yet I get to shower as and when I feel. I am so grateful for the daily treat, for the gift of water, of hot, therapeutic water, but especially for the time. The time alone, the time out, to focus, to calm, to think, to be grateful. And to plan.
Those who know me will have heard me saying, often, depending on what decision I’m needing to justify, that love for children, I believe is spelt t.i.m.e. I’m being self deprecating but I do actually believe it. Even though I’m not always very good at showing it. Nonetheless, for me, the notion of quality time is just that, a notion. When we decide now I have some time for quality time with my kids might just not be the time when listening or sharing or being is happening or wanted or needed. Obviously we can’t all be with our children when they wish or when its needed, but we can all try and be present when we are there. And try fill our time less. Just hang a bit more. Be still a bit more. Share t.i.m.e, aka love a bit more. Actually what got me thinking about this was this am as B tried to FaceTime with us. He is 8hours behind so for him it was midnight so he was quiet and gentle and wanted to chat to his girls. But his time for quality time was not theirs. Kate’s response was I’m doing my hair. And Jem was at band. And one might think he could have called earlier but he tried that the day before, and did get Jem, but Kate simply couldn’t open her teenage eyes. So to B’s credit, he just hung around on FaceTime, being in the morningness of home. It reminded me of how to spell love, and how tough this must be for B. Being away I mean. Because the one thing he doesn’t have with his girls is time.
A friend of mine who has only just started the journey we have been on for the past three years and eight months (I’ve finally stopped counting the days, hours, minutes and seconds) is struggling. She knows why it is right to be here away from family, friends and the familiar. So many of the same fucked up reasons we all share. I tried to reassure her that it does get better, that change is essential for growth, that her girls will love her for the resilience she is instilling in them without even realising it, that people who matter will always be there, and those that don’t will disappear, which will make it even easier to be here. And not there. But to be honest, the only thing that makes it get better, is the only thing she doesn’t have yet. Time. Time brings new shared experiences. Time enables you to find the friends who get you. Time makes you realise you don’t have to be polite anymore to be accepted. Those that matter will get you, even if like me, you have a potty mouth (the best birthday card ever, Susie, reminded me of the card the advertising agency I worked for did for me when I was going on maternity leave to have Katie … the headline was “Fuck, my mother’s in advertising!” Yip, I’ve always had a potty mouth). Time makes you realise things might not be the same here as at home, but often they can be better. You can be better. So, my friend, hang in, keep your heart open, but your eyes too, take one step at a time, don’t look back and you too will find friends that get you, here. The new you, ready for the adventure of the unknown.