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I knew it had been awhile, but was startled to realize that it's been over two years since I last posted.  A very busy two years, sure, but two years!  If I am remembering my Astonishing (astonishing!) Biology (biology!) Facts (facts!) correctly, in that same amount of time I've changed all of my red blood cells eight times, my entire epidermis at least two dozen times, and my current fingernails (if you'd call them that) are fourth generation.  So really it's like I'm a completely different person.  Allow me to introduce myself.


Hi, I'm Susan, mother of a nearly 9 year-old, American expat elementary school teach turned homemaker living in rural Wales.  I like predictable dramas, equally predictable action movies, chai tea lattes, and everything that smells like pumpkin spice as soon as the leaves start to change colour. 

I used to live in a City where every possibility was less than a fifteen minute walk in any direction.  In that City of Possibility I fell in love with the notion of freedom.  I could walk out my front door and choose who I was and how I would see the world that day, ambling back home to share my witticisms and insights with the Whole Wide World.  A days worth of groceries, library books, diapers, and unmatched baby socks loaded into the bottom of a stroller, the world was my oyster unless I decided I'd prefer a pretzel.  With mustard.  A Little Guy to count porch lights with as we bumped our way across the cobblestones and roots in the sidewalks.  A Big Guy to compare the Little Guy's more, erm, Interesting Behaviours to.  Mommy Friends with equally addled Mommy Brains to share tales of Strolling and Breastfeeding and, soon enough, Toddling and Babyfooding with. Freedom to be and freedom to write it all down.

And then came The Big Move.  Suburbia with its glorious green lawns and larger than life lighting fixtures over expansive wooden floors.  An New house on a New street in the New development of a New(ish) town.  Still only fifteen minutes from the library and groceries.  By car. Thirty minutes away from everything else.  Five hours, by plane, from pretzels with mustard.  Three big play parks within spitting distance should you ever tire of your own backyard.  Great Friends with Great Kids, the kind you invite over for spaghetti once a week to run across your expansive wooden floors, roll across your glorious green lawn, and make your larger than life lighting fixtures shake with their squeals and screams and stomping feet up and down the stairs.  The downside to all this upsizing was that now I could no longer choose who I was and how to see my world when I walked out my front door. Instead my view was of my street in the rear view mirror as I backed out of the garage, driving along counting stop signs and streetlights with a Little Guy who was quickly morphing into an Aaron whose Interesting Behaviours were quickly beginning to cross that imaginary boundary between Herediatry Quirk and Cause For Alarm.  Insights and witticisms gave way to insecurities and worries, no longer safe to be shared with the Whole Wide World for fear of insulting the mother of the neighbour's sister's cousin's husband's best friend's wife if she should somehow find and read and recognize herself in the writing.  Thoughts turned inward and words that used to spin together to laugh at the foibles of the world and the worldly instead spun on their own heads finding flaws instead of humour.  A battle with the Darkness of Self Discovery, Disappointment and Doubt raged and roared, frequently taking prisoners from the fringes when there were none to be found closer at hand.

The Next Big Move (and a tastefully discreet prescription bottle) brought with it blissful reprieve from the Darkness.  Exploration and delight at all! things! new! temporarily pushed back concerns over the Interesting Behaviours, freshly stamped with "slightly atypical" and "slightly disconnected" and "will benefit from small settings with minimal sensory stimuli".  A new school with an old take on boys will be boys shoved the report into a bottom drawer and, collectively, all of our heads in the sand.  "Is settling in nicely" became "Needs some time to adjust".   "Confident and articulate" morphed into "not convincing" and "frequently confrontational" as logged (mis)behavioural reports became a more frequent occurrence.  On the flight home from a visit to our first City, my little boy tore out my heart when he asked if he could "please see a doctor like you used to see Dr. R?  Someone who can help me reprogram my brain so I can always be good?" 

My last post here was exactly one week, three days before that flight.

We came home and asked the question:  where is help, how do we know if we need it, and if we need it, how do we get it?  We moved up the street.  We made some new friends and kept the old.  Lost a (new)old friend and unblurred the lines between "friends" and friends.  We fought the good fight.  We toiled at tilling the soil.  We poured in bribes and treats and IEP meetings as if they were fertilizers, took away privileges and shook our heads and fingers as if they were weeds for another 15 months before I accepted the bitter truth that there was nothing left to pour in, take out or shake at.  We took a trip to the desert as the winter of 2014 withered away.  We came home but didn't go back.  For the following five months we taught each other -- slowly, gently, meticulously repairing each and every severed root.  Together we stretched out and found a new rhythm.  Together we sought out and explored new options.  Found a new school.

So now we have begun The Current Next New Thing.  So far it is working.  The good days far outnumber the bad.  There are bumps.  There have been tears.  There will be more tears and, no doubt, wailing and gnashing of teeth.   His and mine. We are juuuuust about over the honeymoon hump and beginning the mad plunge into the realm of Sensory Stimuli Overload that is the holiday season.  Two years is an awfully long time to take that plunge in silence.  Please check to see that all of your loose items have been properly stowed and that your seatbelt has been fastened low and tight across your hips.  Keep your hands and feet within the carriage at all times.  NaBloPoMo has started and I intended to take you along for the ride.


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6 comments:

Amy Jo said...

Welcome welcome welcome back!
We're so glad you've come! Hugs all
around!

Lora said...

I really miss you and love you

Unknown said...

Love reading about your life's trip and remembering hearing about each step. Glad you are back posting.

susan said...

I miss you, too!!! There are very few days that go by without me thinking of you and your boys and kicking myself for not staying in touch better. I hope the love spans the miles despite me.

susan said...

Thank you!!! It kinda perfect that your comment is the first on my first post back -- it was your blog that got me hooked and convinced me to try it for myself! Hard to believe how many many changes we've all gone thru in the past 9 years. I miss you (all of you!) more than I can put into words. It's good to be back. Thank you for making it good to be back :)

susan said...

Sometimes I forget that it is just a journey and that even the heaviest of steps is just one more that will soon be followed by another. Thank you for being there all along, having someone to share the steps with makes the route seem less foreboding!