The Palace Park

The Palace Park

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

And we came back. We did this well over a week ago, so you're probably wondering, Little One, what I could be doing that kept me from writing to you. Well, let's just leave it to say that the hits just keep on coming.

We left on a Thursday night. This would normally have been smooth sailing. I would have packed a scrummy dinner to be eaten on the ferry. I might have even tissue-wrapped your father's shirts. Stranger things have happened. Instead, all of my good intentions flew out the window with a bit of scalding hot coffee and a trip to the emergency room. Result: a 10-inch long, varyingly wide burn that ran from the bendy in my waist to my upper thigh.

New rule: No emptying the washing machine near freshly made coffee.

Reminder: Large McDonald's arches on the fridge. Why? Because coffee is hot and your mama should know better.

So we get home, I finish packing in a very nice haze of painkillers. We drive to the ferry. We crash out on the sofas and a few hours later I wake up to realize OUCH! The large protective blister has popped! And the layer of skin that was a blister, well, it has come off. Which leads to an infection, which leads to numerous trips to Prague 6 from our hideway in Skalice.

We have a brilliant time. Your Uncle Mix pulled out all the stops and made us most welcome in his country manor. And he's expecting a baby with his paramour, which is most exciting news.

In Prague, we eat, we wander, we laugh, we argue, and I love being there but don't long to live there, if you know what I mean. It is nice to know I can live in parallel to the city, dropping in as and when. And then we retreat to the country for long walks, reading, naps, and - in your father's case - World Cup Football.

From Skalice we drive west then south to Neuchatel, where your Uncle C and Auntie J live near the Lake. We spend two days eating and drinking (your father rediscovers his appreciation for Tequila/vodka/Redbull and pays dearly). We arrive at the ferry just shy of the 8pm and bicker over who is at fault: Human Error or Technology.

On the ferry, your father gets a text: your Great Aunt has died. This makes my heart hurt so much, I can't help but cry. She was amazing. The only thing that cheers me is that she'll be able to join the ranks of fab people keeping pace with you.

At home, the world spins and spins. Work is crazy busy, Uncle M has a stroke, Auntie P and Uncle CR get hitched at Eton Chapel and really, all I want to do is have some fun then sleep for an eternity. Things slow down by Tuesday - and really, how could they help but slow?

In all of this, I have to say, we had our 1st genetics appointment, which was basically another session of 'Hmmm. Well We think you're good to go, but let's wait for the metabolic tests. And yeah, we don't really know what caused the hydrops.' But the brain damage, little one, that's just cause you didn't really get a chance to breathe deep. And my heart cracks a bit more before it can heal.

And almost everywhere I go, people offer up commiserations. It is touching and yet doubly painful. What I notice is that people want to comfort more that we let them, your papa and I. And when they can't comfort him, they come to me because, well, I guess I'm just a wee bit more cuddly. When I'm not setting things on fire.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

And so we are preparing for a road trip that will take us to Dunkirk, through Germany, to the Czech Republic, back through Switzerland, then home. We will not be taking Josie, mainly because I'm crap at sorting out her pet passport and because it is just too much for her right now, a long road trip. Lately, I've noticed that she is slowing down. She is doing so with amazing grace but she is definitely slowing down. A good walk, a good run she never turns down, but she crashes hard afterwards.

She is getting older and one day, she won't wake up or she'll get sick and I'll have to let her go. And your papa won't let me get her taxidermy-ed either. Which is probably a good thing, because just how creepy would THAT Xmas card be?

I am back at work, in theory 3 days a week, slowly phasing in. But what happens, what is so hard to change, is that I can't shut work off once I open the door. It creeps into everything until it BECOMES everything. I find myself making lists - not fun lists, like what creative things I want to do or where we should stop on our trip, but W O R K lists about accommodation, the office, the corporate flat, who needs what, etc. And I can't stop. My heart begins to race and my breathing comes faster and then BAM! I hit the wall, trip into an anxiety fueled panic. Or, I go to sit down and realize I am so physically exhausted my bones feel like they are being crushed and I think I am going to start tossing cookies.

Not optimal.

Add to that that I occasionally, without even realizing, start crying and that my milk (even after the cabergoline and 3.5 months) is still coming in like a bitch, and well, that's life.

The house is in a state. I mean, seriously in a state. And most of the time, I can't even summon the desire to do anything about it. I have serious skills in the compartmentalization and avoidance departments. I can ignore pretty much anything, just retreating into my own mind. There are so many stories in there, so many interesting conversations and music and words that I can go there and just ignore the papers piled, the post waiting to be read, the bills needing to be paid, the floors that need to be mopped. And so your poor father will come and be perplexed by the state of things and wonder if I've gone to far into my own head and I have to reassure him I'm still around.

And there is just so much going on! The weather is warm, is super fine and I just want to have the kind of summer I never had when I was 17. I want to stay up late and sleep through the day and stretch out like a cat. With no responsibility beyond the children's library reading club. I want to drink pitchers of sangria while I giggle with my girlfriends and dance like a fiend; I want to make out with my husband in the back seat of a car.

And I want this so much, I know, because the one thing I really want, I just cannot have. I can't have you. I can't hold you and feed you and feel like the world is crashing down because there isn't one piece of clothing not covered in spit-up or because the diaper genie is so full it is about to explode. Maybe I'll get these things yet (and I hope I do) but it doesn't change the fact that, like the crooner sings, there will never be another you.

As ever

Monday, 7 June 2010

Letter to my 20-year-old -self

Dear you

You've decided to move on . That lovely Victorian studio you find in Cincinnati on Ohio Street? Keep it. For as long as you possibly can. If there is ever an option to buy it, do so.

The Poet you meet at the bookshop? Don't take him so seriously. Be smart, have fun, and when its done, just nod and accept the lessons learned. We have a tendency to brood too much and it will ruin so much of our time and life if we let it. That boy on the Boston - Albany Express? He'll break your heart but it will make you stronger if you let it.

Keep traveling. Travel for the sake of it, not to run away from life. Travel near and far and go back to places. Give the people you love some distance and space for a couple of years so that you can grow into your skin. We are good at keeping in touch with people; cultivate this skill, these relationships. They will get you through life when you think it might break you. You will have tragedy and disaster, courted and otherwise, but you are a tough cookie with a sense of humour that will pull you through but you can't do it alone.

If there are 3 things I could give you as gifts, they would go a little something like this: 1) the knowledge that that horrific black dog that stalks you is not who you are. You are not worthless and useless and you need to realize this or it just may take you down. Hard. Depression is a fact of your genetic make up and you need to learn to deal with it. Preferably sooner than later and without a martini super-glued to your hand. 2) We're spendthrifts. Learn to walk away from the red linen trousers when the debate over 'rent v trousers' arrives. You can't keep everything but you don't need to get rid of EVERYTHING. Balance and being middle of the road for some things, these are good things. They won't detract from the things we do well or otherwise. That beautiful black dress that is so 1958? You need to keep that bad boy. And one more thing: Go on and dye your hair. Its just hair: it will grow back. But when you go platinum, go to the salon.


Love you madly as ever,