Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wheels Up, London

As this posts, we are taking leave of London.  I scheduled it for wheels up.  I have loved living on the Thames.  I wouldn't have traded it.  A big regret for our time here, though, is that we haven’t been able to enjoy London the way most people enjoy London, by delving into history, art, architecture and using London as a home base for exploring the rest of Europe. 
We’ve done some of those things, but not as much as most.  We arrived, for “12 to 18 months” when Christopher Robin was 2 ½ and Cupcake was 9 months.  As we depart, 5 years later, Thing 1 and Thing 2 are not quite 3 ½.  I’ve mentioned before, but 0-3 is logistically difficult and as your youngest passes 3 years old, things get progressively easier.  Another few months, and we could travel relatively easily.  I, myself, am just now able to do more of anything from touring to volunteering.  It is time for me to pick up a copy of The Girlfriends Guide to Getting Your Groove Back and start grooving.  But the grooving will happen at home.  I’m starting to wonder if my London girlfriends will recognize me when I return in the fall to move into our new flat.   Not physically, no plastic surgery planned, but me.  They have mostly known the mother in me.  
My regret, however, is blunted by what London gave to me. While I was here in London, away from family and close friends, I had to hunker down a bit more than I would have needed in Texas.  We missed some family drama and upheavals while we were here as well, and while I would have preferred to be there, the silver lining that I must find is that the children were spared any drama and we got concentrated time together.  What I am writing, not so very well, is that London gave me dedicated time with my children--if only because the dismal weather kept us locked in the flat more than I would have liked.  My mentor, Sherri, saw this coming when we first moved here and I called her and lamented missing family and an inability to do more.  She told me I would one day be thankful for this time and, as always, she was right.  
London is the place where my children were young.  The memories of parks and rainy days, of first words and field days, of friendships forged in the trenches of motherhood, all of that for me will always be in England.  And that is sufficient, before any of the other fabulousness that is England, to keep her in a special place in my heart.   
I will return soon--we just put an offer in on the elusive downsized house--and I feel like I still have much to discover about London, even though I’ve been here for so long.  When we bring the children back each year (essentially, we are reversing to the actually sane plan of winters in Texas and summers in London) they will have much to explore as well.  In an way, the only thing I am losing is the day to day life in London, which is a significant loss to be sure, but not, by any means, a total one.    
For now, however, Take Me to Texas.  It is time to go home.  

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