Expecto Patronum!

I’m sitting here in the dark in the kitchen in a dirty bathrobe, face lit by the glow of my laptop, drinking wine.  A full two hours past their ideal bedtime (and 45 minutes past their usual bedtime), I can hear the kids playing in the shower together down the hall – totally an AAP-approved mom-move, since no one can drown in a shower!!!  Especially because, as an added safety measure,  I’ve avoided cleaning the floor tiles for the past few months so that the limescale build-up from this horrid British water has created something of a natural anti-slip mat for their little feet.

In the time that I’ve been ignoring them, they’ve resolved a couple of fights without me intervening, and now William is giving Poppy some lessons about how to wash her hair and Poppy is trying to convince William that he is a monkey and that he “better be careful or he gonna break that!”, all while laughing like an insane clown.  Cute.  Not so cute that I’m going to come out of hiding, but cute.

I’ve enrolled myself in the Mommy Protection Plan because it’s just been one of those hard weeks.  One of those harrrrrrd weeks, when no one individual thing is that insurmountable but when all of the things, combined, just break your heart and your soul and make you cry to your parents over Skype at 7:30 PM because the children will NOT stop talking SO LOUDLY.  What little nudges, exactly, have banded together to push me completely over the edge?

Well, first of all, I’ve had too many social events (I know, cry me  a river), each of which set me off on an emotional triathalon featuring .47 miles of self-doubt (who the fuck do I think I am, thinking I can just go to these events and not have everyone realize how weird and odd and twitchy I am???), followed by 12 miles of  manic self-consciousness (I must – MUST – be the funniest, nicest, coolest person here!!  chugging several glasses of cheap Prosecco will certainly be the performance-enhancing drug I need!), capped off by a leisurely 3.1 mile jog through Anxietyville (oh my GOD, why did I say that?  That wasn’t even funny, and now I’ve been offensive, or rude, and they all think I’m mean and silly and horrible).  Rinse, repeat.

Then, these old ladies at the gym keep stealing my spot.  I get there early, set up my little mat or weights or exercise ball, and they slowly encroach upon my space until I have to move. I fucking hate it. I passive aggressively make exasperated (and unreciprocated) faces to the other people in the class, and I seethe with anger during the full 60 minutes of “Booty Blast” and “Steel Body”.  BUT IT NEVER ENDS.  It’s like they sense my life force and are trying to steal it, “Coccoon” style, by standing too close to me . Or, y’know, they just have spots they like and don’t give a fuck about being a little rude to keep them.

And then, of course, there are the big things: the huge website build that I’ve spent months working on (on a volunter basis) that just launched tonight; the huge source of stress that is my regular “job”; the constant homesickness for my parents, my brother, my aunts and uncles, my friends and my New York; the never-ending housework and life-work that doesn’t stop building up just because I have other stuff going on; the lonlieness of being a Big Law wife, even if I understand the hours because I was there myself; the soul-aching worry that the choices we’re making for our family aren’t the best choices for our kids; the fact that I have two Ivy League degrees, I’m closer to 40 than I am to 20, and I still don’t know what the hell I want to do with my (professional) life.

I wrote an email reply tonight to a dear, dear friend with a young baby that I think kinda sums up what I feel like I’m dealing with right now: “Dude, what you are dealing with is hard.  It’s always hard.  I am drunk right now because I have had a really horrible week full of nothing that’s really that horrible, but even then: being a mom and a wife and a friend and a daughter and an employee and yourself is HARD.  But because nothing individually is really *that* hard you feel like a loser for feeling like you can’t deal (or at least I do).  But you are not a loser. I might be, b/c I have had too much wine and I’m sitting in the dark in my bathrobe just because.  But not you!”

On a lighter note, here’s a picture of Poppy + Will dressed up like Harry Potter for some random-ass dress-up day that British private schools seem to have all the time:

We totally didn't mean to Catholic-bait by doing this get-up on Ash Wednesday.  But sometimes the jokes write themselves.

We totally didn’t mean to Catholic-bait by doing this get-up on Ash Wednesday. 

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Expecto Patronum!

  1. Hang in there! Living abroad is tough, especially in the beginning. Trust me it does get better and eventually (hopefully) you will feel like your new home is more ‘home’ than where you are from . . . to a certain degree. Of course you will always get that twinge in your heart occasionally, but it will lessen with the years and when you do go home home to visit you will miss your new found home. I have been living in Italy for almost nine years now, and I can tell you culturally and in terms of the language it was very hard at first. However, I now consider this more my home than I do Missouri. I have managed, after many years, disappointments, frustrations and even anger to find a balance, look at the positive (because we all know that Italy is up a shit creek without a paddle and its kinda hard to always be positive here) and appreciate what I have, what I have learned and the wonderful people I am now blessed to have in my life because of moving here. I could really go on here, but I’ll stop myself while I’m ahead, so if you need any advice or just need to rant to another ex-pat from CoMo feel free to drop me a line! Take care and best of luck!

    • Andrea, thank you so much for this incredible reply! I thought the lack of a language barrier, and the fact that we’ve never lived near our families, would make it easier but it just doesn’t. I had no idea you were in Italy either! And congrats on the adorable children :). Next time we are heading to Italy I will send you a message – and obviously do the same if you are in the UK! Xoxo

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