It's been a mild, uneventful winter here in Amsterdam. No Polar Vortex. No Russian invasions. And the Oscars were broadcast at 2 AM so when Ellen broke Twitter, no one really noticed.
But speaking of heartache and woe, my kids were home for mid-winter break all last week.
We had decided to stay in Amsterdam for this break, which sounded like such a good idea at one point, long ago. But I forgot that even though I'm not afraid of many things, I am absolutely terrified of three specific things, which are: big, hairy spiders, skinny jeans, and being home all day, alone, with my children. And when I am in a constant state of fear, I cry, in random situations. For example, every time one of my kids says I'm hungry, what's for dinner?And possibly in the produce section at the grocery store while Elton John was playing. Look, I was a mess-- it was like a hostage situation here.
One day Nate asked me if he could pretty please set fire to a blueberry. When I said no, he squished said blueberry on his head.
At one point, Sam spent over 30 minutes quizzing me about every aspect of allergies, and specifically which ones can kill you and under exactly what circumstances and how likely is it. I said, why don't you go set fire to some blueberries with your brother?
Three days in, I suggested that we go outside, and you would have thought whining was an Olympic sport. The teeth-gnashing and melodramatic collapses were exquisitely executed. Possible world records.
This week, however, the kids are back in school, emotions are back in check, and I can grocery shop with dignity again. What's more, it's time to get motivated and accomplish something, because I looked at the calendar today and did you know that it is March already? I'm not even kidding. MARCH. For realz people.
I took Sam to a blind playdate recently (this is one of the things you do as an expat), and it turns out that the kid's mother is an expert on motivation and accomplishing things; she used to be a life coach and all that. It's a bummer because she's very nice, and we have so much in common. For example, she moved here from Seattle and has a quirky little boy, same as me. She gets up early every day to run because she does marathons, and I also wake up eventually each day, and occasionally run for minutes at a time. She is an actual published author, and earns a living as a writing coach. And I publish biannual blog posts, and could probably benefit from having a writing coach. She's the type of woman who gets all the crap done, and I'm the type of woman who thinks, oh crap, I should really get something done. But first, how would John Travolta pronounce my name?
Who knows though, it could be the beginning of a beautiful, codependent relationship. Or maybe not so much codependent, as one-way dependent. I think they call those stalkers.
FYI, while googling the spelling of codependency, I just came across this actual sentence on a mental health website, regarding dysfunctional families: Don’t feel bad if that includes you. Most American families are dysfunctional. You’re in the majority!
While that's not at all reassuring, it does make me feel weirdly patriotic. Strange, the things that make you miss home sometimes.
So, how's your winter going?