More Notes from Limboland

Did I mention we're leaving the country in six weeks? In five weeks and four days to be precise. This here blog was meant to be a wondrous record of this massive life-changing-event; something we could look back on with the grandkids in a few decades time..."We used to call this a Bloooog."

The only problem about using the blog as a wondrous record during this wondrous wondrous time, is that there is no fucking time in which to write anything except random fragments. But fragments I will write, because I want to get this shit down if it kills me (and it just might...)

With astonishing speed and efficiency, both sets of passports have arrived for our boys, including the U.S. ones. This is a huge load off our minds, as we were picturing last minute mad-dashes to the British Consulate and/or Chicago Passport Office. At the same time, it's unsettling, seeing both boys described as "British Citizen" on their UK passports. No they're not. Actually, yes they are, thanks to Mummy's celebrated Canterbury birth.

Seeing those little passports that will afford my sons unlimited access to all the pleasures the EU has to offer really drives it home. We're not quite going to be American any more. Jack, nearly five, is our gorgeous, golden, all-American boy. When he put on a baseball helmet the other day and started swinging around a bat and I lost it.

What are we DOING??

And everything suddenly becomes so thick with meaning. Our last Fourth of July, our last walk with the red painted wagon, our last visit to a restaurant where our boys are catered to with such cheerful spirit with all manner of crayons, chocolate milk, and chicken finger dinners.

(and on our long trip home from gramma's this weekend, what I hope will be our first and last, ever, trip to a grimy-assed McDonald's playland...)

(Because, you know, in England, a rest stop involves pulling off at picturesque country village and enjoying tea and crumpets while the children amuse themselves with tales of Narnia or by prancing around a maypole...)

We are living in limbo. Too soon to say goodbye, but soon enough to feel this sense of steady and inevitable withdrawal. I hear plans for events that will take place after we are gone. I sit and eat lunch with a friend, or make get-together plans with our neighbors, and wonder "how many more of these? Is this the last time? Is this? Is this? How can I make sure this moment is meaningful?" I end up dancing around the enormity of it all, and moan about the endless (and largely fruitless) house-showings, and make small-talk, but each time a certain heaviness presses more deeply, and I wish I could say something that makes everything more memorable, that does justice to how much I am going to miss these people who have become my family.

But it's too soon for tears.


Anonymous said...

I really hate to tell you this, really I do, but the first time my son (then 1) was in one of those ball pit playland sort of things was when we were visiting my brother-in-law and his family just outside of London. The big lunch out was at a family restaurant that apart from the warm beer, faux oak beams and chicken tikka masala could easily have been in New, versus "olde," England.

And the golden arches say french fry in every language :-)

But what an adventure for you all!!

Anonymous said...

I HATE goodbyes. I can only imagine how difficult this slow process must be. A change this big requires attention at this point, but with six weeks to go... ugh.

If it's any consolation they will probably go quickly. You'll be drinking tea and driving around in those wacky black taxi's before you know it.

moosh in indy. said...

BLOGHER IN MANCHESTER 2008. For those who were graced with your presence you will not be forgotten, for those that haven't had the pleasure you'll still be just as close in blogland.
I still got a little teary though, I will miss sharing a government with you.

Amie Adams said...

That does sound tough. It is hard to say goodbye.

MARY G said...

About the Narnia and maypole. Isn't GB the place where there is all sorts of public water to drink and few public WC's, and the USA, all sorts of public washrooms and no drinking fountains? Good thing you have kids with hose attachments.

sarah doow said...

I can't quite put my finger on it, but somewhere in here there's a rude joke about your birth being one of Chaucer's Canterbury tales ... Because you're old, get it?

S said...

moosh in indy said it -- i'll miss sharing a gov't. with you, EVEN IF IT'S A REALLY CRAPPY ONE.

you're all going to do so, so well.

Mimi said...

My husband (also English) thinks it's hysterical that his kids have American accents...

But what is funny, when we visit his family they pick up a little English accent and try to say wah'er all the time!

And it was our British Passports that took 6 weeks to come! What a PITA!

Good luck, and I've been there many a time moving country and leaving loved ones behind!

Lawyer Mama said...

Ahh, we'll miss knowing you're hear in the good old U.S. of A. You'll have to make friends with some expats so your boys can have a 4th of July celebration every year. Nothing says American Childhood like fire hazards in the hands of babes (aka sparklers).

Motherhood Uncensored said...

yeah. it sucks. i've got 2 more days of limbo.

Mom101 said...

I know what you mean, everything having meaning. I spent all winter thinking "Last Christmas in New York. Last winter coat I buy. Last time we have New Year's Eve when it's too cold to walk anywhere..." and now here I still am. Not in LA at all.

Which has nothing to do with your situation at all. I'm just avoiding the topic since I'm sad that our late night emails will have to be at like 4pm my time now.

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

I hate goodbyes. Hate them with the fiery passion of ten thousand suns. But if rest stops are how you described in England then, Dood, sign me up.

In the meantime, enjoy every day while you can. The memories are invaluable.

Julie Marsh said...

We employed the "ripping off the Band-Aid" approach when leaving New York. I couldn't have endured it any other way.

Her Bad Mother said...

It's NOT too soon for tears. Or am I just suffering from premature tearjaculation?

Anonymous said...

Too soon for tears?! It's never too soon for tears.... or maybe I'm just a crybaby.

This is the hardest part, and it sucks. Before you know it, you'll be making new friends over there and running up outrageous phone bills keeping in touch with people over here.

As far as looking for some meaning, why not have a cookout and invite all of your lovely friends and neighbors- a last hurrah. Having it planned, on the calendar, might ease that uncertainty of when is the last time. Plan it as close to your departure as possible, to maximize the mushiness of it all.

Ya know, cause you don't have enough to do before you move anyway....

Kaleigh said...

It's a little like the weaning process, no? I can't remember the exact last time my son nursed (I can with my daughter, but that's a story in itself). I knew, the last five or so times, that we were at the end, but which one would it be? And it's just as bittersweet.

That said, the internets will keep you close, and I can't wait to hear how your American family turns British. And how they don't. (My folks did the expat thing a couple of times when I was a kid, and it's so amazing what changes and what stays the same.)

And it's all right to cry.

Mimi said...

Aha! You're like me: really good at starting vast new complicated projects ... piss poor at ending things. I well know the feeling you describe. For example, getting my academic job offer in January and planning a move cross-country between then and July. So exciting! So depressing! Expressing? (no, that's not the right word -- you do enough of that already) Depciting?

Yup. It's a depciting time for you.

ewe are here said...

My husband doesn't get baseball at all... and I think cricket is ridiculous. So it's a draw in the old half and half household.

My boys have US and UK passports as well... I think it's great that they'll have choices about where they want to live and work when they get older. Plus, it's easier for either me or my husband to travel alone with them... we can each use our own 'set' with them.

Random Impressions said...

From one who seems to be a permanent resident of limboland. I have made the following moves en-famille in this calendar year:
1. Move from India to Northern Ireland in March
2. Back to India in April
3. Back to Scotland (Edinburgh) in June
4. Planning to move permanently to Australia in November
5. Love Edinburgh so much that aspire to come back here in 5 yr's time
Did I mention that I also went from full time mothering to full time working & my husband from full time working to full time daddying during the above course of time.
Key to preserving sanity therefore is enjoy the whole novelty & 'never' take connecting flights with < 6 hour stopovers (bound to lose your luggage otherwise)
Now you know why I have been missing from blogland

Tere said...

And yet, with little time and in fragments, you're capturing this experience so vividly!

Heather B. said...

I held in my tears before moving from DC and then one day, while walking around in Georgetown, I started to BAWL. It was all of that pent up fear and emotion of being in limbo and not being quite sure of what was next and the fact that I had to move to upstate fucking New York, where there are cows and shit.

I say cry away. It's cathartic. And people will be sympathetic and buy you many drinks. Trust me, it works.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I can convince FlapJackShack to flash-freeze some chicken fingers and send them to you along with a kid's menu and some crayons?

I have a suggestion, if you don't mind-buy Jack one of those disposable cameras, you can even get digital ones that take pretty good photos, and have him photograph his favorite places around the city. If you want to meet up anywhere, just give me a call, and that offer to help pack, or clean, or anything, still stands.

gingajoy said...

Folks. Thank you so much for being all sweet and supportive and shit. Tears have, indeed, already been shed. And there are shitloads more where those came from.


Random Impressions. You just made me feel physically sick. But see you in Edinburgh in 2012???

Fairly Odd Mother said...

It is never too soon for tears, is my motto. Enjoy your last few weeks; you have many adventures ahead of you!

Anonymous said...

You are making me cry you wanker.

Stop it.

seo firm said...

I can not put my finger on, but here is not a rude joke of birth is one of Chaucer,s Canterbury Tales ... Because you are old