Thursday, July 1, 2010

I've Got Sunshine

I don't normally underestimate the impact transitions will have on my girls, but there's no denying that so far this move has been harder on the kids than I expected. I was prepared for them to struggle later--while we were in the States maybe, or after we'd arrived in Japan--but I didn't expect them to have trouble before we left Sicily. Here, our surroundings are familiar; we're just sleeping in a hotel--and normally my girls love sleeping in hotels. Of course, now I understand that these familiar surrounding might be part of the problem--we're home, so why can't we just go home?--but when I was anticipating our move, this part was supposed to be easy.

We've been spending hours at the pool, eating in restaurants, ordering gelato, and playing with friends. We've been watching movies in bed, planning picnics and park trips and bowling dates, and telling lots and lots of stories. All our 'in transit' days so far have been summery and peaceful and fun, but neither of the girls seems totally happy or at ease. They aren't sleeping well. They're having breakdowns over ice-cream. They both suspect our room might be harboring tigers. At times, they're getting swept up in all the activity, of course, and when Katherine passed 'level one' at swim class, she got excited, but inside those busy bodies their little minds are both concerned.

I'm the opposite. I'm actually, really having fun. I thought I'd be brooding over the mindset of my daughters, but I'm not. (They'll be okay. They'll get through this transition. In the meantime, I'm always available to snuggle or listen or tell stories and Chris is the master at ridding a room of its tigers.) Instead, I feel like I'm on vacation, but without any of the pressure to sightsee. Suddenly, I don't have to worry about grocery lists or laundry piles or chores. There's nothing for me to clean up or organize or pack. All I have to do is lounge by the pool in my new pink cover-up and occasionally splash my girls. In the evenings, when my muscles are relaxed and loosened from the sun and my hair's still dripping wet from the shower, there isn't anything waiting for me to accomplish. I don't have anything to do, so I've been going to bed early. I don't know if it's the sleep or the sun or the swimsuit, but I've been feeling happier lately: more cheerful, more talkative, and more relaxed. The kids in my life--my kids and my kids' friends--somehow seem even more precious to me now. I'm playful.

Of course, I know I'm going to miss this place when we leave, but right now I'm just not feeling sad. I'm grateful for the friendships we've made here and the wonderful experiences we've had, but I'm also eager for our next adventure. I'm re-charged and ready to explore again. I'm starting to realize, too, that I don't always have to feel what my kids feel. Sometimes it's okay to be there for them, but to hold on to my own feelings in the process. Does that make sense? And hopefully, hopefully, if the girls see their mom being playful and happy and relaxed, they'll eventually stop worrying about this transition and start having fun. After all, we live in the Mediterranean (at least for a few more days)--and it's summer!

**Speaking of fun, this realization was brought to you by Bigger Picture Moments. (Come on, play!)**  


  1. I think you are right in that if you are happy they will feel more relaxed. Soak up every last minute of the Italian sun.

  2. I think you're right about being home but not being able to go home. I imagine that is hard on the girls.

    I'm so glad you're having some fun, relaxing days before you start the next leg of your trip, and I'll bet the girls will benefit from your upbeat mood. They'll probably start to feel more comfortable in the hotel soon, especially if Chris can chase away the tigers. Really, tigers can be such pests.

    Congratulations and hip, hip, hooray to Katherine for being promoted to the level 2 swim class! I always did think she had a little Ariel in her :)

  3. I'm so glad you're taking the time to soak it all in, and to relax :) You deserve it!!!

  4. So pleased to read that you are feeling much more relaxed before the next big step in all your lives. Hard for the girls as they probably do not understand why you are not already en route for Japan and the next big adventure.

  5. This post made ME so happy! Your sunshine is spreading!

    I've been worried about you guys and this transition, and somehow knowing that it's going well -- for you, emotionally -- is so relieving. I really think that within a few days, the kids will pick up on your effervescence and be playful and happy, too.

    Just keep swimming...


  6. I hope everything is going well for y'all. I'm so happy Katherine is enjoying swimming! I miss y'all and the quiet of Sicily already!

  7. SO glad that you are able to take it in stride. You are right. They will be fine, I am sure. I can't wait to hear more about the big move!