Friday, 25 March 2011

Laundry Therapy

Take the reds out of the washer and put the whites in.  Lots of scrubbing before hand, after all these are the boys school shirts and karate gi’s.   Hang the reds on the line in the still misty morning as the sun begins to rise and burn off the fog.  Walk the boys to school.  A little extra chatting on the way home.  Nurse the baby and put him down for a nap.  Laugh as he dances to the song his Fisher Price Aquarium plays.  Pull the whites out and revel in the sunshine as the mass of wet, wadded up laundry becomes tidy rows on the line.  Shake it out.  Put it up.  Breathe deeply.  This task, this day, is my therapy.  A respite from the myriad of unknowns.  Chaos to order.  Sunshine and lovely smelling laundry.  Two giant English bumblebees nearly the size of my thumb buzzing their working song and encouraging me not to start obsessing or panic.
Things feel a wee bit chaotic in my life right now.  We make a major international move in eight weeks, but still don’t know where to.  A simple task like brushing my teeth turns into, “Hmmmmm...if we only get the 500 lbs of shipped goods it doesn’t make much sense to bring the towels.  Funny though, I love these towels.  Bought them to match the downstairs bathroom at the old house.  Should I give them away?  Do you give away towels?  Throw them out?  I know they’re just towels, but...Oh and that ceramic dish, can’t see shipping that.  Then again the boys gave me that for Mother’s Day a 3 years ago.  It’d be a shame to get rid of it.  Baskets?  Are they worth shipping?  Of course if they decide to ship a container then maybe I will go ahead and bring the towels and the dish.  But then again...Oh Cori, stop!  You don’t know anything yet so stop thinking about it!” 
The good news is, it’ll all be decided and sorted in 8 weeks.  In the meantime, I’m searching for schools and filling out school applications and trying to tell by a website if my children will be happy there and get a good education.  I’m looking at houses and apartments in Sydney and Singapore and trying to picture us there.  The Sydney ones have big back yards.  How fun would that be?  We could get a dog.  A swingset for Ash.  Then again that’s a lot of mowing and I hear there are very big spiders.  The Singapore apartments all have pools.  Oooo...fun!  We could get in every day after school.  Then again there’s balconies.  Is there any way at all to convince Master Climber Middle Son to stay off of the railings?  I try not to imagine him plummeting to his death.  There are at least variations of the seasons in Sydney--it’s so stinking hot in Singapore.  But the boys would be in such a good school (if they could get a place) in Singapore.  I start to go round and round and round in my head.  Then I take a deep breath and remember that it always works out eventually.  If it hasn’t worked out, it’s not eventually yet.  
I finally found some tears about it all today.  I knew they were there.  Lurking.  Hiding out behind getting ready for trips and going on outings with my mom.  But I knew they were there.  Waiting to burst out when I could stop long enough to let them.  Maybe it was the slow, steady rhythm of the washing going up on the line.  Or the relief of the sunshine after months of grey.  Maybe it was that my mom left, and I’ll really miss her.  The lingering chatty-girlfriend time on the way home from school.  I don’t know for sure.  They just burst out.  Finally.  I just started sobbing at my kitchen table.  Sobbing about how frustrating it is to have so much up in the air.  Sobbing about how much work it is to try to figure it all out.  I sobbed about England. About the daffodils and bluebells and woods and lambs in the fields and the crazy gorgeous English countryside.  The castles nearby and the fantastic London so close.  Bodiam Castle and Hever Castle and Borough Market and Peter Pan Park and Portobello Road.  But mostly I sobbed about my friends.  About how much I love them and how sad I am to leave them.  About how pleasant it is to walk to school every morning and chat and figure out how the world ought to run and bemoan the fact that no one asks us to do it and about how much I’ll miss that.  Curry nights and girlfriend days and hugs and laughs and all of it. I finally have begun to acknowledge that this season really is coming to a close.  It’s been so fantastic in so many ways, and I’m so sad to see it go.  
I think I’ll just let myself cry a lot these next few weeks if I need to.  In some ways it’s like the laundry.  You sort out the memories and hang them on the line.  Fold them up and tuck them away.  
I sure wish I could bring the people with me, all my lovely friends.  I’ll have to make due with the memories I suppose, and do my best to keep in touch.  

4 comments:

Tara Wood, MA, CGE said...

I didn't have to move my family across the globe, but can totally relate to abruptly moving and the worry mixed with grief that come with it. The time we were offered the job to the time we pulled into our new home in Ohio was less than six weeks. I cried a lot those six weeks (and still do occasionally). Many sleepless nights were spent with my head spinning over what we should move, what should be tossed, how to coordinate movers and packers and good-bye parties. Life for us is an adventure. Scary to be pulled from our comforts but like you said, it somehow works out and there seems to always be good that comes from it. Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to hear how it all works out and where life takes you next!

Sean Patrick Butler said...

"In some ways it’s like the laundry. You sort out the memories and hang them on the line. Fold them up and tuck them away." Absolutely, Cori, so true and so beautifully put. It's wonderful and touching and tear-inducing to see all those memories up there on the line of your past, and so hard to take them down to make room for the next ones. Somehow it gets at the inevitable transitory nature of the journey of our life. Know, if nothing else, that as you go, our hearts go with you.... Love, Sean

Noel said...

How great is it that when you first were there friends was what was missing and now friends is what will be missed the most? I think that's pretty amazing.

Also, I want that dish with the butterflies on it, but not the towels.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Good luck - sounds so overwhelming. The good & the bad of being an expat :) XOL