So what do I make of parents, children, obligation and entitlements?
I was feeling pretty foul today; raging at the uncertainty and tired of the insomnia, and weary from living in a state of readiness unknowing when we'll get the command, leap over borders and go. There are piles of things, detritus from my closet of doom littering the wave lines of my floors. Things need sorting and putting away. Things need selling. Things need purging.
And suitcases need packing. Stella and I have decided to take our vacation, contract or no, move or no, we're going. Now, visas needed transferring from one passport to another. A trip to the airport immigration office slated to eat up our entire afternoon.
Yet. My girl who doesn't sleep, she put her head down on her Papi's pillow and closed her eyes. I left the piles to be piles, trusting that she'd wake in time for us to make it to the visa office. I laid down next to her, and closed my eyes too. This, her first nap with her face squished into a pillow, was to be savoured.
She stayed that way, soundly sleeping for two hours. And I did too.
We almost missed the immigration office. But we didn't. We got to the airport and everything worked out. Everything will be fine. People always say that in crisis, in the face of tears and stress. You never believe them, do you.
But then it is. And you are. And you do.
We're moving. We're really moving. Maybe in as little as six weeks from now.
But we don't really know.
We still don't know if we're going to take a vacation this summer. If our cats will stay in Japan, and break my heart. Or if they will become Canadian mouse hunters, or possibly American living room lords, and empty my bank account.
I don't know.
I'm not sure what awaits me where we're going. I don't know the degree of the heat, or the weight of the humidity, or the vehemence with which the traffic blares, or the brightness of strangers' smiles.
I don't even know when I can tell you where we're going.
I don't know if I'll be retching my guts out, the price paid for unnameable fruit, luscious and ripe. I don't know what lusty spice awaits, what sour piques will awaken the palate. What strange textures, and unknown flavors will capture my heart. I know nothing of the islands we'll visit, of the sandcastles we'll make, the white-knuckle flights on dodgy airplanes, under the burden of broken air conditioning and a mysterious stomach bug.
I don't know if I should get a typhoid vaccination. Or how I'll get a mumps vaccine for my girl before we leave. Or a final shot inoculating her against polio. And do I need to horde children's Tylenol? Sunscreen? Multivitamins? Headache pills? Natural insect repellent? Children's books? WIll I need sweaters? Do pack them away and risk mouldering? I need a new pair of jeans, but is there a point? Will I even wear them there? Are sundresses to shoulder-baring and indecent?
I do know that I'm excited. In this moment right here, after a noodle dinner with my family and an evening bike ride, I'm happy. I know that some days are hard. And some are wonderful. I know that sometimes I cry, and sometimes I get on with it, and clean out the closet, making piles, this one to keep, this one to sell, this one to toss. And some days, even, deep down in hidden depths I relish the adventure, and feel lucky that I have this story to tell, this story that I don't yet know.
Small Stylers! I've missed you. I've got some exciting news to share, Miss Stella Bella turned TWO a couple weekends ago. And what a weekend it was. Three days off with the Chef, an anniversary celebration for the two of us (wagu beef yum), a barbecue with friends, and a co-birthday in the park with Stella's friend who is two days older.
Can you believe it? Two years ago, we were just setteling in to live with a baby, a baby who wouldn't sleep, fussed and fussed and fussed, and needed constant hushing and loving and bouncing and rocking and nursing.
Now, here we are, with a walking, talking, lovely little being who can empty her own potty, put away her own toys, carry an umbrella (sort of) stir the cake batter, wash the dishes (well, she thinks she can), make funny jokes, and cheer up crying babies.
We've also got a two year old, full of tantrums, opinions, and NO I WILL NOT GET ON THAT BIKE THE ONE WHICH I PREVIOUSLY LOVED AND INSTEAD I"LL JUST SCREAM ALL THE WAY TO DAYCARE and then, MY GOD WOMAN, WHY ARE YOU TAKING ME OFF THIS BIKE I MUST NOW GENTLY PLACE MY BODY ON THE GROUND, BUM UP IN INFANT POSE AND SCREAM AND HOLLER AND REVEL IN THE GOREOUS ECHOY PARKADE and oh look, THE LOBBY ECHOS EVEN LOUDER WHEN I SCREAM SO ARRRGGGGGHGHGH.
The week right after her birthday was pretty much that. Every day. All the time. I dropped her off at daycare and told the teachers, Good LUCK! And I may or may not have offered her, free of charge, to an admiring shop attendant who was remarking on her kawaiiatude.
As much as I mourn her babyness, with all of it's chubby sweetness and toothless innocence, I'm so proud of this wee girl. This little light of mine, she hugs her friends good bye. She offers other kids toys. She pats babies when they cry. She helps hatless friends retrieve their head coverings. She eats her spinach. And tabasco. And pizza pizza pizza. And when her father and I are distant and annoyed at each other after the stress of a long day and uncertainty of the upcoming months, she asks Mr. Chef and me to play Ring Around the Rosie.
We all hold hands, husha husha, we all are love.
::: First ::: rain coat - gifted by Nannie // jeans - Old Navy, Gifted by Auntie Carly // umbrella - Vilac
::: Second ::: top - Atsuyo Et Akiko // skirt - Baby Gap // tights - H&M
::: Third ::: Dress - Tang'Rolou