Wednesday, April 06, 2011
What, or who, we're leaving behind
Did I forget to mention Ian isn't coming back to America with us?
Not right away, anyway. We are leaving him behind to get on with finishing, or at least somehow wrapping up, the farmhouse project--no, it's not done--while we get on with reclaiming our former life and homestead.
Daunting is not a big enough word.
And is this arrangement even sensible? I don't know. But I do know that we are ready, and Ian isn't quite, and without that monthly rent check to keep us buoyed financially, my constant suggestions we go to Paris, or the alps, anywhere but here, each and every weekend and school holiday become even more fiscally delusional than they already were. (This is not why we're coming home early, mind you, just one of the factors.)
I will readily admit to being a high maintenance wife here in France. Knowing that Paris, the Pyrennes, Brittany, and the Mediterranean, not to mention all of western Europe is just a train ride away is a constant distraction. I can see Ian's productivity tripling with us out of the picture for a few months. (No longer than four.)
I crawled into bed with Esther the other night to help her warm up her ice floe mattress--it gets so cold, the cotton sheets feel wet. We wiggled and snuggled into each other, fondling the hot water bottle with our feet, desperately willing away the frigid air under the covers and willing the heat of our bodies into the the sheets and beyond.
Finally, Esther said, “When I was in the kitchen just now, it was like a button had been pressed and suddenly I could imagine what it’s going to be like without Daddy in America with us.”
Ouch. I've been waiting for this detail to sink in. I haven’t located that button yet. I am in complete denial. I am forced to forge ahead, not think about it too much, to take whatever comes my way and hope I will rise to the occasion, tap into my inner pioneer woman, and not take my frustrations out on my kids too much.
Is it sane? This plan of ours? I don't know.
I can’t stand the thought of him here, across the ocean, and us back there. While I'm not too concerned he will go looking to the toothless, house-dress sporting widows in the area for private French lessons, I will be worried for him every day. He will be pining for us, his daughters and his trouble and strife, that's me, every day. He loves being a husband and a father. This much I know.
He came up behind Esther at the computer last night, and carefully gathered her still wet- from- bathing hair off of her neck and twisted it into a ponytail in his large hands. He said nothing.
He didn't need to.