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One Year

My eye has been twitching since my boys started school three weeks ago. It stopped whilst I was in *Stockholm, Sweden, having a lovely trip and a break, but then started back up within five minutes of participating in the school run on Monday morning. Even if I am early, the children are being beautiful angels, the sun is shining, we have remembered all our homework, snacks, and who is participating in Jeans for Genes day, my eye will still twitch. My body just knows that the school run is horrible, even if my brain is trying to be positive. Mr. K waking up consistently at five in the morning is probably not helping (he has had so much worse sleep in the past I cannot even complain about this).

I find the days go faster when the kids are in school, and this is NOT what I want. It is difficult to establish any type of flow in working when you know that in four or less hours you will be rushing off again. I find myself longing for Canada, where I can expect to have seven hours of uninterrupted time, not because the school day is longer, but because the school run is less mad and likely my children will all be travelling by bus to school. Of course, I will be back to teaching, so I can add that insanity to the mix, although I am kind of looking forward to this. I don't think my children believe me when I tell them that I usually teach voice, piano, and theory to more than just my own children. If you live in Ottawa and want to be on my waiting list for fall 2020, please let me know! I will be starting late, but I am hoping to establish a small studio during the 2020-2021 year.

Which brings me to this. I have ONE YEAR LEFT IN ENGLAND. It is on my mind constantly. Oh look, my last autumn, my last first day of school with uniforms, my last pumpkin spice latte in this country, my last homesick Thanksgiving. If this sounds dramatic, that is because it is. I am privately quite dramatic and my relating to the characters of Wuthering Heights really should not surprise anyone who knows me well. Heathcliff is my secret twin although I prefer to kill with kindness. Different weapons, same goals.

On Wednesday I went out for a dinner with a group of moms I had never met before. We were brought together through our experiences in parenting children with autism and the magic of the internet. It was slightly hilarious as we all separately approached the restaurant hostess and asked about a reservation full of people that we don't know for an unknown number of guests. I sat beside a pleasant American. I asked her if it was her first year in Cheltenham since we both understood that we were here on diplomatic postings. She informed me that she will only be here for a year. A lot of people are here for six months, one year, two years... four is fairly rare. And yet, I cannot stop my bittersweet feelings from leaking into everything I do in this "last year." I am equally happy to be returning to Canada. Half of me wants to stay here forever and half of me dreams of Canada. All of me knows that I am a triangle, and have been for a while, so I will never really belong anywhere ever again. All of me is fine with this.

I feel like I am behind in a million projects, because I am. I told you that I am dramatic. Dramatic people who are also ambitious are a barrel of laughs. My life is a dark comedy for sure. I also feel like I need to visit every place on my ever expanding list of things to see while I live here. I also feel like I need to relish each moment with my family because the future is always uncertain and children grow up at an alarming speed. I also feel grateful for it all. It's a confusing place to be and way to feel, and yet I am happy. The true secret to happiness is gratitude. Gratitude and chocolate.

Today was earmarked as a day for writing in between chores and an appointment. The appointment has been cancelled because I have two unwell boys at home with me. Unfortunately, chores are never cancelled. One of the invalids is six years old and one of them is thirty seven. Neither of them is suffering too greatly, but they both needed a day of rest. So as I type this, a six year old has been visiting me in my office (bedroom). He likes to lay on my desk (bed) and stare at me. I cannot write when someone is watching me because I am the most introverted introvert that ever was. So my eye is twitching as I type and I am wondering what I will feed these two for lunch. I am also wondering which chores can I skip, because the sky today is a beautiful cloudless blue with the crisp feeling of autumn cutting through the warmth. Likely my last day like this in the UK. It's all I can do not to panic as I worry that I will waste it.

Two hours left before the school run.

What can be accomplished in a year? I would think both a great deal and not very much. My hope is to enjoy it all. I hope that autumn is long and exceedingly sunny. I hope that winter is cold and that we get at least one snow day (I apologize to everyone if my wish negates your wishes). I hope that Christmas is simple and that we are healthy enough to enjoy it this year. I hope for time with friends and people I love here in Cheltenham. I hope for a positive year of school for my boys. I hope for a beautiful spring and energy to get out and enjoy the beauty of it all. I hope for a cool summer (once again I apologize). Or at least a summer where days are hot but nights are cool- the dream. I hope for markets and ice cream trucks and mulled wine. Holiday treats and cosy nights at home. Copious amounts of sleep. Bonfires and fireworks and skies full of stars. And I really, really hope.... that my eye stops twitching.

*This was an adventure of a lifetime for me. I am so grateful that I was able to go and that my partner was able to hold down the fort while I was away. I'm sure his eye was twitching the entire time.

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