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Next Level

So here we are. New city, new occupations, new schools, new neighbourhood, new realities. Or nearly new. Four months in. Okay, three and a half. Fourteen weeks. Funny how we can make things seem shorter or longer depending on how we describe them.

This has been big. I knew it would be but I also didn’t know. In the way that you don’t know a thing until you’ve done it. Like having your first child, you know it’s going to change you, your sense of yourself and the world around you. Knowing this in advance, you read and shop and prepare as best you can and and and…it still hits you like a freight train. What you don’t and cannot know is that birth is just the starting gun for the endurance course of new parenthood.

In a life with more than the average number of relocations, I had dared imagine myself equipped and ready for this one. I had forgotten how, like with most challenging things, the mind protects you from the pain. Witness the births of another three children. And when it came to relocating again, mine had convinced me that I could never again feel the pain I felt leaving the UK.

It was lying to protect me.

Because the pain of this move has been next-level. I stared at this last statement after writing it, wondering if that was true.  Dramatic, perhaps. But our private agonies are unique to each of us.  Next-level for me may not even register for you. But leaving the small island for the big one was also leaving the setting of our children’s childhoods, the place we’ve lived the longest in the 25 years of our marriage. I didn’t even recognise that until we left. Did not appreciate how deep went my roots there until it was almost over.

I’m grateful that I had forgotten the pain of past transitions. Otherwise I would never grasp the opportunities of now. In time I will forget this pain also.

We will go back, and maybe it will feel like coming home, and maybe not. And that’s as it should be. Because home is up ahead.

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