As 2012 draws to a close, the New Year brings the prospect of auspicious change and new adventure to our dysfunctional unit of four.
The adventure kicks off with a trip back to the Motherland; the land that we try to forget, (at least until we catch a whiff of Marmite or watch an episode of Downton Abbey ….and fall to pieces in a nostalgic heap).
This trip is long overdue, mainly due to the tightness of the old man’s pockets, now that the cost has to cover four ‘adult’ seats in economy. As migrants, we have learned to conceal the innate homesickness that thinking about family on the other side of the world exacerbates, while we are in Sydney, but raw emotions will be brought uncompromisingly to the surface during our three week stay. Which is why these trips back create mixed feelings.
And so, after a 24 hour journey from hell, sandwiched between the ADHDer (who struggles to sit still for 5 minutes without drumming or kicking his feet into the back seat of the poor unfortunate in front of us), and the old man, (who finds that intoxication from alcohol miniatures is the best remedy for flying insomnia), I will no doubt alight from the aircraft, refreshed and looking as polished as Posh Spice, ready to embrace long lost relatives and old friends, (who mentally moved on from us a long time ago).
Our itinerary would test the organiser of a Royal tour. We will enjoy a brief respite at the old man’s family before being catapulted into another major voyage to the end of the earth in Brittany, France, made more anxious by the fact that the car we have rented (the cheapest in the ‘Budget’ car range) is not snow-worthy and a white Christmas is predicted. I am already anticipating a Christmas Day, buried in a drift somewhere on the autoroute between Calais and Caen, with only the perennial questions of the ADHDer to prevent us from falling into a hypothermic stupor.
Christmas week will be spent with my family, for the first time EVER. Dad has renovated the whole house to embrace his nomadic tribe who are flocking en masse from all corners of the globe to take full advantage of free grub and booze which makes up for the minor irritations of his prissy rules of having to remove our shoes each time we dare to walk on his off-white chenille rugs, being forced to consume alcohol 24/7 without respite, and play charades). The teens have been trained all year in how not to shovel food in their gobs, how to use a knife and fork properly, how not to sneak ‘like’ five times into every sentence, and they have been reminded to employ the words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ appropriately, and on NO ACCOUNT use the F word, no matter how excited or anxious they become. Above all, they must pretend to share some form of sibling bond, nurtured (obviously), by our perfect parenting skills.
I have specifically requested that the ADHDer not express the first thing that comes into his head, but to think first, (especially if it pertains to something Grandad does not need to know about our home life or his appearance); and that he
bore the pants off instruct all my relatives in the finer mechanics of the modern guitar, rather than us, for a change.
My whole family will be there…….judging our parenting. Hence the old man will no doubt be on the defensive so I will have to make sure that he is adequately plyed with enough whisky to gag him. I give it 48 hours before we have re-booked Le Shuttle and are traversing the French countryside, hotfooting it back to the UK and the safety comfort zone of his sane family.
And then we head onwards to Surrey, where we used to live, to old friends who would have forgotten about us if not for my poignant reminders on Facebook. To friends who have rightfully moved on socially since we left, but who haven’t had the heart to de-friend me and have a vague interest, no doubt, in seeing if the madness of our migration during mid-life crisis worked out for us.
And we will both amaze and horrify them with the tale of our next new venture, of being on the move again,(the consummate explorers that we are), and they will nod excitedly while secretly thinking that we are barking mad.
Which maybe we are.
For some find comfort and reassurance through a sense of belonging while others are energised by change.
January brings that move, those changes, another fork in the road of life. The excitement is in the not knowing whether it will work out, but not being afraid to try it nevertheless.
There’s no right way to live your life; you simply have to live it. ’To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before’.
The final frontier….maybe.
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