So we’ve been back in Blighty for two whole weeks. Life is still a bit blurry and I have that permanent on edge feeling, wondering which piece of annoying of French admin I’ve forgotten to sort out. But being home is already starting to feel like our norm.
Here is what I’ve learned so far…
#1 Kids move on quickly. Their home is definitely where their hat is, or should I say where their mum and dad are. They haven’t once mentioned missing their life in Geneva. Quite the contrary, the eldest skipped through airport security at Manchester shouting that he didn’t have to speak French anymore. Then woke up the following morning proclaiming that he was happy to be back in his home country as there were no flies in the house and he could eat lots of sliced white bread. Oh, for life to be that simple. I meanwhile am weeping at the memory of our local French bakery…
#2 Simple is best. We’re four weeks into the boys’ school holidays and have (gulp) another six weeks to go. With no beach getaway planned due to the big move I felt slightly sick at the start. But we’ve fallen in to a relaxed routine that seems to suit everyone. It’s quite liberating not having a fixed agenda after months of 6.30 wake-ups for the Geneva school run. The boys are going to bed late but then we lie in until nearly 9. A luxury. Yes there have been some hairy moments. Namely enduring a sweaty softplay in the dodgy part of Leeds. But give the boys a giant box of Lego, unlimited Paw Patrol episodes, interspersed with trips to the local park and they’re as happy as when we’ve crippled ourselves physically and financially at a theme park.
#3 Finding tens is easier than you think. It doesn’t always have to be about speedboat trips and lake swims (although I’m still clutching on to those memories). I’ve had lots of stop-the-time moments since we’ve been back. Such as seeing the eldest holding hands with his cousin and watching them build dens together in a stunning National Park. And not forgetting the stupendous Yorkshire countryside. In its full glory it’s unmatchable. I’m appreciating being closer to family, the simple joy of rediscovering little haunts and being able to spend a whole summer with my crazy brood (while obviously trying to avoid social media updates of Geneva escapades!!).
#4 It rains A LOT in the UK. Well definitely up North. Our daily pattern involves the sun coming out, excited boys, get them ready for the park which in inevitably takes an age, open the door, run back inside. Sulk. Watch Paw Patrol. I’m trying not to get too disheartened about this matter and refuse point-blank to put the boys in trousers. Wellies and waterproofs will become essential purchases and the boys and I will have to learn to accept the soggy summers.
#5 It’s lovely to be home. Maybe the novelty will wear off but so far so good. It feels comforting, like putting on your PJs after a long day at work. Admin is easier, shopping is easier; life definitely feels less complicated. A bit less WOW, but familiar and reassuring. Two minutes after arriving at our little Surrey house the husband and I were quaffing wine at our neighbours’ house, like we’d never been away. With seven boys between us it’s going to be noisy, but lots of fun. We also got a bit overexcited about finally being able to decorate a house and bought garish lime green and eye-popping sky blue paint samples. We’ll probably bottle it and go with a whitewash, but on the cusp of 40 it’s great that we can make a home of our own. I’m just dying to burn the purple curtains!
Admittedly, we’ve still got quite a few hurdles to get over after the summer holiday haze. A new school, making friends, starting a business from home…But the transition has been pain free so far. After all my twittering, it irks me to say that the husband is usually right. “We’ll be happy to be home”, he told me months ago. Turns out we are. Well for the next three years at least.