One of the hardest things about living abroad, for me, is dealing with days like Saturday. When a child gets sick, my anxiety kicks in – because if something goes seriously wrong, I don’t have access to the kind of medical service I would in North America.
So when Mia’s fever spiked, I took out the acetaminophen and put on Planet Earth, for me as much as for her, and the whole family huddled on the couch to learn about marine life. I was thrilled to see that she was into it. I’d forgotten all about the appeal of nature documentaries until Rony asked us if we knew what a platypus was. We didn’t – but we do now.
When Mia’s fever broke and she was back to her regular old self, we headed out the door for a walk. It was late, but I’ve learned that going outside for our little walks is always worth it. This time, we explored the shoreline looking for obsidian. The rain had washed up quite a bit of it, and that little walk of ours shifted the mood of the day. Funny how a change of scenery can do that. Kind of magical, really.
We had a fitful night of fever and bad dreams, and Sunday was foggy, to say the least. Lack of sleep really affects my ability to motivate myself to do anything at all. Nonetheless, we managed to get the house in decent shape, then drove up and down a winding road for Sunday lunch with Rony’s family. The kids fell asleep in the car on the way back, and we had a deliciously quiet house for an hour or so. I tried to sleep. Didn’t work. But silence! Oh, sweet silence.
I’m trying to teach Mia how to rhyme, and we’ve been reading Dr. Seuss’s ABC book. I should say, Rony’s been reading it to her. I’m not such a fan of Dr. Seuss, I don’t know why. At almost 2 years old, Anina loves this Baby Touch and Feel: Animals book. It’s so great to see her cross-legged on the floor with a little book on her lap!
As for me, I’ve started reading Out of Africa. I randomly came across the first line of the book while browsing the Internet, as one does when one’s children are sleeping but one cannot fall asleep, and remembered that I had it sitting there on my shelf.
“I had a farm in Africa,” writes Karen Blixen, “at the foot of the Ngong Hills.” I love that first sentence. It’s so evocative and dreamy, so mesmerizing. Full of longing, too, because the author is thinking back to a life that now belongs firmly in the past. I wonder if I will one day sit at a desk somewhere, watching the snow fall on the trees outside, and write something along the lines of “I raised my children near a volcano in Guatemala.”
They say we should we live our lives like a book we’d like to read. I’m prone to questioning “them” and their “shoulds”. But when I’m not totally sleep-deprived, I do think life is a fascinating thing. And if we don’t put it down on paper, or make the camera blink, who will?
“Instructions for living a life.
Tell about it.”