Creating pockets of home; for the times you are stuck in an in-between.
We are currently on a precipice, dangling, dangling, dangling, waiting to jump (or is it fall? I guess that depends on which moment you ask me). It’s a mixture between precipice and limbo, an anticipation of what’s beyond the door while standing in a waiting room of all that is familiar yet displaced.
We’re staying for weeks at my in-laws, a house that I have visited so many times before, but for the first time with the knowledge that there is no home to return to. We’re suspended. Vaguely homeless but not at all homeless, our things have all been packed into boxes, taped up and taken away. We have a suitcase worth of things each, the bare minimum in a house full of other people’s things. Our in-between-home.
While Toby and I can be comforted by what’s to come, at 21 months Eilish is instead unsure and understandably emotional. There have been some trying moments, and some harder moments, and sleep has gone out the window in favour of some desperate 8pm drives to the coast. The good has outweighed the hard for sure, but it’s meant a lot of disruption of our rhythm and a loss of surroundings that are familiar and known. Toby and I have instead become the safe place, and we have had to work at creating our pockets of home.
For those of you who may experience a similar situation - as short-term as a holiday or as long-term as a year’s travelling - I thought I’d share the ways in which we’ve created home in a space that isn’t ours, but is for now
Prioritise connection over all else. I’m aware this is often not always completely possible, and we’ve experienced some seriously frustrating times. But with all the moving around and the change in scenery, it’s meant that I’ve let work slide a little, and made room for being almost completely present instead (hence this being my first blog post in a while!). Days have often felt almost far too long and I’ve been touched out far more times than I care to remember, but we are now beginning to feel the benefits. Eilish has been mainly contented throughout this process, and she is now really quite settled into this new place.
Things help. When considering what to pack and what to send, I’ve had to make some concessions, a few well-chosen items that may look unessential but have been worth their weight in gold. A too large copy of The Story Orchestra, a candle holder and a few beeswax candles, a small jug for water, and two very essential and completely bedraggled brown bunnies. These few things are my way of carrying forward those that were before for Eilish, representative of the pinpoints in our daily lives which could always be relied on. Which brings me onto my next point…
Bed down into the rhythm. While our days often look wildly different to our very quiet ones at home, I’ve held steadfastly onto some things for the sake of constancy. While we usually had a bath every other day, a bathtime every evening has become the norm. Porridge has become the absolute for breakfasts. The tortoises are visited immediately after that’s eaten. And books have become even more of a staple of our day to day lives. Giving Eilish the power to know what’s coming next even in the most unsure of times has been so important.
Exploring the outdoors. We’re incredibly lucky with our current location and have access to so many beautiful places on the Suffolk coast, and so far it’s been our small daily adventures that have returned a piece of the normality. Hours on the beach have given us both breathing space, have been a site of mutual fulfilment, and, away from the noise of work and moving details and walls that are a little unfamiliar, we’ve had time to be just us two.
Be kind. To yourself, to your partner, your children. It’s been harder than I anticipated, and we’ve had far more screen-time than I care to admit, but now is a time that I’ve purposefully had no expectations of our days and had to tell myself multiple times that their outcome has no bearing on myself as a mother, nor Eilish’s own development. Every day is just as it is.
But also, right now I remind myself that there are twenty-six days until we board a plane, and every day that I get to spend by the sea with my loves is always a good day indeed.