Our family has been in the US for one whole year now. I had the anniversary marked in our calendar but it passed with little pomp and ceremony, a bit like ummm, Valentine’s Day did too.
Still, it’s of course made me reflective. We may not have celebrated it with balloons and fireworks but upping sticks from a very happy, comfortable life in a Scottish city with an infant and making a home for ourselves here deserves a little recognition, even if it’s just a scratch on a calendar.
Wise souls say absence makes the heart go fonder. It’s true in many ways. I look back on Edinburgh with rose-tinted specs. I long for the chance to walk everywhere like you can there but forget how the weather was so crappy, I’d inevitably need to take the car anyway. I remember incredible views of hills and fields out our apartment windows but forget the granite griminess and stink of pee on hot summer streets which also comes with living in a city. I remember local folk so fondly but forget how the Edinburgh bus drivers are possibly amongst the most grumpy-assed beings I’ve come across on this planet.
These are the peripheral things though and my longing for them is easily soothed by looking around at the beauty gracing us here in our new home and, as I’ve said before, all the opportunities that brings (when the ground isn’t covered in perma-snow and black ice....)
What I really miss is the family and friends and as we get set to welcome a new being in our lives, I can’t help remembering how things were with my last pregnancy and how very different things it will be this time around.
Toddler Eliza wasn’t just my first baby, she was my parents’ first grandchild, my sister and brother’s first niece. As the countdown to her birth began I remember such lovely things – mum had offered to wash all the onesies we’d bought and called just to say how cute they looked dancing on the washing line in her garden, my sister’s unwavering support as fed-up and puffy-ankled, I pushed further and further past my due date.
Then there was the support which came after she was born and reality thundered home as I teetered on the first slippery rungs of early motherhood. Oh, the tears my mum and sister mopped! But that’s not forgetting the laughs they eked out of me when I was so sure I’d lost my sense of humour forever.
And then there were those golden friends. There was the one who took me on a bus with Eliza for the first time – a task which had seemed nigh on impossible! She was the very same who expertly helped me manoeuvre my boobs as I got to grips with breast-feeding.
There were others who’d been small players in my life until I became a mother and whose advice and support via the medium of emails and phone calls, propelled them into cherish-for-all-time friends status.
And in the year which has rolled around since we moved Stateside, we’re not the only ones amongst our friends who’ve been creating new babies. Sadly, there are those who’ve experienced loss and crushing disappointment too. What I’d give to be able to celebrate those with the highs and cuddle and cry with those who’ve suffered such unimaginable loss in person. There are times when the phone just doesn’t quite cut it.
But here’s to our year. We’ve worked hard at it – finding new friends, learning to stop for school buses, fathoming language nuances along with a gazillion weird and wonderful pizza toppings (I still haven’t figured out what on earth a ‘Grandma’s’ is), and most importantly, conceiving a new baby. Phew!
So what will our next American year have in store as we go from family of three to one of four? Who knows! I guess that’s what makes our adventure here so exciting, even when we miss our loved ones terribly at times.
One thing is certain though – it will be a year of little sleep and a lot of take-out. So maybe I’ll finally get to the bottom of a 'Grandma’s Pizza' after all...