Tuesday, January 29, 2008

An Overture to Motherhood

A British friend of mine sent this link to me yesterday. It is quite likely that my friends in the U.S. have seen this MONTHS ago, but what can I say, we live thousands of miles away and sometimes these things take time to reach these shores.

Mothers: watch and weep.
(Don't be distracted or distressed by the Korean title of the clip. There's very helpful English subtitles with this clip, which will come in handy when you're laughing at the "It must be your father's DNA" line and you miss the next bit).

Friday, January 25, 2008

My 300th Posting & (Nearly) Three-Year Anniversary

I always used to think that the big changes of my life occurred in September, centered around the start of the new school year. It also happens to be the month that I got married. But upon further reflection, I realize that most of my Big. Life. Changes. happened in January. 

To wit:
-When I finished university one semester early, it was in January that I found myself casting about, trying to figure out what to do with my life while all my mates were still in school.
-When we moved to London, it was in January that I found myself wandering around a new city, trying to find a flat for us, and learning to love a hot cup of tea on a grey day. As I unpacked boxes in our new house, I found out I was pregnant with Thing One. (Not too many life changes at once.)
-When I started training in earnest for the London Marathon, it was in January. I also started this blog nearly three years ago today.
-And now, with Thing Two off to reception for the whole day, I now find myself trying to figure out what to do with my life (now that it's mostly mine again) and how to accomplish it.

It's a funny location to be in, looking back and looking ahead, but this is where I find myself these days. 

One Sunday, just before Christmas, I met an earlier version of myself. She was a 29-year-old woman who had just moved here from the United States. She now was trying to navigate London and get to grips with all the things that were the same, but different about living here. Her husband was off working, leaving her to figure all the little things of life in London. It reminded me so much of my early days here, and it seemed, paradoxically, that it was just yesterday and so very long ago.

Mr. MarathonMum and I then did the math. If we arrived here nine years ago, and that seemed like just yesterday, nine years from now Thing One will be 17 years old. "We're at the half-way point," Mr. MarathonMum joked, but I for one, DID NOT find that funny.

It seems apt that my 300th posting would be so retrospective, and is both looking back and looking ahead. I've got a plan for what I'm going to do now, but I still need the crucial notebook to get it all down on paper. (Those who know me well will appreciate my need for stationery products to get things moving.)

That fantastic write Anonymous once said, "It is the memory that enables a person to gather roses in January," to which I would add, "It is the memory, and the aspirations, that makes things happen in January."

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Eve 2007

This year, without even trying, we had the funnest and funniest New Year's Eve EVER.

I certainly have had my fair share of fun and memorable (or not, depending on the amount of champagne drunk) last days of the year. Here's a sampling:
• In the 1970s, our family spent every Dec. 31 dining at the Hanover Steakhouse in New Jersey, now, sadly defunct.
• In 1986, I was asked to the senior prom.
• In 1989, I broke up with the same boyfriend who asked me to the senior prom.
• In 1993, my boyfriend (not the same as the above, but who I hoped would be my fiancee by then, but wasn't) and I paid over the odds to eat at a restaurant in Philadelphia with our friends. At 2 a.m., I watched him ring in the new year by changing a flat tire on I-95.
• In 1994, my fiancee (he finally asked! Hurrah!) and I watched a man shoot potatoes in the woods of Pennsylvania.
• In 1998, our first in London, we excitedly turned on the BBC at midnight to see the London celebrations, but all we got was a BBC reporter standing next to Big Ben as it chimed in the New Year and the reporter saying, "It's now 1999." A damp squib, even if we didn't know what that meant at the time.
• In 2000, we rang in the new millennium in style, with Thing One in a Baby Bjorn on my chest, we watched the fireworks on the Thames as we stood beside the Cutty Sark with our great friends from Chicago, who flew in specially for the occasion.
• In 2003, we spent the night in a swanky hotel in London.
• In 2006, hours after landing from a trip to Copenhagen, I fell asleep on the sofa.

But I digress. I wasn't particularly excited about New Year's Eve this year. In fact, when I was talking to a friend earlier in the evening and she asked what my plans were, I told her that New Year's Eve was best celebrated in your 20s, and best ignored thereafter. Thing One and Thing Two wanted to stay up until midnight. I told them that was only possible if they took a nap. As if. So then I told them we would celebrate New Year's Eve with our good friends from Moscow (at 9 p.m. GMT). We watched the fireworks in Red Square, called the grandparents in the US to wish them a Happy New Year, and we packed them off to bed. Or so we thought.

As we settled down to watch "The Bourne Ultimatum", we could hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet upstairs. We confidently said they'd be asleep soon. At 9:45 p.m., a note was tossed down from above. "Is it New Year yet?" it asked. "No!" we yelled up. "Now go to sleep!"

Thirty minutes later, thump-thump-thump-thump as little boys descended the stairs from above. "Is it New Year yet?" they asked, as they burst into the room. "No!" we said. "Now go to sleep!" said Mr. MarathonMum, while I said, "You guys are doing a great job of hanging tough. Only an hour and 45 minutes to go!"

Fifteen minutes later, thump-thump-thump-thump as little boys again descended the stairs. "Don't worry about us," Thing One announced to the room. "I've set up activities upstairs to keep us awake. Is it New Year yet?"

Once the movie concluded and we could hear enjoyment of the myriad of activities Julie McCoy, I mean Thing One, had set up for them, and realizing there was no way they were going to miss the London celebrations, we called up: "You can come down now." Amazingly, Thing One (age 8) was still wide awake, and Thing Two (age 4) was hanging in there.

We watched the New Year's pregame on the various channels and waited for the London extravaganza to begin. Things have changed considerably since our first New Year's Eve in 1998. At 11:50 p.m., snuggling on Mom's lap and holding her hand for comfort, Thing Two could hang in there no longer and he was asleep. So close, and yet, so far.

At midnight, we watched the amazing fireworks at the London Eye and we rang in the New Year having had the funnest and funniest New Year's Eve yet.