A Letter To My Children Six Months In
My little hero's - Finn and Clara - this week marks six months since the three of us boarded a plane to the relative unknown. Look how far we've come! Do you remember that time before we moved, when the house was half packed up already, we (I) decided to order a Chinese banquet and put Singapore Tourist Board video's on the TV for us to watch? Do you remember we all sat on the floor in deathly silence eating chewy and tasteless springrolls and looking at images of the place we were to shortly call home? The food was terrible and would go on to cause SO much drama with you Finn. So many tears and overwhelming feelings of worry for you and ineptitude for me. In fact, if it hadn't been for a few seconds of seeing fountains with disco lights on the telly (you were both verrry excited by these) I think my lame attempt at Singapore-prep would have ended up with the two of you refusing to get on that plane. Thank god for disco light fountains 'eh? And also, sorry that we've lived here for six months and haven't gone to see them in real life yet, we will one day, promise! Do you remember writing your names on your boxes of toys in case they got lost? You were both so serious with your doodles and name writing, and then so utterly devastated when you realised the boxes were being locked in the container and wouldn't be seen again until we were all in Singapore weeks later? The same container you both inspected when it arrived, and eagerly tracked online just to be sure those boxes were definitely going to arrive (never mind the fact that we were all in the middle of nowhere in France at the time, and every time you asked if we could check where the ship was I'd drive us to a local tourism office to use their free wifi, just to reassure you). It's funny thinking back on those days now. You two and I became a little team. Our expat adventure started the day we packed the first box, weeks and weeks before we finally got to Singapore. The build up was awful wasn't it? It dragged on and on, you both started having trouble at pre-school and nursery, you started sleeping in bed with me as you would cry out in the middle of the night that you were being forgotten if I left you alone. You were too young to really understand what was going on, and I was too much of an expat novice to know what was going on either. I'm sorry that the best I could do was wing it. But hey! We all got to Singapore didn't we?
We got on that plane and we held each others hands as we took off, by this point we were all just relieved the move itself was almost over. And you were both so perfectly behaved on that flight, your first flight, so much so that the air hostess couldn't believe you'd never flown before. If ever there was a good omen, it was that. The shitty part of moving had been left behind in England, everything was feeling better already. My only criticism of you both, a habit which you continue to torture me with, is that you never nap at the same time on flights. I spend 14 hours alternating my undivided attention between the two of you. If we could sync naps that would be great. Seriously, great.
Anyway, finally stepping out of arrivals at Singapore felt good didn't it? Daddy was waiting right there for us, you guys were both well rested and put on a great display of love for him whereas I was just knackered. The jet lag was a beast though wasn't it? We'd never dealt with it before, I hope you don't remember, but those first few days were rough. We existed off a diet of ham and cheese croissants from starbucks and ice cream, and that's about it. I'm pleased to say that your diets have improved somewhat since then. I mean look at you now you little intrepid explorers- you eat local foods, like a local! Six months ago the mere suggestion of that would have caused meltdowns.
Finn, you in particular, have become a new kid in the last six months. You've come out of a shell that I hadn't acknowledged existed. I didn't know you had such confidence, you've always been so cautious, but here you've found yourself. Gone is the delicate little boy we knew in England, you're more sure of yourself now, you try things and are excelling in adapting to a new life. You tell jokes, you create stories and games and are always the first kid in the playground to form a mini gang for maximum mischief making power. You're such a happy and fun person to be around and never fail to lift my mood on even the worst of days.
And Clara! My darling little whirlwind of laughter and mess. You're a tough little bean, always have been, and it's served you well. But you haven't found the move without challenges, you've had to navigate milestones amongst uncertainty and change. You arrived a nappy wearing, dummy sucking toddler and are now a proper little girl, ditching both nappies and dummies since we moved here. You've thrown yourself into life here, forming close friendships so easily whilst not forgetting your friends at home. What a caring and loving little lady you have shown me you are. I'm so proud of you, I really am.
I'm so proud of both of you. You never complain that we dragged you here, you both just take it all in your stride. You take everything in and have been fascinated to learn about all the cultures around us, from wandering around Little India around Diwali, to watching drummers and lions dancing for Chinese New Year. And yet you're just as happy to be left to run free on the beach chasing waves and wooping with joy, just as you did in Devon. You are both developing layers, interesting layers to your lives and it's so amazing to be part of that.
Whenever I have a wobble I just need to look at you both thriving in this life to remind myself why we did this. And you make me so certain that this is home, you are my home, and we are a team. You two, me, and your Dad. We're a team and we can do anything.