I've been told many times in the past month to focus on myself.
"It's time to take care of yourself, the kids will manage, your main objective needs to be getting better."
I've winced through the idea of the little travellers "managing". No mother ever wants her children to HAVE to manage without her, and I've certainly spent many hours wondering how they will.
It's not about me needing to feel needed.
It's about me not wanting them to feel alone.
Halloween is our favourite holiday. It began for us in Canada, rugging up in snowsuits with costumes stretched over the top, little Michelin characters everywhere. Houston was setting up a stand at the end of the street and giggling at the outfits, Americans take their Halloween very seriously, the Father and Son Tootsie Roll remains to be my favourite, second to the Christmas Tree that arrived at the house and asked for a power outlet so she could "light herself up". Qatar has also been fantastic, our neighbour Bonnie decorates better than anyone, and the kids wait patiently to watch her house transform each year.
I bought the costumes weeks ago and we had a trial run for a day at school, but I had some concerns about how it was all going to come together on the big night. The fourth little traveller had the zombie costume, but he required make-up. I know this is a ridiculous thing to be worried about in the big scheme of things, but all I could think of was how disappointed he was going to be if he didn't have the right face. These things are very important to our fourth traveler. The outfit always has to be just right.
I went out for dinner and a movie with girlfriends last night, when the second bottle of wine was ordered, the movie idea was cancelled and we settled in for a chat. At one point I went to talk about the little travelers and not being with them for Halloween, the tears were right there, the lump forming slowly in the back of the throat. "I'm not sure I can talk about it.." we moved on.
It was no co-incidence that I chose to be with my childless friends last night, I'm taking baby steps towards seeing other families, of being reminded that I'm here in the most unfamiliar situation. Alone.
Not lonely, just alone.
This morning G sent me pictures of Halloween, this put the biggest smile on my face.
One of my most favourite men in Qatar, applying face paint to my very favourite Zombie. We have beautiful friends.
The first little traveler made a cake, there was a picture of G holding a knife ready to cut it. All my worries about him not having a birthday disappeared.
Nobody wants to have to manage, but they can, and they will.
It's going to be okay. It's going to take forever, but it's going to be okay.