It’s all been too much. We, collectively, are exhausted. It is time to stop.
We’ve been on the move for over a year. In American style, we’ve overscheduled ourselves. In ex-pat style, we’ve left no days away from school empty.
There is so much to do here. Day trips to cheese farms, windmills, or museums, weekend trips to Brugges or Gent, week long trips to Paris, Rome, Berlin, Cairo, Morocco, Malta? It is all possible, but when to let an opportunity slip away?
There is a compulsive nature, even an anxiety, to the travel here. There are moms here who have told me to make a check-list of all the places you want to go. Prioritize that list and plan out each school break and long weekend for the rest of your stay. “You never know when you’ll be sent home. Take advantage of every opportunity or you’ll regret it later.”
Regret it later? Don’t get me wrong. I love to travel. It is a passion. I love the people, the architecture, the food, the art, the light, the water of new places. But I look at my family and see that they are bleary-eyed from sleeping in so many different beds. I realize that my children have lived on a diet of hamburgers and chicken nuggets for weeks. I see a house in desperate need of attention: an office overflowing with papers, drawers full of clothes too small.
Putting Audrey to bed one night during our recent trip to The States, she asked me, “Mommy, do we live here now?” It broke my heart to realize that she had slept in four beds in the prior 10 days and was no longer sure where home might be.
So, I’ve postponed our trip to Provence. That 13th century house in the picturesque French village will have to wait for another time.
And we are here, in our little Dutch Huis. Jordan is playing with nesting dolls on the living room floor. Audrey is upstairs trying on play clothes. Jack is sound asleep at 9:00 am. The weather is a balmy 80 degrees and uncharacteristically sunny. Maybe we will bike to the beach. Maybe we will do a tour of neighborhood playgrounds. Maybe we will stay here and read stories, play games, or admire the flowers blooming magically in our back yard.
It is time to breathe.