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Saying Good-bye

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My heart broke today…

Twenty-five years ago I made the monumental decision to take my children, leave America and live the rest of my life as an expatriate, in Norway.

When my children were small I had to send them back to the US every summer to visit their father. Putting three young children on an Airplane heading for the other side of the Atlantic was never easy for neither him, nor me. Those children are now grown with children of their own, our grandchildren. As fate would have it, three of them live in Norway and two in the US.

Three weeks ago their grandfather put the oldest one, Maren (eight years-old) on an airplane, to visit me here in Norway. Today, I sent her back to him.

While waiting at the gate this morning Maren fell asleep and before I knew it, someone from the airline had come to collect her for boarding. I woke her, took her in my arms and started to cry. I could see a line of people waiting for her to go, so they too could board (unaccompanied minors are always boarded first). I had no choice but to let her go…

I watched the beast intensely through a nearby window until every piece of luggage and passenger was onboard. Then lost sight as it was taxied away. But in my heart I could hear its mighty roar, as it whisked down the runway carrying my grandchild farther and farther away from me.

I stood there a while groping with my emotions before leaving.

Such is the life of an expat.

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No, you can not put your head through that fence!

I’ve been a mother for over half my life and throughout the years I think the word I’ve used most (and I’m sure my children will agree) is, NO!

It begins when they’re just babies crawling around on the floor with, “No, don’t put that in your mouth,” and doesn’t stop until one day you’re screaming, “No, you can not get a tattoo!”

We’ve all heard our children complaining, “You always say, no,” and we’ve complained about our own mother’s always saying no. We say it because it’s our job and it’s for their own good. Well, at least most of the time it’s for their own good.

I personally, hate saying no to my children. I want to give them everything. I want them to not just love me, but to like me too. I want to be their friend but instead, I’m their mother.

The good news is, once they grow up and have children of their own, they get it. 🙂

As you can see this doesn’t only apply to us human moms…

I call these two the brothers Grimm, they are always getting they're heads stuck in the fence and they're mother does not look happy!

I call these two the Brothers Grimm, they’re always getting their heads stuck in the fence and their mother does not look happy!

Mia & Khloe

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I’d like to introduce you to my girls, Mia and Khloe, otherwise known as Trouble and Double Trouble. Only Kidding – well, maybe not. I do after all walk them almost everyday, pick up their you-know-what and clean their feet, so they don’t track dirt all over my house. This list could go on and on…

Khloe and Mia

Khloe and Mia

What do I get in return from these two silky, little King Charles Spaniels – love. Endless and unconditional love. Whether I’m gone for ten days, or just ten minutes, they’re always at the door with wagging tails to greet me. They never leave my side and comfort me when I’m down. Keep me company when I’m alone and make me laugh when I’m sad. I guess I need them as much as they need me.

Khloe makes me laugh every time she sits

Khloe makes me laugh every time she sits

Mia thinks she's a cat when trying to sit on the back the chair

Mia thinks she’s a cat when trying to sit on the back the chair

Khloe collects bird feathers when we go for a walk

Khloe collects bird feathers when we go for a walk

Mia loves to lay in the sun

Mia loves to lie in the sun

The grandchildren love them too…

DSC04060DSC03183But most of all they love each other…

Sometimes you can't see where one starts and the other one ends

Sometimes it’s hard to see where one starts and the other one ends

A Love Story

I just finished reading Jane Austen’s Persuasion for the second time and find myself even more wowed over than before. Persuasion is a gripping tale of two people who are meant to be together but are not. The story begins eight years after Anne Elliot was persuaded by her family not to marry Captain Wentworth, a decision she very much regrets. When Captain Wentworth unexpectedly resurfaces and no longer seems interested, Anne’s heartbreak is renewed.

Persuasion was written by Austen in a race against failing health in 1815-16. Almost two hundred years later and we’re still swooning over the plight of Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth. Modern day romances will have a hard time matching that.

No stranger to the unique experience of reuniting with a lost love, I was totally swept up in the fate of this pair. I could feel my heart pounding over the quick glances, caught breathes and silent flustering between them. Anne’s journey from resignation to joy is beautifully and sympathetically written over the course of this book.

Anne Elliot may not have the vitality of Elizabeth Bennet or the wittiness of Emma Woodhouse, but she is sweet, modest, steadfast and patient. I’m also inclined to believe that after building up his own wealth, Captain Wentworth is equally as dashing as Mr Darcy. If you need more proof, here are some of the words he wrote in a letter to Anne:

Dare not say that a man forgets sooner than a woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you.

*sigh*

If you’ve never read Persuasion, you are truly missing out.

It won my heart.

A demanding house guest

 

I feel as if I’ve been living in a cocoon this past week. My nine-week-old baby granddaughter stayed with me while her family was on vacation. They went to Lego Land in Denmark, which is not exactly the best place to take a small baby. I volunteered and was looking forward to all the great bonding time I’d be getting with her. What I hadn’t thought about is how time consuming one little baby girl could be!

I was just back from America and hadn’t even unpacked my suitcases when my little house guest arrived. A car load of baby gear was soon moved in, and a long list of instructions, hung on the refrigerator.

She slept all night, from around eleven in the evening until seven in morning and boy do I know how lucky I was! Especially since I was wrestling with a touch of jet lag myself. However, from that first morning bottle until the last, the day belonged to her.

She took short little catnaps throughout the day, which never lasted more than twenty minutes or so. And when she did sleep there was plenty for me to do…

Her clothes had to be washed separately.

Bottles sterilized.

Formula mixed.

One bottle got vitamin drops, while another got malt extract added to it.

I also made up a bottle of fennel tea which she drank a little of in the evenings to help fight colic. (you can tell she’s my granddaughter, already drinking tea)

When she was awake, besides giving bottles, burping and changing diapers, I took her for a walk in the carriage everyday.

She also needed to lay on her belly a few times a day, to get used to holding her head up. (she didn’t like that)

She had a stuffy nose, so I had to put drops in five times a day.

She had a bath every other day, but needed to be cleaned up every morning.

She had to be dressed for the day and pajamas put on in the evening.

Her skin was dry and needed lotion rubbed on her twice a day.

For her entertainment (thats right even at nine-weeks, we humans need to be entertained)

The #1 thing was the vibrating, bouncy chair. Especially if she could see what I was doing while sitting in it, or see the television (no comments on that please)

#2 the baby gym. It’s a square mat with toys hanging over.  A blinking, musical star hung right in the middle and she could stare at that star for a good half hour. The only problem was the music only played for five minutes, I would therefore, run back and forth, turning it on again and again!

#3 if all else failed, rock, carry ,walk and soothe her. I’d say we walked quite a few miles last week.

I was amazed by how much work went into a baby, and wondered how I ever manage to do it myself – FIVE times!!??!!

Now that she’s gone home to her family, all I can think about is her smile, how good she felt in my arms, that sweet baby smell and how much I love her… Oh, now I remember how I did it.

Happy Birthday Khloe

Today is our puppy Khloe’s first birthday. Khloe, who joined our family last summer is a King Charles Spaniel (sometimes called a Cavalier). She is all brown except for a thin stripe of white on top of her head, on her chest and the tip of her pawns. Khloe is a happy, true fast, energetic girl.

We have another Cavalier named Mia, who came to us in 2005. She’s the perfect combination of chestnut brown and pearly white fur. Mia is a global nomad, who’s lived with us in Norway, Texas and the Netherlands. She even has her own passport. Mia is sweet and gentle.

Mia welcomed the new puppy into our home with open paws and never showed any signs of seniority. When Khloe wants to play, Mia simply hides under the table. When we go for a walk, Khloe leads and Mia follows. When Khloe finishes her treats (she eats fast) Mia will share what’s left of hers. Mia even gave up her bed when Khloe insisted on taking it over. Don’t feel too bad for Mia, because she got upgraded into my bed.

Two years ago Mia was diagnosed with MVD and Syringomyelia, we were hit hard by this devastating news. Unable to imagine our home without Mia and knowing how hard it will be to replace her, we decided to get another dog right away. Hence, Khloe.

We brought home a silky little puppy, who loves to cuddle and play. She follows me around the house all day long and whenever I sit, she hops right in my lap. As I’m writing this post I’ve had to stop twice to let her out, and then in again. She has brought me her toy to throw three times and I caught her chewing a pencil that dropped from my desk. All the while Mia’s been snoring on the sofa.

The question I’ve asked myself everyday since we brought Khloe home is; Will I ever love her as much as I do my old friend Mia? The answer is; Yes, I will…

Its amazing how attached we can get to a pet (or two). I happily  obligingly vacuum up dog hair EVERY day…

Happy Birthday Khloe!                              Khloe & Mia