Per is out of town.
Mommy is home alone, drinking a local Rioja and typing.
A potentially lethal combination.
This is my most recent life in the paradise isle of Gran Canaria – put the Golden Child to bed at 18.00 and face the night alone. You’re in paradise, but you’re still a Single Parent for the evening. So you can’t actually go out anywhere. All you can do is open up the wine, heat up the frozen Ristorante pizza and entertain yourself.
Oh – and a bit later, after I’ve procured myself a fabulous little red wine buzz, I’m going to make this fabulous little minty peas recipe for Per Christian…. Seriously, this child doesn’t even know how blessed he is.
If this all sounds a bit pathetic and boring, then you don’t have a baby and you’re just plain wrong.
I just finished reading Thor Heyerdahl’s In the Footsteps of Adam. If you don’t know about good ol’ Thor, imagine a 20th-century reincarnated Viking, sailing on a wooden raft for 101 days from Peru to Polynesia. A modern-day Science Fair experiment to prove that his theory of migration was right and others were wrong. It’s all depicted in his book and also in the Kon-Tiki museum in Oslo (which is one of only three museums I visited in the entire two years I lived there, all of which were under the duress of visiting friends & relatives).
(As a cultural disclaimer, I did actually go to the National Gallery the first week we moved to Oslo, so I’m not a total schmuck. I’m just a bad tourist, preferring coffee shops and boutiques to museums and walking tours.)
So in his book, Mr. Heyerdahl writes about his many adventures over the years and totally boring life experiences like comparing the quality of local goat’s milk with Fidel Castro in Cuba. Amid all of that, there’s a great quote that I highlighted and dog-eared, specifically because it applied to my life at the moment:
“Those who have found paradise have found it within themselves. Everything I had seen and read had taught me that paradise and hell do not have separate locations on this planet. They are always in the same place, and one cannot simply avoid one by moving away. The two turn up like inseparable companions, no matter how far you have traveled.”
Being an Oxford-MBA graduate and semi-skilled mother has been a bit of a rough blend these past seven months. Now we’ve moved to Gran Canaria for Per’s work, and everyone expects it to be paradise for the entire family. But the truth is, it doesn’t matter where the map places you at one particular moment in time. A new move and new town don’t change the fact that I’m still floundering, still unsure, and still semi-skilled.
And yet, in the midst of that floundering, there are some small snatches of Thor’s paradise in my daily life. I feel them intensely; I breathe them in and hope they are imprinted upon my brain for when I lose my short-term memory in 30 years and only have these moments to remember.
My son is struggling so intensely to get up on his feet, and I’m so moved by his independent effort that I simultaneously cheer him on and shed a tear.
He is unbearably cranky by the time his bath and bottle are finished every day, but then he nestles his head into my shoulder for just that second, and it’s glorious.
He’s been waking at 6am recently for whatever unknown reason, but my grumpiness fades into the background when I go into his room and he literally bounces in his bed from excitement at seeing mommy in the morning.
These are my mini-snatches of paradise each day, and I treasure them. The rest of the time, I’m just a semi-skilled mommy and Single Parent trying to do her best.
So yes, I’m drinking red wine and making minty peas for my sleeping baby upstairs.
It’s my own modern-day version of paradise on Gran Canaria.