This post isn’t about the Oscars…

If you read my last post, you will know I had a hard time deciding what to do about friends who were blowing hot and cold. So after some thought and your feedback, I decided to reach out one last time. Ask if we could meet up. Surprise, surprise, the responses were not unexpected. Of the three, the friend who has been good at staying in touch responded positively and immediately, suggesting dates and times, either with or without the kids. I had to prod the other two for a response, but we’ve finally settled on a date in April.

I appreciate all the support and constructive suggestions y’all posted in the comments of my previous post; I hate confrontation in any form and I am glad that I’ve found a resolution. Let’s see how we go. What I have decided to do is not pin my hopes on this ‘date’ panning out. DD doesn’t know that later that afternoon, we are boarding the train to Paris to catch up with our Bretonne besties – it’s a 10th birthday surprise, and one to sure delight! Well, as long as she doesn’t think about the motion-sickness too much, and just focuses on the people who love us waiting for us at the other end!

On a funnier note, I had to collect husband  from the dentist today – he had IV sedation for his wisdom tooth extraction and needed an escort home. Why he chose me is a mystery! You’d think after 12 years the man would know not to expect any sympathy from me. The opportunity for much mischief and merry-making chafed against the ‘Be-a-good-wife’ refrain somewhere deep in the recesses of my conscience. Of course, being Friday, mischief won out! However, I bought him salted caramel pudding and his favourite smoothie to make up for my demonic teasing. Just gotta make sure he salt water gargles and sleeps sitting up tonight, and I can release him into the wild again tomorrow. Wish him luck!


Unfriending

I’ve ummed and ahhed about writing this post. I really don’t know what good it’s going to do me, and I’m probably tired and emotional, but I sincerely hope y’all have some words of wisdom, advice or just plain tell me to snap out of it.

I’ll start at the beginning, because that’s as good a place as any. When we moved back to London almost three years ago, I left behind a few people I thought had become good friends with over the years. People whose kids were the same age as mine, people whose homes I had been in, girls nights shared, birth stories laughed over…you get the picture. People I thought I would stay friends with.

One friend has been good at staying in touch, and we’ve met up with the children as often as we can. The other two make it to London on a regular basis, often to what I consider my neck of the woods and I usually find out about it from Facebook, after the fact. Yesterday, I found out two of them were EIGHT minutes away from where I live, with their kids, sans spouses, so not ‘family time’ … and they hadn’t mentioned it. I hate Facebook updates.

I am at a loss. A total loss. I’m wondering if I just need to suck it up, put on my big girl pants, and unfriend/unfollow them on Facebook, so I don’t see the updates. I don’t work well in the grey zone. Why should I keep people in my life who clearly don’t want me in theirs? But I’m never sure of social media protocol. 

It sounds so ridiculous and self-indulgent when I type this out because I have people who love me, who text me, and write, and send silly gifts. Who check in on Instagram or this blog. Perhaps I am still physically & emotionally drained after the whole sickness debacle of the last five weeks (DD’s recovering well, by the way – thanks for all the good wishes). But rejection in any form and at any age SUCKS. And I’m feeling rejected and excluded. Rant over.

So, bloggy-verse, what do you think? What would you do, in my shoes?

Editors’s note: I’ve since had feedback. Yes, this is a one-sided post because it’s about my feelings and perceptions. No, I don’t expect a special trip to see me but yes, it hurts when you’re in my hood and I don’t have the chance to meet you and say hello. But I also now realise friendships evolve. Some regress to acquaintanceships. Or nothing at all. Which is sad, but more common than I realised.

BFFs forever?

I’m attempting Belle Brita’s #LoveBlog prompts for February 2016. Today’s prompt is Best Friends.

What are the qualities you look for in a best friend?

Kindness. Honesty. Tolerance. Patience. A slightly off-beat sense of humour. A love of food and wine. Someone who cherishes books. An ability to laugh at oneself. Reliability. Someone who understands my need to go off grid sometimes, emotionally. Really, the same qualities I looked for in a partner.

Do you have one best friend, or many?

I’ve had many close friends over the years, and my inner circle hasn’t changed much in the last fifteen to twenty. Every one of my close friends ticks the boxes above. Some are mothers, some are not. But I would say Bretonne Bestie has probably been my closest friend for the last two and a bit years. I still have conversations with her in my head, and try and text her as much as I can. I can’t remember the exact moment we became friends, just that we did. I always felt comfortable in her kitchen, with a cup of coffee and one of her delicious baked treats. She’s like something classy and vintage that just fits perfectly, and feels like it’s been in your life forever.

My other bestie is Husband. I know, I know. CHEESY!

How has your idea of best friendship changed over the years?

I didn’t have real friends till I was about sixteen, but I think I would have had the same ‘qualities’ list at sixteen as I do now. I am still friends with most of my inner circle at age sixteen. And eighteen. And twenty. They know my stories. They know the evolution of me. We have a shared history. I love my friends because I can sit down with every one of them and pick up a conversation with them even if I haven’t seen them in months or years. Also, they put up with me and all my insanity! 

As does Husband. He drives me crazy most of the time, but he ticks all the boxes. And together we share the best story we’ve ever written: 

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The best baby (about ten years ago!)

Who’s your best friend? 

Send them a text. Or an email. Or an inappropriate meme.

Remind them that they’re loved and important.

Weekdays are exhausting, and weekends are exhausting!

Weekends are slightly less exhausting this autumn because DD has scaled back her activities on the weekend in order to take on additional ballet training during the week. This just means weekdays are a little more exhausting, so I could have done without the two school meetings this week (painful at the best of times, but worse because they were the first ones minus the Breton Bestie). Worse yet, the focus was the nuclear arms race that is Getting Your Child Into The Best State School in Two Years’ Time. I’m deadly serious. It’s cray-cray. But I’ll save that insanity for another post, and return to my weekend.

Our new routine on a Saturday is a lie-in, homework for all of us (well, doing accounts & expenses for the grown ups), then lunch, then DD to class and me to a coffee-shop to abuse the free WiFi and to catch up on the blogosphere.

This Saturday, I got itchy feet and chose to look for some new magazines to read. Clearly, my colleagues have set the bar very high, because I found nothing of interest. As in, zip, zilch, nada. I did discover Uppercase magazine online later last night, which I found quite exciting, but I really felt a little saddened by the fact that there’s so much crap out there to make us feel lesser, inadequate, un-shiny and imperfect. The experience left me feeling grumpy and jaded, but blessed to have the job I have, and to be able to help get some good content and material to market. Small wins.

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Today was a little more emotionally charged. We were invited to a pre-farewell party for a good friend – yes, you heard that right. Pre-farewell. It was wonderful to catch up with friends we haven’t seen in a while and we even got party bags, but the sickening reality is, after 6 years, this friend has finished her term with her employer, and has to return to Australia. AUSTRALIA. That’s a whole different continent and a whole different hemisphere and a crazy-long flight to get there! This also means that Thanksgivings are going to be small, quiet affairs going forward (who da thunk that a mutual love of American holidays would bring an Icelander and an Australian together?). She’s the ‘aunt’ that DD has had most contact with over the last 6 years, so DD is sad, too. As much as I love where I live, I’m getting too old and cranky to make new friends now. The old ones fit me just right. Sigh.

So for now, I’m looking forward to seeing the Breton Bestie in three weeks (cue a rendition of ‘I Love Paris’) – we’re going to walk, and talk, and I’m going to enjoy the wonder of my daughter discovering Paris. I can’t wait to see her face when we she sees Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and Galleries Lafayette for the first time. When we return to London, we’ll have my ‘second’ parents visiting from the States for a few days. I haven’t seen them for five years so this is a treat! And then we’re having  a final Thanksgiving/family dinner with DD’s honorary aunt. Did y’all not know London Thanksgiving falls between Canadian and American Thanksgiving? Heathens! 😀

What do your weekends look like? Who bears the brunt of chauffeuring the family to clubs and activities? Any good magazine recommendation (digital or print)?

Just as Long as we’re Together

Most of you know that my Breton Bestie has been re-patriated to France last week. There was a tearful farewell on four sides (BB’s daughter is DD’s bestie). But the first moment that it really sunk in was when I had to put down an emergency contact a few days later for DD, and automatically put down Breton Bestie’s name. Which I then had to cross out. Boy, that hurt. I actually had to take a moment to compose myself.

In the five days she’s been gone, we’ve had a Skype chat and I’ve drooled over her beautiful Parisian Haussmann apartment. We’ve used messaging apps. But it’s finally sinking in that she’s gone. She’s really gone.

We both know what it’s like to be expats, to raise expats, and the extra effort that goes into maintaining ties and bonds. We’re both working mothers, corporate wives, raising hormonal tweens… but you know what, I think we’re going to do it. For two years, she has been my reality check, my irreverent partner in crime and my sounding board. She was my first blog follower, my champion and the slap upside my head when I needed it. That, my friends, is gold dust.

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So today, I am grateful for social media, and messaging apps, and Skype, and everything else that is going to keep me connected to BB. I’m so grateful I have a BB.

Who’s your BB? Send them a text. Or an email. Or an inappropriate meme. Something to make them remember that they’re loved and important.

Attitude of Gratitude

I watched this amazing TED talk the other day. (I’m grateful for the time I have these days to actually catch up and watch all the TED talks I save.)

I’m revelling in the time I have off this year. Last-Year-Me would have been panicking that I didn’t have the next contract lined up, didn’t have a plan, a timeline … you get the idea. I pride myself on being able to multi-task, functioning on 5 hours of sleep & coffee, being super-mum/wife/consultant. But I have no idea where this need comes from! Sometime over Christmas, little things my daughter said made me realise I had missed out on so much with her, with my friends, with life in general. It actually took my breath away. So it was a conscious choice to stop.

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I’ve started this year with a clean slate, an open mind and a Pinterest board full of ideas. I’m reading, and learning, and connecting with new people and more importantly, reconnecting with the people that have sustained me so far. I am grateful they didn’t give up on me!

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I choose happiness. Even when it’s hard. Even when I feel I don’t deserve it. Because I do.

I’m so grateful for my husband, who took on being super-dad for the latter half of last year, for not once judging my choices, but letting me work through them, and more importantly, for being willing to walk out in the pouring rain & cold, because I want a Snickers bar at 10pm (it’s got nuts, it’s healthy).

child gratitude

For my amazing daughter, whose little kindnesses & words build me up every day, for thinking I am the best mother ever, because I am actively present in her life again

I am going to put all these thoughts into a gratitude jar (IKEA’s finest, re-purposed). I’m forward-thinking; I anticipate I will have enough to be grateful about this year to fill the jar.

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My gratitude jar, just waiting for my notes…