I can feel the winter clawing at me, calling me into its dark folds like an animal from the night. It wants me to be still but my mind feels too heavy – laden down with neon lights and the faces of hopeful children. As I watch the world with a quiet detachment, my mind examines the particulars of my ‘to do’ list. 1 – Get through Christmas. 2 – Purchase a dry caravan. 3 – Find an affordable pitch for said caravan. 4 – Buy essentials (generator, chain-saw, cooking pots etc). 5 – Complete repairs to the car. 6 – Rehome un-needed furniture. 7 – Open an Irish bank account. 8 – Manage funds for further restoration work. 9 – Worry about what I’m leaving. 10 – Worry about what I’m going to. The list is ever changing and as burdensome as any debt.
I wish this part was easy – that I could step from one life to the next without a care in the world… but I’m a mother and there’s so much I don’t want to miss. I want to be there for university interviews and school plays, for their happy laughter and sad tears. I want to be their daily inspiration. Sometimes it becomes too much and the harsh reality of what I’m about to do will silence my otherwise chattering mind. It is then that my self-pity grows, quickly becoming as vast as the ocean with emotions that swell like thunderous waves. In those moments, there is nothing but impossibility.
Yet on other days, there is no such fear and I observe my children for all they are. One standing at the brink of university life and the other, confident enough to choose his preferred location. As much as I believe Ireland can offer them both something quite spectacular, I also understand that for them, the timing may not be quite right. By creating a beautiful home for them both, in truth, I’m hoping that one day they’ll come to choose it for themselves. As long as this remains within the realms of possibility, I’ll travel to maintain a steady presence in their lives.
Now, as my mind once again dances with ‘to do’ lists, only the darkness speaks of the time remaining. Soon this house will be empty, making our (as yet unpurchased) caravan our only UK home. It’s a time of drastic change and I hope the day will come when I can reflect on this period kindly, the risks we took having been worthwhile. Most importantly, I hope my children learn to chase their own goals in life without fear of retribution or failure. Success or not, I’ll always be awaiting their return, back to a tiny forest cottage in County Galway.