There is a part of me that will call those places home, places I sorted life out as I walked or ran, watched the seasons change, brought babies home, helped them learn to walk, laid on the couch all day moaning with the stomach flu together, visited church parties and walked with friends and laughed over my cardboard box Yorkshire pudding served with Salmon or my cold custard (oops).
Life in England wasn't perfect. I was sick all the time. We were separated from our family by time zones and distance. We lost our dear mother only a short time after we returned due to cancer. My house was frequently a mess (now it's worse, ha ha), as I adjusted to new motherhood, pregnancy, and new motherhood again. While we were there, I tried to force myself to spend a certain chunk of time with my little ones each day, as I'm trying to do now as part of my project. It was not easy. It was hard. (not hard in the sense that I loved it, it was just hard learning to juggle all of the housework and stuff on top of it) I resurrected this poem I wrote after we returned. Isn't it funny, looking back with the clarity only time can give, what it is I remembered most? Yes, I loved England the country and all her little quirks and beauties and customs. No mentions of wishing my house were cleaner or that I had chosen more fashionable furniture or something, the things I remember best, the memories that are fondest, are of people, especially my little ones. It was worth every little sacrifice.
Sorry, this poem is super sentimental, and choppy, and won't always make sense (though it does to me). But you get the picture.
PS The Elizabeth reference is to my daughters, the first of whom was born in England. It is in reference to this drawing by Da Vinci, which was (probably still is) hanging in the National Gallery and which I fell in love with. The Windsor reference refers to our first trip to England, when we were house hunting, and how we fell in love. So many happy memories there.
Goodbye, Cedar Drive
Goodbye, number 49Where we brought baby home,
Listened to clickety-clacking trains,Returned from rambles
With leaf in hand--And sticks and rocks.
Goodbye little footpath,Through our forest -- slanting sunshine,
Kade’s “yah” roots,Skipping down our dirt path,
Leaves trickling down in red and amber,Old stream,
And bridges of sink or float.Goodbye park,
Goodbye book truck,Goodbye little horse trails around
The solitary fat oak treeWe passed in rain,
Under stars,Early morning mist, and sunshine.
Goodbye church spire,Little room where we sang to
“Sleeping Bunnies,”Stroller walks and autumn walks.
Goodbye Sunninghill High Street of donut days,Walks from work and Stock Exchange,
Goodbye Sunningdale train station,Waitrose.
Goodbye Ascot,Where I cried,
The only person in the world,Because of the perfect life inside me.
Goodbye St. Peters and Frimley,Where He gave you to me,
Coral Reef,And Sainsburys,
Christmas dinner with the Joneses,Little drive of swans,
Midsummer Night’s Dream,And Rudges.
Goodbye little church of friends,Summer Sundays
Chasing baby across the grass.Goodbye London,
Where St. Paul's roseAbove me
Over a spanning cable bridge.Goodbye winding streets,
National Gallery.Goodbye, Sir Winston,
Presiding thoughtfully overParliament’s golden spire,
Goodbye English countryside,We loved your cottages,
And ancient thatched roofs.Goodbye creaking streets,
Bending intoSurprise endings.
Goodbye Windsor,Happy wanderings,
Family days,Queenly Mc’D’s,
Doll houses,Bustling shops.
Goodbye, Queen VictoriaAnd a Christmas tuba
Under twinkly pine garlands.Goodbye Great Park,
We loved your ancient trees,Your promises,
Your Long Walk,And your silent Copper Horse.
You were ourFirst
Tell me, how do you carve out time for your little ones? Share your secret.