Saturday, June 30, 2012

Where are we going?

One morning a couple of weeks ago, Zoe woke up and decided to pack. She took our little car suitcase (that she think is her own, despite me sometimes traveling with it myself) and started pulling her clothes down from the shelf, putting it inside. When she thought she had enough she zipped it up and pulled it through the living room into the hallway. There she put on her sandals and took down the keys from the hook, which she can reach herself. She then asked me to take her jacket and sun hat down, which I did and she put both on by herself. Then she 'unlocked' the front door with the keys (it was already unlocked), opened the door and said 'bye bye mommy', while pulling the suitcase out to the stairwell. At this point I had to stop her because fact was that we were not going anywhere that day, and I was seriously worried she was going to try to pull the suitcase down the stairs. But she cried as I explained that we were not going flying or even by train, this was a regular daycare day. It took me a few minutes to make this clear but finally she calmed down and we continued our regular morning routine.

Zoe leaving again
Although this might seem like a fun morning game, I felt guilty and sad because I knew exactly why she was leaving and why she thought this was just one of our routine travels: a week before this, I had moved out from our family home, into a small apartment close by, without Mark. I had taken Zoe with me but she would also go back and stay with Mark for a few days in a row. This might come as a surprise and I have not been very open about our difficult situation, not here, not to anyone in real life apart from my closest friends. But fact is that we have had serious relationship problems since we moved to Sweden, problems that got worse over the winter and culminated in April. It took me a long time to talk to Mark about how unhappy I have been with my situation and how much I felt he was not considering this or even realizing this, but it only took me a couple of weeks from then, till I decided to move out. I felt this was the only way I could gain back the independence that I had given up and missed sorely after we moved to Sweden. It was never my choice to move here in the first place and my work situation was horrible, but at the same time I didn't feel that Mark took this serious. My lack of integration and engagement with swedish people and the language is clear evidence of this. In some ways I didn't feel this place was real.

Moving a 2 year old for the 4th time in her life feels tough but splitting up her parents feels terrible. The guilt sucks me in every time Zoe wants something and I give in very quickly. She mainly sleeps in my double bed where I stroke her hair until she falls asleep instead of putting her in her travel crib and let her fall asleep on her own, which she used to do. I let her decide if we should eat inside at the table or outside on the balcony, even if that means moving mid-meal. But apart from her thinking we travel and move every week, she seems to deal with it well. She has not had any temper tantrums out of the ordinary and she does not cry and ask for me (or her daddy) at night. And Mark and I are amicable and settled on doing this in a way that she is the least affected by. We have two rules: One rule is that we make sure to do something all three of us one day a week. Today for example, I came over with breakfast and we went for a long walk through the city, after which we went for early dinner at a nice italian place. We went back and I gave Zoe a bath before Mark put her to bed. Rule number two is that we are working towards staying together, not splitting up. I might have needed to be by myself for a while, be independent and have my own life, but neither of us really wants out. We are planning a date next week and I hope that will lead to more couple stuff and eventually me moving back in. I try to stay optimistic. But right now, Zoe is of the belief that we move every 4-6 months because that is all she knows.

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