Today is our last day at home.
We’ve spent years dreaming, months organising, the last few days frantically clearing, cleaning and packing. We’ve said goodbye to all of our best friends and most of our family. We’re ready to go. I think.
We’re excited. We’ve looked at the Disneyland website and decided which rides we can’t miss. Though I’m gutted that ‘it’s a small world’ is closed for maintenance, I had a vlog planned and everything. We’ll just have to go in Tokyo.
But we’re also antsy, unsettled, nervous of what is to come. Ned is dissolving into tears at tiny things, Dickon is throwing extravagant tantrums in supermarkets. It’ll do us all good to get going and into the swing of things. The uncertainty is difficult.
I feel like a tightly wound spring, with coils of excitment and anxiety fighting in opposite directions. I can’t shake the feeling that if I allow myself to relax, something will go wrong. I still can’t quite believe that it’s going to happen, that I’ve pulled it off.
I just want to get on the plane.
In the interests of both cupboard clearing and home science lessons, we’ve been making a mess with cooking ingredients. Very useful on the cupboard clearing front, possibly not so much on the science front. Why does cornflour go so strange when you add water?
We’ve mixed bicarbonate of soda with lime juice to create a fizzy, volcanic, mess. Which apparently tastes “quite nice”. But this is from the child who liked vomit flavoured jelly beans. Yes, really.
We’ve made gloop with cornflour and spread it all over ourselves and the kitchen floor. It really is odd stuff, but it kept a large number of children amused for at least 10 minutes, so it’s not to be sniffed at. As long as you remember to throw it in the bin and not pour it down the sink where it’ll block your u-bend, you’ll be fine.
The highlight of the cupboard emptying exercise has to be the flour explosion. We tried making pizza dough with some very old wholemeal flour, but it looked so unappealing we fed it to the pet worms. I do love a good explosion, which is what we did with the rest. We lit a candle and blew handfuls of flour across the top of the flame. As the flour hits the flame it makes a big wooshy, explosion, flamey thing, which I tried and failed miserably to film.
The cupboards are really almost empty now. Any suggestions for chestnut puree?
Today is a day like many others. Steve got up before me and gave the children breakfast. Then he headed off to work. Now the children and I are pottering around the house, doing not very much. Well making a mess, obviously, but other than that, not much. A half term day like many others.
Except it’s not. It’s Steve’s last day at work. We’ve said goodbye to him for the last time. Tomorrow, it’s kind of the start. No more work and no more school. This is what we wanted, why we’re doing this. To be together.
Today is going very slowly.
This trip has been three years in the planning. Three years of dreaming and worrying and working things out. And now it’s almost here.
Only thirteen days. Thirteen days to finish everything on the to do list. The list expands and contracts like a sea anenome, new tasks are created as fast as others are ticked off. I pinball from phoning banks to inform them of our itinerary, to buying pull ups and visiting the tip. But I like being busy and it stops me being overcome with longing for what is about to happen.
Despite my external dervish-like appearance, inside I am still and calm. I’ve done my worrying. I know things won’t all go to plan, but we’ll be fine. It’ll be good. It’ll be more than good. I carry a quiet excitement with me as I go about my days. A little bubble in my chest. I’ve waited a long time for this, and I’m ready.
Three weeks. Three weeks. THREE WEEKS! That’s not very long, is it?
I finally feel like I’m getting there, like my to do list might get done. Have a look at it, it’s a forest of felled tasks. There are still quite a lot of things in cupboards that need to be put in boxes, but I don’t think it’s an unmanageable job. School harvest festival on Thursday is going to come in very useful on the kitchen cupboard front. I’ve done a fair amount of the necessary admin, there’s more to do, but a lot of it is last minute stuff. I’ve accepted that there are some things I simply won’t get round to. And that’s OK. Our new bedroom curtains can wait.
I’ve even started packing. Normally I’m a night before sort of packer, but for nine months, that’s possibly too lackadaisical. So a corner of our bedroom is piled high with first aid kits, thermal underwear, swimming costumes and craft stuff. Expect a full unexpurgated list soon.
The children have eight days left at school. That’s eight more mornings of, have you cleaned your teeth hurry up and put on your shoes where is your water bottle.
Our recent weekends have been a blur of social activity, and it’s due to get busier. I’ve also been squeezing in as many lunches and coffees with friends as I can while the children are at school. Much to their chagrin. Although it’s sad to say goodbye to people, it’s also been a real pleasure to see so many friends in a relatively short space of time. Too often, I let these things slip.
Having spent three years batting this around in my head and worrying about the tiny details, I am strangely calm. And properly, genuinely, fizzy feeling in my chest, excited. Not long now.