So the girls left this morning.

My boy goes the day after tomorrow.

I wanted to wave the girls off. I wanted to press my face to the glass of the departures building. To make sure they were standing in the right queue. I wanted to wave energetically, to blow kisses.

Go Away said the man with the badge. You can’t stand there. You must go. I ignored him. He chased me away in the end so that I had to duck beneath a cordon with everybody watching.

I didn’t care.

I’d taken what I wanted: stolen two whole weeks with the children when we drove across country, spent long but oddly precious hours cocooned in the car together (6 the first day, 5 the 5th, 4 the 6th, 8 on the 10th and 13 yesterday) so that they were all, all, within delicious proximity: to hold, to touch, to watch as they slept, to laugh with, to talk to, to argue with over what music to listen to, to feed.  

We played cards; we drank cokes by hippo slicks so jam packed the knobbly-kneed marabou stork tottered from the back of one to the spine of another like unkepmt old men, stepping stones to soup-thick water bubbling with cat fish; we watched elephants meander through miombo just, just begining to blush green, excited and impatient for imminent rain; we spent four days on an inland sea bejewelled with sunlight and bedecked with cichlids; we ate sushimi (the children for the first time, and with gusto); we kayaked; we swam; we snorkled; we got sunburned; we enjoyed a picnic breakfast in the furthest flung corner where the termites build homes like toadstools and where the tsetse flies bite so hard you’d swear they had teeth.

I wrung every last little drop out of those 16 days. I intend to do the same with the last two with my son.

I shall press my face against the glass on Tuesday. I shall watch to make sure he is in the right queue. I shall wave energetically, I shall blow kisses and the man with the badge can go to hell.

14 Responses to “Transitions”

  1. Mud Says:

    Precious shimmering memories, hope you’re OK.

  2. Addy Says:

    He sure can – he probably doesn’t have kids on another continent so will never understand. Hang on till Chrstmas and you’ll see them all again.

  3. R. Sherman Says:

    I’m glad you had such a wonderful time with your kids. And thanks for the imagery most of us can only imagine or see on public television.


  4. noortjeibsen Says:

    That’s the way to love your kids.

  5. Lyn Says:

    I hate goodbyes that follow an especially magical visit. Good for you for squeezing every last drop of happy out of the visit with your girls. My heart is with you ….

  6. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thank you Mud. i am fine. and lucky as my kids are great at keeping in touch, that makes a huge difference x

    yup, Addy, am gng to make a sally worm, you ever do one of those. it’s got to have 39 body segments …

    thanks Mr S, i know, sometimes i think we forget we live inside Discovery channel! i’ll have to keep myself busy with more of that for kind readers, paint a vivid, cacophonous picture of africa

    thank you Nora, been enjoying the images on your blog

    me too Lyn, hate goodbyes: my dad was hopeless as well; ma was much braver! counting the days til the xmas hols!

  7. nuttycow Says:

    Sounds like you had a fantastic holiday with them – I bet none of their friends at school had such adventures! Count down to Christmas – not too long now.


  8. Mwa Says:

    I suppose that’s the upside of seeing them less – you probably make the time you do have that much more special.

  9. guineapigmum Says:

    SOunds so tough – I hope the time until Christmas just zips by. Our eldest has just strated at university, but only down the road so he’s home every weekend, against our better judgement! I do miss him even so.

    Your post made me wonder what my mum felt when she put me and various of my siblings on a plane home to boarding school at the end of every holiday. No blogs in those days to tell us!

  10. Milla Says:

    smashing stuff which made me feel sick.

  11. MapesburyMum Says:

    Glad you had a great time together – time goes too fast but the memories don’t – enjoy them – and yours are more exotic than most of ours!

  12. ann Says:

    Oh dear! I feel your pain, but it makes all your time together even more precious.

  13. retiredandcrazy Says:

    PS, what’s a sallyworm?

  14. Oaks Says:

    Can’t believe thee and me are the only people left in the world who know what a SallyWorm is…
    We used to make them as kids with different sized coins that we drew round to make the body segments, with the largest for the head or ‘Big Day’ (whatever it was.) You tear off a segment each day and the excitement grows as the worm gets shorter…
    Aah! Life before the computer age hey…?

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