Gwen and Adjusting

A few weeks before we left I noticed Gwen starting to get more antsy. She was getting mad more easily and having more emotional moments. During the actual move / drive cross-country she was great, but after we arrived here in Colorado she definitely started acting out more. The week we had visitors was worse still. We had barely established routines, and they were completely disturbed. Not to mention one of our guests was someone completely new to her, and she was torn between absolutely loving him and feeling completely shy.

It's all been a hard adjustment for my little girl. We made so many changes, in such a short time.

I've been trying to stay very consistent with my parenting. Employing natural consequences whenever I can, explaining the why to her, and giving her the space to be mad, sad, upset, frustrated whenever I can do that too. One day it all just exploded in a fit of screaming and crying. I brought her into my room, away from our guests, and just let her rage at me for as long as she needed. I tried to keep my voice gentle (other then the one time she tried to hit me, and the one time she threw something of mine), but I gave her space to get it out. I knew we were nearing the end when she still wouldn't look at me and was still letting out little angry sobs, but she reached for my arm, pulling me close around her... a physical cocoon to help her create the emotional cocoon she really needed in that moment.

It was not a fun afternoon, but I needed to let her feel it and get it out.

Another moment with our guests... the one was a father, and you can't just turn that off. He would never interrupt my parenting, but he would sometimes add his own voice of reason. I was affronted at first. I felt judged inadequate, I felt that he was thinking he could do it better. I realized though, that those feelings had almost nothing to do with him, and everything to do with me. My own internal struggles with feeling (especially lately) like my not "enough" for Gwen, like she deserves better then what I can give her.  These voices, I know, are lies. She is my girl for a reason... but this adjustment has been hard for all of us. [Just a note to say, said father did let me know another time how much he appreciated my parenting of Gwen and pointed out specific things he'd seen me do with her that he thought were really well done and perfect for her. Let's just say it was really well timed, and unbelievably nice to hear.]

Gwen is such a sweet, fun, vivacious girl. These bursts of anger aren't her.  I know they will pass and become less as we establish a real and firm routine. I know that each new friend, each success at school, each fun memory we make here will help her to feel more secure and less adrift.

But for now, things are hard.


Celtic Festival

Normally this time of year, one of our biggest excitements is the Celtic Classic in Bethlehem. We wear our kilts and meet my parents for a day of celebrating our various Celtic heritages. Obviously this year, we weren't making it to Pennsylvania.

Even before we moved one of the very fist things I looked up was a new Celtic Festival. Now it would be hard to beat the Celtic Classic. Its huge! But we gave this new one, the Celtic Harvest Festival in Edgewater, a shot...

There were fairies...

who sprinkled us with pixie dust...

Glitter head!
There was music...

There were also dogs (Irish Wolfhounds, Welsh Corgis, Scotties), a kids zone, clan tents, and reenactments. Not to mention food (no Welsh Cookies, boo; but I did have an amazing Whiskey cake!).

It was much smaller then the Celtic Classic, and no highland games, but it was a fun day with Trav and Gwen, and a friendly group of people.

© Celtic Harvest Festival Edgewater

There's an even bigger one coming up in the Spring in Estes Park, which we definitely hope to check out!


An Honest Post about Loneliness

We've been here a little over a month. We have routines and we've started to explore. We've had visitors, with more planned. We've had really good days and not as good days. And I've been really lonely.

Not all the time, of course. Gwen, Trav, and I have been seeing fun new things and having really great days. I met a really nice woman named Bhavna, and I think she's becoming a friend (we've done tea)! Gwen and I are enjoying all our extra time together. I FaceTime and Skype and call and write and...

Life feels so very surreal right now though. I still have moments when I wonder when this will end and we'll "go home." But no. This is home now.  That can be hard sometimes.

It feels like starting over in ways that I never thought I would in my 30s. Apartment life, all of my friends across the country and in different time zones. I don't have a job, though I'm definitely keeping busy.

The chance to remake myself a bit is nice. I'm looking up different trainings for jobs that excite me. My current feeling though, is of aimlessness and disconnection.

Even things with Gwen are struggling a bit because of it. It is a very weird place to be when the person you spend the most time with is a five year old who is used to full-day school (and a full-day with a class full of kids who can actually keep up with her), who was just uprooted and dropped 1700 miles from anyone she has ever loved (outside of her parents). She is going through her own adjustments, and it is my job to be her constant. I'm doing my best to reassure her and help her, and we have a lot of fun together. But its a long day together that we're not used to, and she lashes out where she knows that she can lash out without losing anyone... at me, and Trav.

Its not everyday, but on those bad days when she's really struggling, and I get 5 hours of backtalk, fussing, crying, whining, and vitriol... and I still have an hour or more until Trav gets home... well, lets just say its hard to feel more alone.

There are really good days too. Days where I feel like I have this down, where the chores and errands get done, blog posts get written, Gwen and I have a great time, we eat great food, and I feel strong, confident, and in control. There are days when I get to FaceTime with a girlfriend, and drop an email to another, and I feel very connected.

But this is a place for honesty, and I wouldn't be painting the full picture of my life currently if I wasn't open about this very real part of my right now. Who knows what the future holds. I've certainly learned to stop trying to guess! I know that this part will not last forever, but this is where I am right now.