....is actually an oncoming train. And that's what returning home has felt like. We are back, and I'm extremely thankful for that. But re-entry has been brutal, mostly because we seem to have flown home on the Virus Plane. Three of us ended up sick - not just slightly sick but the kind of sick where I was too unwell to watch television. Too unwell to watch television, people, and yet the (also sick) children still needed looking after and on Wednesday I had to go back to work. I would happily have leapt off the top of a tall building during our first few days back. It's just as well we live in a small town and there really aren't any.
Sidebar: while I think of it, I'm going to tell you my one secret of travel. I don't have any others - despite having been to quite a lot of places, I'm a pretty terrible traveller, and now that we have kids I'm even worse. I always pack too much, I'm terrible at going with the flow, and being out of my usual routine tends to make me very cranky. But this one thing I do know - if you have to go on a long flight (anything more than 12 hours) before you get on the plane, head to the duty free, find the Guerlain testers and cover your face with this stuff:
Guerlain's Issima Midnight Secret. I don't know what is in this stuff, but it is magic. It's supposed to make you look like you've had a full night's sleep, and it actually works. (I don't own any (the price, ouch) but if I was going back to those first days of new-baby-sleep-deprivation, I think I would consider shelling out for it because, like I said, magic). It is certainly the only way to get off a flight looking better than you did when you get on. Your hair will still be a mess, you will stink like a skunk, your clothes will still be covered in whatever your seat-mate spilled on you, but your face will be radiant.
To prove my point: the day after we got home, my ears and throat were unbearably swollen and sore and my whole body felt like it was being attacked by a cattle prod. I was sick and miserable, but unable to get any sympathy from the friend I was talking to. I feel really rotten! I kept on saying. You don't look rotten! sez she. You look great! I can't believe you've just got off a plane; you look so... fresh! And that's when I realised just how good this stuff really is. That freshness isn't really me! I wailed. It's that dang Midnight Secret! but she wouldn't believe me. I guess it serves me right for using so much out of those tester pots without any intention of ever actually buying it. Sigh. /End sidebar.
Anyway. We are here now. The sickness is mostly gone. It's good to be getting back to real life. All the things I was looking forward to doing when we got back (you know, in APRIL) can finally begin. Top of my list - finding a really really good home made barbecue sauce recipe. Is there anything more delicious than barbecue sauce? No, and I want to be able to make my own. I tried Jamie Oliver's recipe but he was trying to be clever and it was waaaaay too full of orange rind. Why, Jamie, why? I used it to make slow cooker bourbon baked beans but the citrus overdose just made the whole thing taste like Christmas. Not recommended. Once I crack this, I'm going to start with the dry rubs and learn to make proper ribs. On a related note: I have decided that I need to stop trying to get away with skinny jeans.
One more thing. I have lost count of the number of people who have told me how lucky we were that Jay didn't get appendicitis while we were on the plane. I am, of course, extremely glad that this didn't happen. It would have been awful. But lucky? I just can't help thinking that it would have been luckier not to get appendicitis at all.
After his operation, Jay was unexpectedly kept in hospital for four days so that they could pump him full of high-dose antibiotics. The kids didn't cope very well (that's a euphemism, people, make of it what you will), and I found the whole situation really hard (so is that). One day, I went up to visit him and we went down to the hospital cafe together. I was so tired that I fell asleep sitting on a hard plastic chair, my head on the cafeteria table. Apparently I stayed out cold for 45 minutes while Jay read Australian Handyman magazine. I didn't feel lucky then. I didn't feel lucky when I had to miss some really crucial stuff at work because of our delay. I didn't feel lucky when we ended up on the plane o' death because of our changed plans.
I don't mean to sound churlish. I don't mean my whole life is a vale of tears (far from it). But it's a funny thing, this word, lucky. I think I'm hypersensitive to it because I really don't like it being used when people talk about adoption. To mean, the word lucky implies that you ended up with something better than you could reasonably have expected. Winning the lottery, say. Becoming America's Next Top Model. Only bothering to study one topic for an exam and having that be the only one that comes up.
So I think that deciding that someone is lucky only works if you have decided what their reasonable expectations should have been.
This is why it bugs me when people say that my kids are lucky to be adopted. I feel like the background is that they should have expected to have no parents at all, and now they are lucky to have me. Whereas - why should they have expected to have no parents? My children didn't come from the cabbage patch; they had other parents before they had us and they lost those parents and that sucks. A few times I have said to people that if their child was to lose them, and then be moved to a new country, they might not feel particularly lucky about it. From a few people this gets that's not the same! (whereas actually, it is) but other times I think it has helped make some sense of why the 'lucky' comment can be the wrong thing to say, no matter how well meant. Or maybe it didn't make any sense at all, and they just wanted me to stop criticising their attempts to be nice to me.
I had a conversation online with a few friends recently about this after one had dozens of people tell her your little girl is so lucky! when they got a referral. She feels like I do about the lucky thing, but I was interested to see that a few other mothers weren't bothered by it at all. One (who always challenges me to think differently) said 'I tell people that their bio kids will be lucky to have them; why shouldn't people say the same about our adopted kids?' She's probably right. I like her attitude. And yet.
I think that I'm getting a little better about giving people the benefit of the doubt on stuff like this, but I can't help myself, I still don't like people saying my kids are lucky. (Lucky to have a cat, yes, lucky I don't make them bathe every day, yes, lucky to have a twin, yes, lucky to be adopted, no). Would it be different if people were specific that they meant lucky to be adopted into THIS family? I don't know.
What's your take on the lucky thing?