A Diary of Motherhood: Week Seventeen

This Diary of Motherhood is a series of weekly letters to my first baby, my little son who I call Baby Bird. I know not everyone wants to read about the highs and lows of motherhood so you can read non-baby related posts about travelwritingfreelancing or Amsterdam instead. Alternatively read one of my short stories or check out some book reviews and recommendations.
Dear Baby Bird,

This week you came home. Well, to another home. England.

England is the country I grew up in. A country that I'll never be able to ignore no matter where I live. It's made me who I am today. It's funny to think a different country will have the same impact on you.

You also met many of the people I grew up with thanks to a large family gathering. And you got to see more of your grandparents who think the world of you, something that I'm always slightly surprised to be reminded of though I really, really shouldn't be.

Of course, this trip also involved an important milestone for us all; your first flight. As avid travellers who spent two years living a nomadic life, your father and I are keen to share our love of travel with you but we're still a bit unsure what form this will take. Flying with a baby or with children has always looked very stressful to me, but considering all of your family apart from us live abroad I was hoping that you could prove me wrong. Well, you did, and you didn't.

In the run up to your first flight I had quite a lot of anxiety and a few sleepless nights. Hindsight tells me this was ridiculous seeing as the flight itself was less than an hour and as it happened my worries were wasted. At least, they were wasted on fearing the flight. That morning your father's computer broke - an almost apocalyptic stress that saw him trying to reboot an old laptop that weighed twice as much as his baggage allowance while also transferring files to my laptop, all just minutes before we were due to leave for the aiport. Then, after picking us up from the airport (with a sign with your name on it!) my dad's car hit a very unforgiving pothole and punctured his tyre, leaving us stranded by the roadside until my brother came to pick us up. But in the middle of all this you boarded a plane with your mum and dad and you spent the next hour completely oblivious to any kind of pressure in your ears or unnervingly bumpy turbulence that left me searching for the sick bag. Aside from that and a comical and smelly nappy change in which your dad and I both tried to squeeze into the plane toilet to change you - an alternative mile high club, if you will - on account of us both being nervous of the suspended changing station above the toilet, I have to say travelling with you was mostly fun and exciting and I do hope I feel brave enough again soon to do more of it.

It was strange being back in the UK with you. Not only was I very aware of all the people we have there who are not seeing you as regularly as they'd (or we'd) like, I was also very aware of the things I used to take for granted that are now starting to feel a little foreign - driving on the left, the supermarkets, public transport, road signs, regional accents and slang - for surely these things and many more will go on to be a little foreign for you too, should we stay in the Netherlands.

But let's not get into that right now, because I can't predict the future or tell you where you'll grow up. What I can tell you is that our little adventure in the UK this week has proved to me that this is a country that you can call home, whenever you want. There are enough people there and enough parts of me (and yes, your father too as he did live there for the best part of eight years) that even if it does feel a little foreign, it should also feel a little familiar too. I really do hope so.

So, Baby Bird, first flight done like it was no big deal... Where next?

Your proud-but-tired-from-carrying-a-7+kg-baby-up-and-down-the-UK, amazed-at-how-good-the-baby-clothes-are-in-Sainsburys and loving-being-with-friends-and-family, crazy-in-love mother x

Frances M. Thompson

Londoner turned wanderer, Frankie is an author, freelance writer and blogger. Currently based in Amsterdam, Frankie was nomadic for two years before starting a family with her Australian partner. Frankie is the author of three short story collections, and is a freelance writer for travel and creative brands. In 2017, she launched WriteNOW Cards, affirmation cards for writers that help build a productive and positive writing practice. When not writing contemporary fiction, Frankie shops for vintage clothes, dances to 70s disco music and chases her two young sons around Amsterdam.
Find Frankie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.

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