I've been trying to write this post for over a week, but it was just so overwhelming to try and get all of my thoughts down coherently - even now I probably haven't done justice to how much I appreciated my parents' visit with us. But sometimes you have to remember that "Done is better than perfect" (a quote I learned about from Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook) and so I need to just get this post up!
My parents flew back home to Toronto last Friday morning. I was devastated to see them go. I always get quite upset when I have to say good-bye to them, but this time was particularly difficult as I had to watch them say good-bye to Ella. It is painful to think about the fact that the next time they hold her she will be five months old, and she will have changed so much. At this time the following quote from Dr. Seuss is helping me to try and just appreciate the time we had together, rather than dwell on their return home:
We had such a great time together with Ella, and I've come out of this more appreciative of them as parents than ever. They have set such a good example for me of how to raise a child in a loving, supportive home. They have give me confidence in myself as a new mother, and in Andy and I as a team and parents.
Before they came I was pretty apprehensive about going out with Ella on my own. I kept thinking "What if she cries? What if she needs to eat? What if she has a big poo?" Well the reality is, those things are definitely going to happen, because, like, she's a baby. And like all babies, she is especially good at having HUGE poo when she is either wearing a new outfit or in a really inconvenient place. (The best/worst time this happened was when we went to get her passport photos done. Basically it is pretty much impossible to get a baby to take a picture where they are staring straight ahead, both ears showing, eyes open, mouth closed. It took us about an hour to get a photo that would be accepted, and in the middle of this Ella had her first poo that was so big it leaked out of her diaper and down her leg. Great timing! Had I been on my own I just would have given up on the photo and gone home. Not my mom! She pragmatically just changed Ella in her pram in the post office and then we got on with it. Big thanks to the guy at the post office who had the upmost patience with Ella and persisted until we got the right picture.) I learned that it doesn't really matter what happens when you're out with the baby, you just deal with it. Babies cry, eat and poo pretty much all day and usually it is not hard to solve whatever issue you have with food, a nappy change, or a cuddle.
I am now also more confident about breastfeeding in public. This was a huge step for me, and if not for my mom's encouragement I would probably be a hermit right now. I've learned that it's just not that big of a deal, most people don't care or even notice what you are doing. And it is a natural thing, to feed your baby. New mothers shouldn't have to stay at home all day long just because they have to feed their baby frequently.
And our house is in great shape now! My mom cleaned it top to bottom and my dad fixed up things like the draughty windows and installing a doorbell. Andy and I were very well fed while they were here as well thanks to my mom's cooking, and had a month of hot meals that we were able to eat together. Ah, bliss!
The time we had together has really made me question our decision to live away from family as expats. I love, love, love living in Melbourne (its not the number one city in the world for no reason!) but it is just so far from both of our families. Our plan has always been to stay here for at least four years so that we can apply for citizenship, and then see where we go from there. That would take us to January 2017 at the earliest. I have always wanted to return to Canada to raise my kids so that is most likely what we would do next, although the thought of starting yet another visa application (for Andy) makes my head hurt! However it will take over a year to get a spousal visa for Canada so we'll probably have to get on it sometime soon.
But rather than dwell on the negatives I am grateful for the time we had together and that my daughter has them as grandparents. We are also lucky that in a few weeks we will be heading over to England so that Ella can meet her other set of grandparents... pending the timely arrival of her passport... but that is a whole other post!