Recombobulating

Last spring I shared details about the epic adventure my family and I were making as we moved ourselves and our 61 boxes of prized possessions across the Atlantic Ocean to Sweden.

At the time, I noted how the journey was feeling like a real adventure, a rite of passage, with all the classic phases of disintegrating into some sort of gooey mess, crossing a threshold, and then becoming recombobulated in some new (if not improved) format on the other side. I was pretty impressed with myself.

Well, it turns out that I did not nail the landing as crisply as I thought. recombobulation areaApparently, moving yourself and your family to another country, finding jobs, navigating a new healthcare and school system, finding a place to live, moving again, figuring out where to get your hair cut, how to pay bills on-line, and finding a new groove takes time. There is no rushing it. There are no shortcuts. You just have to get through the day over and over again until it becomes less new feeling, like wearing in a pair of shoes.

It has been a summer and fall of unsettling change. Of being disembodied, despite my hopes for a swift entry into everyday Swedish life. You would think that that would have provided excellent blogging fodder. Au contraire, mon frère. Despite my secret dream to be able to produce a steady, pithy and hilarious commentary about our new life à la David Sedaris in France, I got nothing.

Writing a good blog post for me has always been a formula that looked something like this:

 interesting situation + new or clearer insight = new point of view

These last few months have been so topsy-turvy that while there have been plenty of interesting situations, the pace at which they’re happening is so fast that the insights either don’t stick or just slip through my fingers. As a result, the writing just hasn’t been there. And the living thing is just so time consuming. When would I have time to write, between figuring out how to re-load my public transportation pass and how to recycle used lightbulbs in a new land?

The trick with living with this rate of change has been to be patient and to let go, something I’m not always good at. Considering how much change parenthood has put me through, I should be an expert by now. But I’m not.

This evening when I head home to my new house, I will hopefully not accidentally walk past it. When I go to cook dinner, I will hopefully only need to open three drawers or less to find the spatula. And please, someone, let there be enough toilet paper. Maybe I’m asking for too much. Patience.

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About Cristin L.

Earthling, pilgrim, peace warrior and special needs parent
This entry was posted in special needs parenting and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Recombobulating

  1. asm says:

    I feel your pain, joy and upheaval. We uprooted to England in 2010. . . I love your honest approach and am so glad to hear someone else is so swamped that writing takes a backseat. (My least favorite comment was/is “if you REALLY want to write, you’ll find the time”.)
    Keep up your great parenting. . I love it when you write, but totally understand when you don’t :)
    Amy

    • Cristin L. says:

      Wow, I would find that comment really annoying as well. Because in addition to REALLY wanting to write, I also REALLY want to exercise, eat write, journal, meditate, be creative, make all my Christmas gifts by hand…well, I must just not want that enough. ;) Where are you in England. One thing I am enjoying about being here is the close connection with the UK via TV, radio, general media. But even switching to an English speaking culture must be a challenge.

      • asm says:

        We are actually back in the states after a two year stint. I miss it and am glad to be back at the same time. It’s tricky being a global citizen, parent of children with special needs, homeschool mom and writer. . . I love reading the musing of my peers :). . . Missing Cambridge at the moment :)

  2. Cynthia says:

    What a great post. I have never managed to do what you do (and just did) in your blog (“interesting situation + new or clearer insight = new point of view”). I am always too overwhelmed to even think. But the fact that you are striving for this is the reason people like me follow your blog, however long in between posts! I wish i could say that i recycle light bulbs here in the U.S. another thing for the to do list that i probably won’t get to. Wishing you all well and a full stash of toilet paper.

    • Cristin L. says:

      Thank you! I made it home, got dinner on the table and there is enough toilet paper to get us through one more day. Thanks for the compliment, but seriously, sometimes any activity above sheer survival is out of my range!

  3. Diane Engelstad says:

    As always, thanks for sharing the way that you do. Your formula for blogs is still working!
    You might not have gone for the adventure if you knew how it would all work out, at this stage of the game anyway. I’m speaking as someone just finishing up an 8-year family “adventure” in which we shared a property with another family, but never quite got to live there. All done now. Time will tell how that experience enriched us or opened doors for us that we wouldn’t have otherwise encountered… I’m looking forward to that!

  4. Where ever you are in your journey or what every country your in, just hearing from you makes my day, week, month. I open the feed with excitement and read every word as if you are speaking them just to me, live. So good to hear from you. There are days I come home from work and can’t find a spatula either… and also sigh… “please, someone, let there be enough toilet paper!” So that part feels just about right. The rest… your absolutely right… time & patience. Should I ever find myself needing a friend to crash w/while in Sweden one day, you’ll amaze me with all you have accomplished having weathered this recombobulation!
    I was at the Joining Family Voices conference today and was remembering fondly, your “round table” discussion of last year.
    I have got to find a national conference in Sweden, make a case for coverage to travel there, so I can come see you! (and the rest of the gang!) What a nice thought! Noticed how I assumed you would put me up???? Is there anything you or the family miss? When my brother was a missionary he always asked us to send him; Bounty paper towels and marshmallow fluff.
    Love,
    LAURI

  5. dvanleeu17 says:

    Good to hear your voice again. I’ve missed it. No pressure
    from me to be pithy. Really, just write.

  6. Debbie says:

    Wondered what happened to your posts, but glad to hear it is just a “settling problem”. Your posts are so uplifting and enlightening, something I have longed for since my special needs child was born. “Many see but few know’ , Just write when you can and most importantly when you “feel’.

  7. Debra W says:

    Cristin,

    How is it that you always manage to touch on just what I need to hear? My blog post formula has always been similar to yours, although I never thought to articulate it that way. Your statement

    “These last few months have been so topsy-turvy that while there have been plenty of interesting situations, the pace at which they’re happening is so fast that the insights either don’t stick or just slip through my fingers. As a result, the writing just hasn’t been there.”

    perfectly describes where I am. I haven’t blogged since September, I’m almost ashamed to say. I haven’t moved across the world (or at all), but all the newness of parenting a kid with chronic illness has lately seemed to swallow my energy for capturing my reflections. I’ve come to a surprising place where I prefer to let them slip through my fingers. Remarkably, since late September I’ve let myself off the hook from all but the bare essentials in my business. I simply haven’t had the energy for it. Instead, I’ve been investing in more quality time with my kids, sleeping on a regular basis, exercising (!), and reading more of what others have written. Perhaps the urge to blog will return. Or maybe I’ll just copy and paste what I wrote here and add it to my blog. :)

    Miss you.

    • Cristin L. says:

      I’d say to go for it and post as is. And I think it is ok to let go of things. Whether we let go of them permanently or temporarily will hopefully be determined by whether or not they still serve us, not because we “simply gave up”, although sometimes that is necessary, too. I wouldn’t dare to suggest that all mothers of kids with special needs are on the same journey, but if yours is anything like mine, giving things up becomes a part of the gift of the experience, not a deprivation. It means the chance to practice real discernment. And that practice is just one of the many experiences that took me from “why me?” to “lucky me!” as I often say. Other things are too precious to give up on altogether. They come back as we build our capacity and reach levels of the elusive “new normal.” I’m really glad that certain things are coming back.

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