I have been back in Japan for hang on, let me think…three days. I was in the U.K. for a month, which was good, considering the first week was full of sick kiddies 😦 It was great to see everyone again. The last time I was “home” was two years ago, and although I have had my Mum and youngest sister out to visit, there was a lot of family that I hadn’t seen in all that time. It was much harder this time, with Hannah older, but still not really old enough to understand what was going on. She knew that we were going to England, and she knew that Daddy was staying in Japan to work, but how do you make a 2 year old understand how long a month is? And that we can’t just nip back home to pick up a book that she fancied having read to her?
I have always loved visiting my family, and always loved to come home from anywhere I have been. It was weird to be back in Japan, but then again, it was weird to be back in the U.K. I am in a bit of turmoil because both places seem quite foreign to me. So I’m still jet-lagged, and so are the children, so catching up is proving to be quite a task. The dark nights seem to be making it easier, but there was no fooling Hannah in the U.K. when it didn’t get dark until 10p.m… “It’s not bedtime, because it’s not dark, darling”, she said to me (yes, the darling too). So that was a bit of a trial, but now Japan being dark at bedtime doesn’t hold quite the power that it used to!
So everything was hunky dory until today, when MIL invited us out for lunch. First of all, I told her that we were all still jetlagged, so we weren’t much company and to go easy on us. She is pretty manic and full on. So she met us at the car, high-pitched voice and all, fawning over (is that the right word?) Hannah and being generally over the top annoying. Then took Hannah’s hand and went to lead her off, before I said, wait a minute. I remembered. The feeling that I get from her, even though she is basically nice, is a feeling that she is trying to take over. And not sure if this is worse, but my husband just lets her. So there we are again, in a triangle of me and my husband disagreeing about his mother wanting to take over and mother my children. I hate the way it makes me feel so possessive, but she drives me up the wall!
So there she is in the restaurant with my SIL talking Hannah up (Hannah who has forgotten Japanese, and is just replying in English, but not really looking as if she is having much fun) and me getting annoyed. And then she starts scattering her conversation with random English words – ARGHHHHHHHHH, I thought that had stopped?!?! Then I nip off to the toilet to find Luka on her lap and her feeding him chunks of tomato from my plate. He doesn’t even LIKE bloody tomato. And my husband just sitting there not even noticing. So annoying. One day I will tell her, and it is building up and building up, and it is not going to be polite when it comes out. I have told my husband this, but he has not told her nicely. I would do it myself if I thought she would understand it.
I fell asleep while I was feeding Luka, and then woke up and went to check on Hannah. She was holding a photo album of our family in the U.K. and fast asleep. When I took it from her and tucked her in, she mumbled, “Callum”, her cousin, and I wondered how she was really feeling. It took her and Luka a while to get used to staying in the U.K., but now they are back here, and it is taking some adjusting too as well. Although they saw a lot of family in a short space of time, they weren’t smothered like they are here, so I think Hannah especially is going to really miss the people “back home”. So I got to thinking things like that, and then the kind of life that children have here, and the lack of family support that I have from living here, and I am driving myself crazy over it. Then I started crying and the floodgates just won’t seem to close. How can I live here and be happy? Worst of all, are my children going to be happy with this split family arrangement?! Then I was thinking about the crappy life that kids have what with studying and cram school and all that crap. I know that I’m still jetlagged and readjusting, but I can’t quite imagine a whole year before I can go back again. How is it possible to miss family after just being away from them for three days!?!?