Stress. So much stress.
Not like a season of 24 stress (which I have been watching for the first time lately) but a constant, low-level, thrumming drone of stress.
This has been quite the year (and a half). At the same time that The Rocket Scientist was starting to interview for a complete career change, we were welcoming our little Cuddlebug into the world. That welcoming had its own stress, besides being a c-section which I was not looking forward to, I was not going to be convinced that she would really be okay until she was in my arms. As it turned out, even that didn’t do much to alleviate my fears. It’s very frustrating to be constantly afraid while your brain chews you out for such irrational fears. And with all my energy going into a new baby and any excess energy being taken up with unwarranted fears and with more energy that I didn’t have being taken up with worrying about an impending career change and what it would mean for our family (and what it would mean for us if it did not happen), I did not have a lot left over to be supportive of The Rocket Scientist while he went through much the same thing (only without quite the same fears over our Cuddlebug). Let’s just say, we were not getting on well.
And then what we were expecting to take 3 to 6 months turned into 7. Then 8. Then 9. At which point we no longer had a place to live. The weekend before my birthday (on my Dove’s first birthday), we moved all of our belongings into a storage locker. We couldn’t sign a contract for another house because if we didn’t have a job in another 2 months we would have had to go back to Canada, and even if we did find a job we had no idea where it would be. Sheffield? London? Oxford? New York? So we lived out of suitcases on the kindness of friends and acquaintances.
Then it was 10. Then 11. 3 Weeks from his job ending at the University we were faced with a choice of two jobs. Neither one was ideal except that they were a job. One of our big concerns with the new job is that it had to pay enough for us to be able to afford Indefinite Leave to Remain in 3 months (an astronomical cost for all of us) and the pay being offered wasn’t going to cut it. Until one of them offered to cover the cost. Completely. For the whole family.
What a relief.
It was over.
Within a month, The Rocket Scientist finished off his job in Oxford and started his new one in London, we got to spend a couple of weeks at a corporate apartment in London (where our Cuddlebug caught her little toe in a door and partially amputated it so instead of wandering around our favourite city we spent most of the two weeks in one hospital or another), we found our new home in Leighton Buzzard, and finally got all our stuff out of the storage locker. It was like Christmas.
Then came the settling in to a new city, not having any friends around to relax with, not having a church to fellowship with, adjusting to The Rocket Scientist having significantly longer hours than he did as an academic. And our first Christmas without Grammie (she had come in September to help out for a few weeks and couldn’t afford to visit again so soon).
Well, we’ve been in Leighton Buzzard for 7 months now, all three of the kids have had a birthday in this house and we have found a church to call home. Friends are coming a bit slower but I remind myself not to feel rushed. The Rocket Scientist and I are, for the first time since we met, not waiting to move on, not thinking about having to leave our friends and make new ones.
We are settled.
Did I mention that we are also homeschooling (and have been for the last year)? I certainly wouldn’t have it any other way and I don’t really find it stressful, but not having much in the way of time to myself is hard. More on those adventures later.
So what, then, is the source of that undercurrent of stress? I am waiting. Holding my breath. For once I am not pregnant although we are anticipating a new arrival to our household. As soon as someone up there in the Great White North buys my mum’s house, she’s buying a one-way ticket and coming to live with us. I’m sure it will be an adjustment for everyone involved but the pros far outweigh the cons. It is killing me that there is no date on the calendar, nothing to count down to, just the waiting.