I blinked, and in that moment I was plucked UFO-style from my life. I looked around to see a a completely new reality. The previous day went something like this: Predawn departure for Glasgow airport; check in 3 large suitcases, 2 car seats and 1 stroller; carry on 3 cabin bags (no weight limit, I am carrying rocks), 3 winter coats, 3 jumpers and 2 kids toy bags. Three hours later I moved the small mountain of stuff and the kids from the plane to the car hire shed. Kynan did a sterling effort of pushing the stroller piled high with car seats 500m in the heat. Meanwhile Leora sat on the baggage mountain like lady-muck and ate cookies. Next up: navigate to our new home, an hour away, on the opposite side of the road. I sat in the over stuffed hire car, fed the kids more food, told myself to breath, stay awake, drive on the right and look left at the roundabouts. Breathe Lynita, you can do this. So, yes, I was in shock the next morning.
Fortunately, I had an aim that day – to meet a sailing family that I had ‘met’ on facebook. That family saved my sanity like they will never know. I had someone to talk to and other kids to play with mine. I have never become such lifelong friends with a stranger in an instant. Thank you to the crew of Laurin – Karen, Patrick, AJ and Esme.
We filled our days roaming the streets (and dodging the dog poo) of Port Saint Louis – an industrial village at the ar$e end of France. Not exactly the Cote d’Azur we dreamt of! Some days I didn’t even speak to another adult so we visited Justin and Claude working on our boat.
Things couldn’t get worse, surely? But a few days later my AirBnB host called to say that her neighbour complained about our noise, and if it continued, she would call the police. Suddenly my isolated life parenting two kids, who fight a lot and regularly throw LOUD tantrums, got a whole lot more stressful. I’d be lying if I said this was a happy time in my life.
One night, I thought Kynan was going to die in my arms. It haunts me now to think about it, so here is the message I shared with my family about the event.
“Last night I was ripped out of a deep sleep to the sound of Kynan coughing, a barking cough. It worsened quickly to the point he could barely breath. In a split second these are the thoughts that went through my head: what is the ambulance number in France? How can I get phone reception /data to find the number? What is French for respiratory distress? What is my address? What do I do with Leora? We are all in Pjs and is freezing outside. I don’t have TIME to answer these questions. He might not make it. TERROR.
I considered standing on the balcony and yelling help. Instead I went on the balcony to try and get some painfully slow data to start answering these questions and Kynan followed me into the cold air. Not a good idea, but that gave me the thought maybe hot steamy air would help. I plonked him next to the shower full pelt hot. Back on the balcony, not functioning effectively now, I noticed his cough eased slightly. The steam was helping. RELIEF!! I sat with him for a while and cuddled him back to sleep. Then I cried. Then looked up Respiratory distress in French (difficulte respiratwour), my address, ambulance number, whether an epipen would resolved acute respiratory distress (yes). Packed a bag of jumpers and shoes went to bed in my clothes and hoped like hell it didn’t happen again.
Haven’t slept much, of course Leora is brimming with energy this morning.
Sorry for the long post, we are all ok, just sick and I know now he has croup. Had to tell someone.“
After a month in the studio apartment the boat was still not finished, but we moved on board anyway. This was hard for everyone, but at least I wasn’t solo parenting. While living in the marina, we waved off a bunch of young Ozzy guys when their boat was launched, we waved off our friends on Laurin and looked forward to our own launch day. Finally, 6 weeks later, that day arrived.
The day of the launch was was Friday 13th. But Oh! It felt so good to be on the water! Now we are in a rush – we aim to take Dizzie to Sicily for winter. A long way from France. Fortunately, Justin’s parents are joining us for the trip. I doubt we could do this trip without them.
The kids, like they do, just take it all in their stride. I watch them tonight from the cockpit, snuggled up to Justin reading to them from his tablet. Their little faces caught in the glow, intent on the story. My frustration of their constant fighting vanishes, I love having my family close. I look around the boat as the last of the daylight fades and I love our new home. Am I happy? I think so. Was the preceding two months of turmoil worth it?
Yes, I think so.