The sun wakes me every morning now, blinking lazily through the slats in the bedroom blinds, shining golden rays across the bedroom. No need for an alarm clock.
Sophie, who is almost always lying like a star fish across my bed, stirs and mutters as she tangles herself in the sheets but I know she won’t wake yet. This is my time. My body is heavy with sleep, my mind hazy. Nobody needs me at 5am. It is the golden hour. I can just be.
I sleep with my windows open now that summer has arrived. The air, fresh and clean after the stickiness of a humid night, gives no hint to the warmth the sun will bring later on. Everything is a blank canvas. The day not yet drawn.
Sophie’s freckles are multiplying. I can’t help but stare at the contours of her upturned nose and the milky softness of her otherwise lily-white skin. She is longer now, taller I suppose you would say – the last of her baby roundness disappearing faster than I’d like.
The grass too is growing at an exponential rate, a necessary weekly trim yet another sign that summer has arrived. Seasonal cherries are on the shelves. I must buy some before we go. Ah – the to-do list in my head has sprung to life.
As I pad silently downstairs in search of coffee, I make a note that there are now only 18 days until we leave.
The loveliness of a summer at home is making the goodbye’s that bit harder. We leave for Dubai in less than three weeks and I am suddenly struck by a pre-emptive homesickness for the life I have laboured for, tolerated, loved and built over the last thirteen years. It feels like a break up. Necessary, urgent even but bruised and with many a lingering backwards glance. New chapters are like that though aren’t they? Full of hope and curiosity set against the comforting certainty of events lived and stories told. I guess these three weeks are my last few paragraphs here. And don’t get me wrong, I am eager to start this new chapter – you are when the book is this good – but I am surprised to find a sadness to my ending here.
It is not sandy toes on the beach, picnics in the park, ice creams with friends or any of the summer cliches that tug at me as I pour a coffee in my ridiculously oversized mug. It is something less tangible. The smell of the air here perhaps, the sound of the birds breaking the silence at both sunrise and sunset, although I find them irritating so maybe not. Perhaps it is the greens of the fields and trees or the blues of the sea and the sky. I maintain the skies in Lancashire are the finest I have ever seen – so big and wide and changeable. Or maybe it is the sound of kids playing out in the streets until late into the evening, reminding me of my own summers full of freckles and scraped knees. Perhaps even the cooing of the wood pigeons in the distance that I can hear right now. Whatever it is, it’s vaguely undefinable – a simple concoction of sensory memories hardly acknowledged that suddenly evoke the feeling of home.
Or perhaps I am simply romanticising the whole thing as I know this will be my last summer at home for a while. Truthfully, summer is not actually my favourite time of year, this being reserved for Autumn – a far superior season to the rest. However, just like a jilted lover, this season seems to be the one that is pulling out all of the stops to remind me of what I will be missing in three weeks.
I wanted to try and record these moments, my thoughts and feelings so that I can document this journey. One day I want to be able to look back at these chapters even if nobody else ever reads them. Moving to Dubai with my children, making a new life in the Middle East – these are massive moments for me but in amongst the practicalities, of which there are many, there are these sensory moments and personal reflections which really feel like the milestone moments.
Anyway, there’s a school run to do so enough of this.
18 days and counting…