S03, Episode 5: Road Trip (pt2)Finale.
Laughter ensues as poor Huw dodges yet another near miss of my red wine sloshing onto his cream trousers. I talk with my hands and it seems not to matter if I’m clutching a brimming glass of wine or not. The poor man is being regaled with stories from a slightly tipsy, definitely hyper-me.
This hyper-mode is a reaction. A somewhat extreme reaction to the overwhelming sense of relief I’m feeling. Ross’s family turned out to be perfectly lovely - the girls and I are welcomed and embraced. As far as I can see there are no knives, yelling matches or gaslighting. Phew.
The problem with Emma in hyper mode is…well, I am a bit too much. Too talky, too loud, too winey, too unstable. By unstable I am referring to my noticeable frequency of staggering, weaving and stumbling. Historically I am not known for my precision gymnastics but recently, wine or no wine, I have the ability to wobble.
I suspect that the stress of the last few years and all the change has left me feeling that the ground beneath my feet has been unstable. It’s natural to have a reaction and I know from previous bouts of anxiety that it can literally knock you for six. But this has been happening more frequently and I still have that strange pain in my right leg. This is also one of the first moments in so many years I have been able to relax. So the fatigue and brain fuzziness are just unwinding, allowing me to be safe and happy.
But there isn’t much time for that, I’m having a great time. Simply being with fun, nice folks and bonding over a shared love of family. The fun of bonding with people over silly things is something I haven’t had much experience with. My upbringing was a torrent of shifts and changes, all exciting but not how ‘other’ people lived. Most people bond over shared music, tv, shops and even advertising. I grew up knowing plant names, cloud formations, greek mythology, books by the library load and horses. Oh and I can build an excellent fire. You know just like most of my gen x contemporaries…
I might be feeling rested due to the fact I have barely seen my children for the last four days. Every morning they have been up at the crack of dawn jumping into a perishingly cold swimming pool. It might be a clement English summer but the outdoor pool is still approximately -15ºC. I know they are still alive as the shrieks and screams as they hit the icy water echo around the holiday complex.
Currently, as I insist on giving Huw a mini heart attack every time I wobble in his general direction, the girls are chasing the other kids in and out of the hedges that line the small gardens. I know from the howling that Lily is happy building dens and from the singing Daisy is picking flowers whilst dressed in my high heels and silk scarf. The chatter is upbeat and there are outbursts of laughter as family stories are shared, relived and chuckled over. It is good to see Ross among his family. People who knew him as a little boy, as a teen and of course as a family man with his newly acquired brood.
The journey home is quiet, reflective and punctuated by the gentle snores of two exhausted but happy children.
‘Well, darling, I think that went rather well.’
I smile to myself, maybe, just maybe, I can do this family lark.
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