My husband and I were living in Germany when I became pregnant for the first time. I had no idea back then how our daughter’s birth overseas would be the beginning of a family narrative that would shape my children’s lives so distinctly.
I received my doctor’s hearty approval—Kein Problem! — to vacation in Tuscany two months before my due-date. With great expectations, we joined our old German friends, transported to Florence in their sleek black Mercedes. Perhaps my doctor would have felt regret a few days later had he witnessed my husband and me standing in the wrong queue at the spectacular Il Duomo. We believed we were in line to see the cathedral, not climb to the top of the dome.
So it was, at 7-months pregnant I found myself climbing the notoriously winding, narrow stairwell of the Il Duomo. Four-hundred sixty-three steps with baby inside. It was claustrophobic. The air was stale. The thickness of other sweaty human beings clambering to the top pressed unforgivingly into my personal space: my rounded belly. Back on solid earth, I thought of what would have happened had I gone into labor then and there, in that tight, dank, ancient stairwell. I’d taken a risk, but since everything had turned out well, I was overjoyed to have that glorious view over Florence forever printed in my mind.
The mysterious relationship between pregnant woman and her unborn child is elusive. I was going on with my unorthodox life, carting my little unborn daughter along, unmindful of injecting a spirit of adventure in her.
We grew to be a family of four and lived for a short time in Dubai. Arabic music delighted us and we acclimated to the call of worship punctuating the air throughout the day.
Read the full story on SheKnows.
If you can get through this, you can get through anything.
If you consider your family life healthy don’t test it by going to IKEA for the day, especially if you have recently moved overseas to an unfamiliar city such as London, with previous stops along the way in exotic-but-foreign places.
I’ve recently recovered from a family outing to a London IKEA after making just such a protracted international move. I’d prepared for our journey to IKEA well in advance, measuring every potential living and storage arrangement possible in our 900-square-foot flat.
Except for clothing and personal effects, we’d moved with nothing. Our flat was empty and a robust shopping trip was needed for items such as tomorrow morning’s cup for my American cup-of-coffee.
Read in full on YourTango.
Love City, Love Bike
In downtown Austin, the clerk helps me with my groceries: wine, chocolate, tea, pepperoni and eggs.
“Is a double-bag fine?”
Uh-huh, I nod and add to please pack things tightly.
I load my sturdy basket behind the seat of my old lady’s bike, as my teens call it. I’m mostly worried the eggs won’t make it home on the path that leads to our downtown high-rise apartment.
When we moved to Austin not only did we downsize to fit our family of four into an apartment in the heart of the city, we freed ourselves of our second car. Between bikes, Uber and car-sharing options, having one car was completely rational. Biking around town is our preference, whether to the store, doctor or coffee shop.
Go to Austin American-Statesman for the full story.
“When our son was 4, he fell in love. The object of his affection was voluptuous—far too old for him. He saw her constantly. She had long flowing hair and intense eyes. He called her his “little love.” The crown she wore lent an air of power while sleek fins encircling her projected steady but enticing mystery.
The fact that our son was smitten by the Starbucks Mermaid was our fault.
One of our oldest family traditions is spending Saturday mornings at the local coffee shop. Started long before kids came along, this easy-going tradition was a sweet opening to weekends. We didn’t have a lot of money and the coffee shop fit our wallet. Wherever we lived, we targeted the local, indie or chain, just as long as we could reach it by foot. Whether sunny and blistering hot, wintry and blowing icy winds, we’d wake up and sleepily trudge towards the coffee shop hand in hand.
When we started having kids, going out for coffee each Saturday morning was a tradition we were determined to continue. We selfishly coveted this entrée into the weekend as a young couple and didn’t want kids to change this beloved routine.”
Read in full on Brain, Child.
Summertime. Families are on the move. Are you ready, moms?
A timely reminder on Ten to Twenty today!
Today, WSJ Hilary Potkewitz probes the challenges IKEA presents to relationships in “Can Your Relationship Handle IKEA?” My personal testimony on this very theme was published by The Good Men Project.
“The One Trip Guaranteed to Stretch Your Marriage”
Coinciding with the time of year where thoughts turn to relationships, I’m happy to publish this story with The Good Men Project which faces the gritty reality of marriage against the backdrop of a grim visit to IKEA after moving internationally to London.