Sunday, May 6, 2012

Rainy Days and Sundays...

Despite my effort at trying to be an optimist, I have to admit that these last couple of weeks I have been in a bit of a "funk." You know, those moods where even though things are generally okay, you still feel like something is weighing on you. Having grown up in sunny Texas, and having spent a few years in Chicago where winter lasts forever, I know that the weather has a huge influence on my mood. So, even though the forecast has been pretty much like this for the last 3-4 weeks, we have had a few days where the sun has been out, the skies will turn blue, there may even be the occasional rainbow, but it is quickly replaced by the dark, emerging clouds that just seem to be hovering over Europe. Couple this with the fact that the husband has been in India on business this last week and I just find a funk.

In all honesty, I usually get this funk right after the Christmas holidays. January is generally my hibernate month, which suits me just fine given the weather. Regardless of where I was living at the time, January always seems to be gray. Surprisingly, this year actually wasn't so bad. It may have been brutally cold, but I guess I had our trip to Texas to look forward to and things seemed to be moving along at a normal clip following the holiday craziness. I guess this year my funk was delayed a bit. April/May are usually two of my more favorite months. Spring finally comes, the flowers bloom, the birds start chirping, blah, blah, blah. But this week, despite the festivities of May Day (a holiday here in Europe and a great time for the school to through a fun family festival), the weekends have brought on the blues. The song may say "Rainy Days and Mondays," but for me it is definitely Sundays that do it to me. The obvious reason is that there isn't much to do on Sundays what with the stores being closed. After a long week at school and busy Saturdays with sports and errands, Sundays are quite anti-climatic. The boys dive into their computers or video games, or spend the day catching up on missed TV from the week. That all is fine, but for me, I am anxious to get out of the house and explore. These last couple of weeks it just hasn't been much of an option, mostly because anything we would like to go see, we would rather see with Dad in tow. Also, the rain. It just isn't much of a motivator!

Last Sunday was actually quite nice for a few hours, so I leashed up the dog and took her for a walk through the Petrusse Valley, a walk we have been meaning to do since we moved into the house but just hadn't gotten around to doing. B actually wanted to join me on his bike, and I felt awful for telling him it was a "walk only" option, but I just didn't want to deal with a kid on a bike (going down steep walking paths) AND a golden retrieve on a leash. I needed to relax, not stress even more! So, Shelby and I headed out, with apparently most every other Luxembourger needing a break from the cabin fever. The paths were packed and everyone was out trying to grab what little vitamin D they could capture between rain storms. It really was a lovely walk, though I am not sure Shelby thought the same. It was a long walk for her and her first experience walking through the Grund and the City Center. The City Center is also quite busy this week since the Octave festival is taking place in Place Guillame. You could smell the cotton candy from blocks away. In any case, it was a nice break, but I quickly found myself back in front of the TV, catching up on movies and sneaking back down into my funk. *sigh*

The other factor for this sluggish mood also happens to be the upcoming celebration of Mother's Day. As a mother, I really do love the holiday and feel so blessed to be on the receiving end of such a thoughtful event, but having lost my own mom 14 years ago, it always seems to have its bittersweet edges. Now that my boys are becoming teenagers, I often yearn for her advice. Having two older brothers close in age, I imagine she could have given me quite an earful. However, I will never have the opportunity to learn from her experience, to hear her advice or see her sympathetic nod when I tell her how I just can't understand why the boys do some of the things they do. In all honestly, I probably brought her more questions or frustration, so I guess I should heave a sigh of relief that I didn't have a girl. Instead, I do wish I had the kind of mother-daughter relationship we had. She was always the one I could go to, lean on, and cry with when the world just didn't seem to be fair.

I lost my father last year after years of declining health. Though we never were really that close, I grew up with that never-ending desire to please him - to be "Daddy's little girl." January and February of last year was excruciating, driving all over Texas for hospital visits, doctor appointments, and finally, last days spent at hospice just wanting his pain to be over. He passed away on his birthday (April 3rd) at the age of 83. This year we were with my in-laws in Paris on April 3rd and I lit a candle in his memory at Notre Dame. Although my parents were not raised as Catholics, my dad's parents were. My grandfather would often travel to Mexico City to the cathedral and light a candle for family members traveling abroad or who had recently passed. My father carried this tradition on, so I wanted to honor that tradition as well.

I can't begin to imagine what my parents would think today if they knew we had moved to Luxembourg, such a teeny, tiny country in the middle of Europe. They always knew I wanted to travel, and my father never could understand why I was so adamant to take French over Spanish. What I am sure he saw as rebellion (he really wanted us to learn Spanish but had never taught us), ended up working for me in the long run, I suppose. I like to think they are up in heaven somewhere discussing my "independent" streak and are, in some small way, proud that all three of their children took the risks and opportunities they had in life that they perhaps felt they could never take during theirs. In a world that seems to get smaller and smaller every passing generation, I feel that the biggest gift Joe and I can bestow on our boys is the international perspective and experience that this opportunity has given us. I know that it will be years before they see the value in it themselves, but I firmly believe that they will become better, more sympathetic adults as a result of learning that this universe is not just the small little world in which they exist, but is comprised of so much more. A world full of people with the same aspirations, same dreams, and same desire to pass along so much more than what they had when they were growing up, in a place with endless possibilities. I know their lives will have many "rainy days and Sundays" - I just want to give them the tools and the knowledge to get them through those "funks" and know that without rainy days, we wouldn't have rainbows.