I'm back home now and back into my everyday life again. It took a while to adjust back. The contrast between a Somerset winter of mild grey days and the South African summer with its dry air and shimmering light; the sleepless night flight and travelling; the emerging from the insulated bubble that seems to surround you after someone has died with its intense focus on that person, the reminiscences and the practical pulling together as a family; with all of that I felt like I did when we used to visit South Africa on holiday - unreal, foreign, not quite all there, with my feet hovering above the ground.
A weekend of drifting and then the demands of school, of picking up the thread of work again with my clients, pulled me back into myself again. Youngest's start at kindergarten hadn't gone well. My husband had tried to take her when the school term started while I was still away. She had refused to join in with anything and when he left her after two hours had stayed behind a curtain, refused to go to the loo and only eaten her sandwiches later outside on her own. Wisely he'd decided to leave another go until I was back.
So this week I spent two mornings at kindergarten with her, to try and make her feel secure enough to at least try and join in. Part of her problem is that she is shy of strangers and refuses to let anyone she doesn't know touch her or help her.. and that includes the teachers. Plus she has an innate fear of failure - hating to get anything wrong and she'd rather not join in with a song or game that she doesn't know than risk embarrassing herself by getting it wrong - a big burden for a five year old, who hasn't had time to learn everything in the whole world just yet.
The two mornings went better than I thought and on the second day she actually went off to play out of my line of vision with two girls that she knows from before. I'll have to keep going a bit longer though, as any new song or activity puts her back to the starting point of insecurity and the teachers are still Public Enemy Number 1 in her eyes! So another two mornings of unutterable tedium for me next week - I need to find some sewing or something to keep me busy so that I can gradually fade into the wallpaper as she finds her feet.
Meanwhile we are having hot hot weather, relieved a bit by rain last night, though it is still horribly humid and the worst indignity of all - a mole has killed off my mulberry tree, which was growing brilliantly and had the most delicious fruit, and it has now sunk into the ground and is lolling at a drunken angle. There are still a few roots attached so I've filled in the ground around it and watered profusely, but I think the mole is just saving those roots for afters, so I don't hold out much hope. We are seriously considering putting our organic principles to one side and resorting to gassing the creatures. BTW these aren't the cute little English moles, these are great huge African moles with long teeth, capable of turning a lawn into the
I want to say a huge thank you to everybody who commented here and sent messages of sympathy to me and my family. It was enormously comforting feeling that wave of energy and the sense of community from the blog world, from friends and friends of friends, and we all really appreciated it.