There was an ironic second just before G left us in the UK when we pondered how I would cope with both boys on my own. Although it’s been but a few short months here, life before Iznik, before parenting as a team seems a memory already in the past. Parenting as a tag-team has changed the balance in our life, tipping the scales in funs’ favour but one of the blessings of our extended UK trip was the opportunity to experience parenting in a village. Staying with my Grandmother, my Mum and siblings plus best friend since forever were only mere minutes away. Whether it was the drop of the hat calls to an unplanned expedition when excess energy was placing Gran’s vases in danger, lazy evenings with someone else bathing the boys, coffee dates with hot coffee, simple walks to feed the ducks in the parks we ourselves roamed or big family days out, having the village around us was delightful.
There’s always a moment, usually a few days back in, when the flip side of life here will hit me. Without drop-in playgroups, or family close by having a baby -or two!- can mean hours of time just you and them. Hours meaning days in reality. Much of this is cherished, that which isnt can be tempered knowing noone knows your kids better but the presciousness of being at home with your babies cannot always negate the thud of aloneness. A few days into being back home, with home for the first time being Iznik not Istanbul, and I felt that familiar dullness. When M started asking for “car” followed by “‘Elen”, I knew it was time to get out. The ease with which we left the house this time round was enough in itself to lift my heart. No uneven pavments or erratic dolmuş drivers, just lanes and the sounds of the country. We made our way a kilometre or so, paused to watch the frogs jump in their parkside home pond, then headed on down to the lake. Iznik lake is around 60 kilometres round and surrounded as it is by reeds and inlets and ripe olive groves there’re many secluded places to be found. Our senses led us down an already favoured path. M raced ahead, feet side flicking as knocked knees drew his run forward arms waving, I followed with T awake in his sling, eyes following his brother, and felt the headiness fall swiftly away. In the time we’d been gone the land has woken up from its slumber and every tree is bring life into being.
An hour or so later, stones thrown, twigs dipped, chocolate all melted in his hands I carried a snoozing M back in the front door, noting as I closed it the laughter sounds from the children outside. We may not have a village that is already built but we do have the makings of a new one. In the closed site we live in, children play freely outside in the evenings, doors open and shut often as neighbours pop in and about and the mountains stand tall in the distance. M is happier, T blossoms in his own right and I can survive without chocolate. With a fridge full of Cadbury’s that’s a sure sign if any that Spring has arrived early here.