London, LA…LA, London. I’m planning a trip back to London in a week and taking only one of my sons. I’ve never done this before but it’s a special time for him with the lead up to his Bar Mitzvah and I’m excited to indulge our relationship with time and simply be together, rather than being the voice that tells him what to do in every moment. He’s a teenager, I know, and I’m not alone in this, but I crave more time with him without all the rules of play.
Equally, I feel unnerved about leaving the others. They are in good hands and almost too excited to be with the nanny and do all the activities I’ve organized. “When do you go?” they ask with enthusiasm. I remind myself that this is better than tears and I know there will be more than a tinge of weirdness as eldest and I walk away at the airport. I was the youngest of four in my family and my parents waited until I was old enough to travel to go on any trips. I’ve prescribed to that togetherness, family unity-shared memories style all these years but this trip does feel right.
During our week there Husband’s movie comes out and I’m insisting on Champagne nights. Whether we have all the critics on our side or not, surely this is the right time for bubbles. These moments are a result of such hard work over such a long time, I would hate to get so wrapped up in numbers and reviews that we don’t have any fun. I watch creative people all the time either deal with the fear of failure or, strangely so, the fear of success. Marking the moment of arriving is necessary. The actual feeling of success is fleeting at best as it’s human nature to look ahead, want to conquer the next mountain. So I say grab it, be in it, toast it for what it’s worth in that one moment before your eyes fall upon the next Everest.
At the minute I am arranging what will be a very full week in London and simultaneously am organizing activities and events here. These stages are when my two lives live in each other’s pockets like best friends and I get to have play dates with both. I visualize myself sitting in my London kitchen with dear friends as easily as I sit watching tonight’s sunset from my deck in Santa Monica. I talk to everyone in my head hoping both sides hear me and am extremely excited to switch and sit in the garden In London, with the Ocean in my mind’s eye.
As for my boys, I am making The Bible for the nanny whilst I’m away. The Hamm Family Bible consists of days broken down into hours, separated with each boy’s needs, friends, numbers and directions of what to do. Anticipating what she will need to know is not that easy as it’s never the obvious that ends up happening. What to do when little one cries out after having fallen asleep on sofa before bedtime – which light to leave on in the hallway to make everyone feel safe – how much sugar is too much sugar and who goes crazy on it – how to tell if one of them is truly sad, or sick… When I actually write down their schedules, all the driving and planning and thinking involved in getting everybody everywhere relatively on time, I smile with the realization of how much I do and laugh with the reminder of why my mind is too full to have real space for anything else.
The fact I can’t remember a certain president’s name, a country’s capital, a cause I actually fought for, or what I read in college…I graduated from UCLA with honors dammit – is down to the uninspiring, overwhelming minutia of detail that makes four little boys very happy. Worth it? Yep.