Well day three has hit, and day three has been a tricky one for Bev and I. It’s the first day we have had during which we have not had anything to do, no boat to embark or plane to catch, no packing or goodbyes, no stress or worry for the first time in weeks, and it has allowed us both to contemplate what lies ahead.
Today we have both had worries and fears which centre around the same point but pull in different directions, our change in roles.
Ill introduce to the players and characters in our story some other time, suffice to say there are a good number of British people heading to St Helena to start or continue work, I on the other hand am not. I am heading to St Helena to support my wife, look after the children and see what happens from there. This troubles me, and I knew it would.
Bev on the other hand is taking a step back from the children, a step back from running the home, and whilst she has worked in teaching for many years, this is the first time in a long time that she will be the main bread winner, the first time eve as the sole money winner, she is working full time and I will be at home, making house.
Today I have felt like a spare part, “so, why are you heading to St Helena?” has been a common question, the answer to which I must defer to my wife. It’s a strange and unsettling feeling for me to not have an answer, for the reason to not involve me, to not feel useful or that I am making a valuable contribution. Of course supporting Bev and raising the children is important, but it does not make for an interesting or inspiring conversation for others, and time again the conversation has turned away from me. This may sound like a selfish way of looking at things, as if I want to be centre of attention. Those of you who know me well, will know of course that I always want to be centre of attention, but I’m happy to concede this to Bev on this occasion and, and of course I am thrilled for her, but today I wasn’t sure if I even had a part to play in the story.
If Im honest, making home is not what I wish to be doing for two years, and I had dreams of diving, snorkelling, fishing and photography, helping out on volunteer projects and getting involved in a range of things. But the reality of having a dependant three year old in tow, and the restrictions that places on me have come to the fore of my mind set today.
Im sure when we have settled and I get to know the island and its peoples then opportunities will arise, but right now I am not sure of my place or my future.
Bev on the other hand has become quite daunted by the conversations, the responsibility and burden, the fear of not being the main care giver and not being the centre of our boy’s world. A crisis of confidence in her Marine Biology knowledge and the expectations of the local Saints has come across her and despite my attempted words of reassurance she feels anxious about her role and what lies ahead for he professionally, and personally.
We have both expected these feeling to come, they are not out of the blue or a surprise, but the middle day of our journey has somehow allowed us time to think and dwell on our thoughts. We know we both have to find ways to overcome our worries and embrace the challenges.
It is typical that our biggest fears of this move away are the exact opposite, and right now we would both swap places in an instance. But we haven’t taken this plunge to be easy we haven’t moved across the globe, to miss our friends and family and the comfort and security of home to shy away from challenges.
Everyday challenges of changes to life, people, shopping, lack of convenience and home comforts we can take, fundamental changes to our roles, and place within our little family will be a bigger challenge, but one which I hope we can embrace. I hope I learn to care for my children, and not just tolerate them, and to value being a Dad as highly as I value my career, and I hope that Bev learns how capable, how incredible and how wonderful she is, I hope she learns to look upon herself as I and others do.
I have no regrets or doubt we are doing the right thing and I relish what lies ahead, but today was a small taste of reality that this won’t just be plain sailing across and calm Blue Ocean.
On final word, to end on a lighter note, it seems we have become known as “Red Suitcase” amongst the staff.making me even more revealed of that little golden tag!