25 January 2014

The last time....and the first time #expatlife

Chelsea Flower Show, photo here

As we pack up for boarding school in Australia, my youngest, Connor, plays a game with me.. "Mom, do you know, this will be the last time we..". He says it with a twinkle in his eye and big open smile that melts my heart. I laugh, falling prey to the tease and quickly quip something back, as I always do. We laugh, we jest...we stay positive. 


Connor's soldiers, photo here

This is the point when I think all mother's deserve an award for BRAVERY...for remaining calm and collected in the face of motherhood, for being strong so that your child will be strong. This is when all those deep breaths we take to "stay calm" could nearly put us in a coma...but we catch ourselves just before we do. This is when I stand in the face of denial... it was not that long ago that Connor was lining up his soldiers for battle...time passes too swiftly.

Four children, four times playing "the last time" in the weeks before they moved onto their next adventure. Four rounds of restless nights, quiet moments and countless self-pep talks. With ten years between our youngest and oldest, we know there are years to go before we see the last graduation diploma. We have four years before the last high school diploma, eight years before the last college diploma and many more miles to fly in the flurry of it all. For that..I am so very grateful.

To keep my sanity these past few day, I turned to a fun little App...Waterlogue. It enables you to take your photos and turn them into watercolor paintings. If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it...just beware, it can be addictive.  Thanks to Jane for recommending it.

I tried my iPhone at...

Tahilla Farm covered in snow...with thanks to Gordon Hayward, photos here

Deer crossing at Tahilla Farm...with thanks to Joe Valentine, photo here.

Between seasons at Tahilla...via my sister Kathleen, photo here.

Open view from our hay loft..., photo here.

From New Hampshire to Saigon...an open view  at Chateau Mango.


A cutting from our garden...lotus flower in full bloom. 

With that, I wish you a wonderful weekend...
may it be filled with creative possibilities!

Jeanne xx


PS..

Thank you all for your thoughts
on shades of greyYou are the best!

29 comments:

  1. beautiful Jeanne! I give you a lot of credit for being able to do it. I would undoubtedly be a big weepy mess! You're a great mother, and a very talented photographer and waterloguer! Mine don't seem to have the same flair, but yours are stunning. Good luck with all your "lasts"!

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    1. Thank you Stephanie...here is to mothers everywhere! xx

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    2. You, and a power outage, inspired me to go back and try. And I think I finally got the hang of what works, and what doesn't. And now, I'm hooked too!

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  2. Gosh, the watercolour app is wonderful, I must try that out!

    Bravery, yes indeed....just one of the strengths required of us, amongst many others...you are so right Jeanne, as always. I am one of those who is always saying it's the last this & the last that...Connor saying it made me smile!!

    Even my daughter fast approaching 13 and knowing how much she has changed in the last 18 months, I can feel myself clinging to my 8 year old & appreciating my time with him so much, knowing what I know now....how when they move on, there's no going back. Time truly does fly when you become a parent.

    I have been meaning to say something to you....you were kind enough to send me a really kind message about a year ago when we were going through some really challenging times with my daughter, things improved although & recently some issues re-occurred, lots of ups & downs, the majority of them very unexpected. What you shared really stayed with me though and out of all the advice and wisdom I received, some days your words go round & round my head....if that makes sense.

    Parenting is a challenge - and a privilege too of course - & I guess we never quite know when the challenging times will arrive. I just wanted to thank you & to say that what you said to me made a big difference & helped me a great deal....thank you Xx

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    1. You are so sweet Simone...I recall writing to you, drawing on my own experiences. A mother's journey, so nice when we can share..xx

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  3. Sue M.

    Thanks again for another great idea!

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  4. What a wonderful post, Jeanne! I admire your motherly courage more than you could ever know! I hate for mine to even go off to college just 1 hour and 45 minutes down the road…or live 5 hours away in New Orleans! I'm so thankful that our oldest and his wife and our only grandchild live a mere 10 minutes away. I think you are the bravest woman I know, truthfully! Oldest and youngest are 10 years apart as well…it makes for a very interesting ride! I'm so excited to learn about this app! I just had surgery so I am up all hours now and feel like this will keep me busy! We shall see! Thanks for sharing your heart with us!

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    1. Just goes to show Carolyn...it does not matter how far, we all feel the same. Take care of your self and enjoy the App....xx

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  5. Yes indeed children seem to grow quickly.We enjoy their growing up.
    Your watercolors are wonderful.
    Cheri & I saw David Hockney's exhibit last week in De Young Art Museum and San Francisco with all the vibrant colors. David Hockney should videos on how he used his iPad for watercolors and oil paintings.
    Interesting modern trend.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

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    1. Thank you Edgar...and now I am intrigued. Love modern trends!

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  6. Jeanne you have been on my mind these last few weeks as I remembered this time was drawing close. Your post brought tears to my eyes as I imagined you laughing and packing up your dear sweet boy. You deserve an award for more than bravery. You deserve an award for raising four wonderful, intelligent and loving kids who have traveled the world with you and Mr. H and then spread their wings to fly off to school, work, and the military.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you Jeanne as you send your last little one on a new adventure.

    Xxelizabeth

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  7. This is so cool....I saw your instagrams! And I love your story! xx

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    1. Thank you Annie...I know YOU will love this App!

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  8. Oh such a tough time this Jeanne - stay strong. Sending you hugs and a big thank you for introducing me to Waterlogue...it's a HUGE time-waster.But fun! F xx

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    1. So glad you are enjoying it Francesca...so important to have these little diversions. Mind play at it's best...xx

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  9. You always know what to say perfectly!
    BRAVERY……………what a well suited word for us MOMS!
    As for the water color APP…….Here I come!

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  10. Jeanne, this is something I can't imagine, not having had children but I most certainly do sympathize with such strong pulling at your heart strings and am sending you a warm hug.

    And your waterlogues are so beautiful! I have only JUST started to Instagram and fear that if I try this nothing at all will ever get done. ;)
    xo
    H

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  11. Waterlogue seems very cool. Will have to check it out. So know what you are going through with kids. My sons are growing too fast and I just want to make it all slow down. High school years especially so.
    Love your blog.

    Kim

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  12. once a parent, always a parent! my mom used to say that now I believe her + loved the story + the app,did not know about it. thanks. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  13. Oh, my goodness...I wondered if he was already there or if the time is drawing near. I see it is and I wish you both the best of luck. It will be so wonderful after the drop off and a few weeks have gone by and starts to get the feel of his new world and a pattern develops that becomes comforting to you both. Is he excited about this new adventure? I am sure a new way of communicating will develop between the two of you that will be interesting and enriching as it unfolds. I can't wait to hear the many stories that are to come!

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  14. Waterlogue. What a fabulous app! That would cheer me up any day! Wish I had a Mac...

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  15. Oh Jeanne, you are so brave. I can imagine how it must feel, Letting go of them is so very hard and time just flies and we can do nothing to stop it. Waterlogue sounds like something I will definitely enjoy. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. I'm not sure a mother's heart registers the difference between 100 or 1000 miles when it comes to saying goodbye to our child. Especially the youngest. I can imagine the mixed emotions you had as you got Connor ready for boarding school Jeanne. Even though you've gone through it three times before, I think each goodbye is as unique as the child. And our relationship to them, and from reading your blog, i know you had a special bond with Connor. Bravery is a good description for the smiles we Mothers wear to mask our twinges of sadness. Keep us posted on Connor and his new adventures.:)

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  17. It must not be easy to let your child go away like this. I remember when I told my mum I was going to America for a two-year visit, she did not stop me. But I did feel bad when I decided to stay in the US – she only saw her grandchildren maybe 4 times in her life. I really like your waterlogue pictures – I’ll try to find the ap.

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  18. Thanks for the head's up about Waterlogue - I downloaded it and I love it! I've vowed to my friends to use it sparingly...

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  19. Bravo, Jeanne! And I love your waterlogue images of Tahilla Farm. BTW, I didn't know about waterlogue until your Instagram shots :) So many thanks! xoxo, Loi

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  20. PS - Now that we have our summer home in Maine, perhaps we'll meet up in New England!! Or Vietnam when I return one day.....

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Can I just say....that I so enjoy what YOU have to say. Just a few words or a few paragraphs, no matter. If you would like to write to me directly, I would love to hear from you... jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com

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