Lavender

The Ordinary Lovely: Lavender fields

It sometimes feels a little strange having been pregnant and given birth to my boys in a different country to the one we live in now. I'm no longer surrounded by the people, objects, buildings, language, and climate even, that remind me of the hormonal whirlwinds that were the nine months of growing my two little cherubs and then the sleepless chaos of their first years. And without those reference points, I sometimes feel like I'm in danger of losing my memories of those extra special times.

I don't drive past the hospital where they were born, I don't walk down the streets where I once pushed my eldest in his pram for close to three hours because it was the only way to get him to sleep, I don't pop in to the city on the tram in the 35 degree heat wondering if can you ever smother a baby in too much sun cream, I don't embarrass myself in the local supermarket questioning the manager in extremely flawed German as to whether he intends to stock Ella's Kitchen in the near future, and I don't stare at my living room floor and see the first time both boys crawled and my eldest walk, scoot and ride a bike.

I know that this was once our life but it almost feels like it happened to someone else. A family that looked a lot like us but wasn't actually us. It's hard to marry the city-living, tram-riding, German-speaking family that we were just over 18 months ago with the countryside-dwelling, welly-loving, English-speaking/Welsh-learning four that we are now. We've come a long way since then. In truth, we've come home. And despite the odd moment of nostalgia, and the odd sigh at not being able to find a restaurant quite like my favourite Thai one in Zürich, I've ... we've ... not regretted the decision.

And sometimes, if I'm very, very lucky, the sun and the seasons align to give me the best of both countries ... of both lives ... almost like an opening to a parallel universe. While lying in our garden last week, I caught the scent of lavender on the breeze and was whisked straight back to Zürich's Bahnhofstrasse. I was in the UK having a cuddle outside with my littlest but at the same time walking with Paul along a sunny street close to Lake Zürich having just been for our first six month scan, and marvelling at the clarity of it. We ventured past a beautiful florist's called Marsano and the most heavenly scented display of lavender. I remember stopping to take in both the smell and the arrangement, patting my bump as I considered buying a pot for our apartment. I didn't, but I remember that day, and that smell, for all its joyous anticipation of being just twelve weeks away from meeting out first son, and one of our last lunch dates à deux before his arrival. 

Five years on, and some 4,000 miles away, cuddling the little brother of that 'bump', all it took was the simple smell of an everyday evergreen shrub to evoke a memory of a long-forgotten but much-cherished moment. Maybe I'm not in danger of losing those precious memories, after all. Maybe they'll just creep up on me when I least expect them. Maybe they're just tucked away in a tiny drawer in my brain waiting to be opened by a faded but familiar sight, smell, or sound. So I'll no longer worry about losing them or trying to force them. One day, they'll return, and whenever they do, they will most definitely be welcome.

The Ordinary Lovely: Lavender fields
The Ordinary Lovely: Lavender fields
The Ordinary Lovely: Lavender fields