It’s now six months since I left Warsaw. I’ve been keeping in touch with Jaś and Maja via weekly skyping, when none of us are gallivanting, and via fortnightly postcards. I also score the occasional photo from their busy parents, and a flurry from Auntie F when she visits in July.
They do ballet and judo after school on the days we used to pick them up. They’ve graduated to “big bikes with pedals, Nanny Meg.” They have planted, watered and picked radishes. They can say “r” – red, brown, green, radish – and relish giving me a recital of “r” words. They too have been on an old-fashioned train. Maja has lost none of her expertise at nagging: “the swimming pool AND the fountain … the swimming pool AND the fountain … the swimming pool AND the fountain … the swimming pool AND the fountain … the swimming pool AND the fountain …” She is tireless. I heard her in the background one Skype session.
When Auntie Franki visits for 3 weeks she takes them to preschool, shopping, the zoo, the geology museum and the swimming pool, and has management skills that far exceed ours – although she points out that they have grown up considerably since her last visit in September. It looks as if she invites silly faces, and ice cream obviously maintains its charms.
There are plenty of holidays: back to Grójec Wielki where we holidayed with them last year, and where our grandparental hands were missed; to Serock; and then for two weeks in Texas. They were in Houston for Hurricane Harvey, but they managed to pat a baby alligator with its mouth taped closed; sit in a rocket at the space centre; travel on the Mississippi; visit New Orleans; spend time in the Whitney Plantation Museum. Jaś mined treasures (quartz and amethyst and other shards) from a salted tub of dirt. Maja’s treasure to show me last Skype was a yellow plastic drill, reward for getting up for preschool when she was still jet-lagged.
I’ve finally got round to creating an album of “The year we turned 4”, with the pick of the photos from our year-long stay. Now we can leaf through the year whenever we like and relish the memories. I miss the dailiness of contact and my own noticing dreadfully, and I’m slowly beginning to contemplate crossing the world next northern spring.