Apr 26, 2008

Change Is In The Air

For the last few weeks, I do not think I've slept past 6 am once. The sun wakes me up each morning by flooding the room with sunlight well before the alarm clock considers jumping into action.

It's a glorious way to wake up - in every sense of the word. I do not have to rush out of bed to prepare for the day. I have plenty of time to lie and think about everything and nothing, before I turn to the task of dragging two groggy boys to the breakfast table.

The evenings are equally light. Yesterday, Mike and I went out for a walk at 8:30 pm, and when we returned from an hour-long stroll around our neighbourhood, the sun was still high and bright in the sky.

These long days are one of the biggest benefits of being this far north. Sure, we pay for it during the winter, but it's a trade-off I'm happy to make.

Though there's still frost on the ground each morning, the sun quickly heats up the day and the trees, shrubs and plants are bursting to explode into full spring foliage. It won't be long now, until the last remnants of snow in the sun-deprived areas behind the garage are gone forever.

Posters made by the kids to Benjamin



Transition is in the cards everywhere, as B boy said goodbye to his Norwegian school class yesterday.

After a party day at school, with yummy food, speeches and presents, he came home with letters and drawings from every child in his class, a photo album of his months at the school, not to mention lots and lots of good memories.

The level of success Benjamin's had this year is more gratifying to me than almost anything else we've done, as he was my biggest concern when we embarked on this adventure.

Unlike his big brother who charmed his way through childhood with an easy smile and friendly demeanor, Benjamin can be a bit socially awkward.

While he is the most generous and caring boy I know, when he gets into a group setting, or feels insecure, he starts acting silly and goofy, forgetting any and all manners he may have picked up along the way.

To the uninitiated, he probably seems wild, restless and out of control, when the fact of the matter is that he's shy and unsure about how to handle those feelings of insecurity.

I was worried that coming to a different school, learning another language and having to make new friends would be too much for him. Mike and I had an 'emergency' plan of withdrawing him from school if things didn't work out for him, and simply home-schooling him instead.

But children are so resilient, aren't they? Not only has Benjamin done an excellent job learning a new language, he's also made more friends here than he made in three years of school in Canada.

These last few weeks have been chock-full of playdates for my B boy, eager to squeeze in every last minute of social time with his little buddies. Plans have been made to meet up next time we're in Norway. Email and MSN addresses have been exchanged.

While B boy still suffers from awkwardness and over-excitability in new settings, he really has come such a long way in learning to manage those feelings. He's changed a lot these last 10 months, and I couldn't be prouder of my baby boy.

37 comments:

jenontheedge said...

I understand exactly your initial concerns about B's transition when you first moved to Norway, as those would have been my same concerns about Elegant. I'm so glad he's had such a successful time of it and wonder if this success will lead to a more confident boy when he returns to Canada.

Anna-borderline-bonkers-banana :) said...

I don't know why but I am all choked up over this. The mornings do indeed sound glorious. I am enjoying them too, though I find I am getting less sleep. We are back to naps here once again and I need em!

B's adaptations are remarkable, I hope that when he comes back to Canada that he does just as well. It seems he has really grown while you have been there.

Hope you have a great weekend!
Anna

katiez said...

Hmmmmm, maybe you (and he) have discovered that he really likes challenges....
What a wonderful year this has been for him - probably much more so than his brother!
And aren't the longer days glorious? We are not so far north, but because of where we are in the time zone we get long, long evenings... It's light until 9:30 now and I love it. (although it's still dark at 6:30 in the morning...I'm sleeping anyway)

Laura said...

How proud you must be of your entire family...you all took a risk and headed on an adventure...how amazing and life-changing for you all. KUDOS!

Stomper Girl said...

Good for your B-boy. I hope this means he will be more at ease back home in Canada

thirtysomething said...

What a life-changing experience this has been for him! I am sure you will notice a new-found strength in him to remain once you are back home too.

kim-d said...

I, too, am completely choked up. I understand B-Boy; I can be the old, female version of him. I am so, so happy that he found a place to shine all on his own! And I also think that you will find that his self-confidence will remain once you get back to Canada. I think you and Mike are just the best parents to have made a Plan B for him, while letting him "come into his own." And the send-off that his friends gave him make me very proud of the part of me that is Norwegian :).

Ahhh, isn't it nice when we do things right for our kids?

Chantal said...

I love mornings too. Funny cause as a teen and young adult I didn't understand morning people. Now I get it!
I am so happy for You and B-Boy and your whole family. What a wonderful adventure you went on and it was such a leap of faith. I am glad it all turned out for the best!

Aliki2006 said...

What an emotional time for all of you...

I'm a total morning person myself--I love dawn.

Cheri said...

I love dawn. Metaphorically speaking, your family is experiencing a big one right now.

Can't wait to keep reading more . . .

Dawn said...

I'm guessing that the newfound confidence your son has found this year will probably come home with him to Canada and will benefit him there as well. What a wonderful gift you've given to your family with this past year in Norway.

Rima said...

What an awesome gift you've given both your boys with this year in Norway.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

It's wonderful to watch your children grow and mature.

gmcountrymama said...

The long evening walks sound wonderful.
Great job Benjamin! I was always shy, but instead of goofing off I just didn't say anything.Sounds like he is getting the emotional support he needs to thrive.

Alpha DogMa said...

What a sweet post. It is wonderous to watch our children rise to the challenges of life -- and to see in those success skills and talents and attitudes that will serve them well as adults. Good job, B!

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Sometimes it can be easier to fit in when you are so different from the crowd (language, country, etc) that people expect you to be different and aren't rude about it.

We have these issues with my son and have been working with him on it. His way of introducing himself to new kids was to show them all the sound effects (and correlating physical gestures) that he knows. It was funny, though, because sometimes it worked. =)

I too am soaking up all the sunshine I can get (when I can get it).

Amy said...

I am glad the transition went well for you all.

I wish you the best of luck as you transition once again!

Mrs. Annie said...

This family adventure of yours has brought about more blessings than perhaps you thought would occure when you first began to travel. What great growth you have all had these last several months!

Mary Beth said...

One more added bonus of your trip - a boost of confidence for B Boy. And he'll have lots of great stories for his friends in Canada.

painted maypole said...

this experience you gave your kids (and yourselves) is just so astounding

Amy Y said...

That is so awesome! Does it make you nervous about the transition back to Canada, or do you think he'll slip right back in where he left off?

Kids are resilient and it sounds like he learned a lot of valuable life lessons in Norway!! :)

Kyla said...

This trip has been so good for you all. I'm sure the gifts it has given to each of you will follow you back home, especially your B boy who has grown in leaps and bounds.

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

That is fabulous. What a positive experience for him to have. He'll remember that always.

David said...

I love the length of the sunlight hours in the north. I went to university in Thunder Bay and have fond memories of playing football at midnight as the sun set. The French in me is the opposite. The English population rejoices the summer solstice (June 21st) as the longest day, while the French (who love the night) mourn the event as "The shortest night".
Nice post and great blog

Julie Pippert said...

Oh Heidi, so much to say about change, but then you described Benjamin and my heart stilled..that's my Patience and our CHIEF issue right now. I've had to be oh-so-careful and selective about playdates, most of which I've eliminated. it seems more makes it worse. I can't cut school but I can keep things quiet.

Friends ask why only one activity, why no playdates...and it's hard to explain.

I don't want to make her sound bad, so I just say she's a person who need some quiet after a busy day.

How...what...what have you done to help it?

I came to this after some absolutely HORRIFYING events and just so worried.

Sorry to make it me me me...this is a really sweet post.

Queen of the Mayhem said...

What a lovely tribute to your little man!

Nothing quite like the love we have for our kids! :)

BeachMama said...

Wow, how wonderful that B was able to transition so well. And I hope he brings his new found security home with him to Canada.

And I hope that the warm weather continues on for you, although I fear it won't.

Shan said...

What a great post. I loved reading it. You should definitely be proud of your B boy.

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

I think many times the hardest part of the transition between moves is the THINKING we do about it, rather than the actual change.

Valarie said...

I was so worried when we moved to Florida becuse my oldest has a really, really hard time with transitions. She did much better than I expected. Good luck with your move!!

ALM said...

That's so great... what a wonderful feeling that must be for you.

MamaGeek said...

You are so right! Kids ARE resilient little creatures and they adjust faster and better than we adults do. You know, of course, that I wish you ALL, all the best in your transitions!

theotherbear said...

What a great post! Made me all teary actually. Good luck with the move!

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

You must be so incredibly proud of your B-boy, sounds like this has been an amazing growing experience for him. Unbelievable!
Saying prayers for you guys and you go through the transition.

Cathy said...

What a wonderful year for him, for ALL of you!

Karen MEG said...

We're so proud of Benjamin too, Heidi! It's HUGE what he's accomplished over there. And how wonderful that he has so many new friends to visit whenever he's back in Norway.

A time to be treasured for sure. Those cards and artwork from his friends and classmates are just precious!

the dragonfly said...

Kids are amazing, aren't they? I'm so glad Benjamin did so well in Norway. And how cool is it to have those cards and things from his classmates?!