When I moved to Norway with my three young children back in 1989 our lives took a drastic turn.
There were few expats and no international school in our area. If we ever expected to fit in, we had no choice but to learn a new language. There were no more Sunday dinners at grandma’s house, because she now lived thousands of miles away. We soon found ourselves saying goodbye to things we never imagined living without..
There would be no more picnics or fireworks on the Forth of July. No more Valentine’s Day-mailbox in the children’s classroom. No wearing green on St. Patricks Day and no turkey on Thanksgiving. Of course I could always make a turkey dinner on the last Thursday of November but with the kids in school, my husband at work and no parade on TV, it wasn’t the same.
There were no more presents on Christmas Day, because the packages were all given out and opened on Christmas Eve. No more Easter Bunny. It was now the Easter Chicken leaving Easter candy for the children in large paper-mache eggs, and then everyone goes skiing for the day. Mother’s Day was now in March and Father’s day in November.
My children took it all in stride, until they found out there was NO Halloween!
“Fear not,” I explained. “Instead of Halloween there is a tradition here called Lossi. On December 12th all the children dress in costume, go door to door singing Christmas songs and receive treats from their neighbors.”
By the time December 12th rolled around it was dark and freezing in Norway. This meant covering up their costumes with layers of sweaters and jackets, and carrying flashlights. I can still remember my kids that first Lossi, all excited and carrying plastic pumpkins they’d brought over from America to collect their loot in. They didn’t even let their disappointment show when they came home to find their pumpkins stuffed with nothing but tangerines.
That was over twenty years ago. There’s still no Halloween in our town, but they have started to sell real pumpkins and more people are giving out candy instead of tangerines for Lossi now. I guess thats progress.
Halloween is unfortunately not the only thing approaching my home-state of New Jersey this year. Prayers go out to all my friends and family as they brace themselves for the wrath of Hurricane Sandy.
My daughter (the one in the pig tails) recently posted this picture on facebook, it was taken on Mother’s Day 1981. When I first saw it I smiled, seeing myself again at twenty-three-years old, adorned with three beautiful children brought back happy memories. I had just given birth to my third child and that baby lying on my lap is now waiting to give birth to her third child. Where do the years go?
My heart swells with pride remembering my children at this tender age and now knowing the wonderful people they have grown up to be. I also see a slender arm and a smooth face, but there is unfortunately a flip side to this picture…
Behind the Farrah Fawcett hairdo is a girl, trapped in a controlling and unhealthy marriage. Weighed down in responsibility and much to embarrassed to let anyone know. If you’re wondering how bad it was, I’ll tell you…
Throughout the pregnancy I begged my doctor to sterilize me after the birth. At first he wouldn’t even listen, but after pleading at every visit and discussing all other options, my hopeless tears got the best of him. He performed the surgery immediately after the birth and I was left barren at twenty-three. A desperate act, of a very desperate girl. Now take another look at the picture…
You never know what secrets are hiding behind a smile in a picture. Since my story has been published I’ve surprisingly received numerous messages from different women, some I know, others I don’t admitting abuse.
Six years after this picture was taken my life took a hard turn and I was thrown out into another direction. I was later able to have the surgery reversed, and was blessed with two more children.
I was fortunate enough to get a do over, not everyone’s that lucky.