My husband came to visit. It was all very sudden. I was going about my day when I received a text saying to fetch him from the airport the following day at 11am. Although there had been talk of a visit within the next few weeks, I had then thought it optimistic (probably in the interest of emotional self preservation) and a date had never been decided upon.
It was all a bit of a whirlwind really: 7 nights and 6 days of having a husband, adult companion and co-parent. Then he was gone and it was just the 3 of us again. The twins memories of their father and my sleep deprived mind both a little refreshed.
Almost a month later I am still finding forgotten articles of his clothing in the laundry (baby clothes take priority around these parts and it can take weeks for adult articles to navigate their way from laundry basket back to wardrobe). He left his closet in a bit of a shambles when he left the first time, but I resisted the urge to organise it as it seemed a waste of precious time considering we were meant to be packing up house and joining him in a few months. In his defence it all happened very quickly, and I don’t think he really knew what was appropriate to pack for Dubai, his new job and his new life.
At the end of this brief visit I saw him going through his disorderly cupboard and packing some of his previously overlooked clothes for his return. Evidently the stress of a new job coupled with the sadness of being away from his family had diminished his appetite over the past four months, as I noticed many of the shirts that had not fitted him on his first departure being folded into his suitcase. Unsurprisingly none of his warm winter jackets made the cut, as he headed back to his first Dubai summer.
I’ve been crazily organising everything since the kids started playschool. Sorting out all of our cupboards and giving unworn items away. Donating all the knick-knacks and other non-functional breakables that have been cluttering up my shelves and cupboards (and my mind) ever since the kids became mobile. Nothing will inspire a minimalist existence quite like the experience of living with toddlers. Prior to this we had been living in chaos for so long, but I just hadn’t had the time nor the energy to create order. I suppose an element of despondency at the indeterminate impermanence of our living situation was also responsible for the uncharacteristic apathy with which I had regarded my home. I think the task of cleaning a cupboard or two just seemed such an exercise in futility when considering the magnitude of the mayhem that had befallen my life.
In retrospect I can discern an indisputable shift in my mindset once I knew that the twins and I weren’t leaving anytime soon. That this information came shortly before they started playschool is of no coincidence, as I am sure having a little time to actually just be me for the first time in over a year made me yearn for all the pieces of me that I had lost.
I found myself recovering the hideous cushions that had been bothering me for years. Replacing house plants that had died. Painting, reupholstering, and rearranging furniture. Ruthlessly clearing out things that I no longer used. Not all at once, but slowly, through the catharsis of clearing up and of beautifying my surroundings, the realisation came to me that the nurturing of my neglected creative spirit was vital to my emotional well being. I found an important part of my being; dustier and more disheveled than any part of my physical surroundings.
As I started to feel more like myself many of my scattered thoughts began to fall into place. It occured to me that even though I was living in limbo and that some days (and most nights) seemed endless and insurmountable, my babies were changing so much from week to week, and that I would never get these moments back. It was an injustice to my kids, and to myself, to not be completely present in the moment and to make anything less than the most out of these days, weeks and months.
I eventually got around to my husbands cupboard, where I found my favourite jacket of his. He had left it behind not only because he would undoubtedly have no use for it in the Dubai summer that he was returning to, but also because it has a massive gaping hole in the back courtesy of its last trip to the dry cleaner. We bought it for him at Country Road many years ago, and I’ve always wanted one like it.
I had recently found this really cool grey tweed amongst my fabric collection that I used it to recover some old cushions. While making the cushions I had noticed that the fabric was softer than I thought it would be and felt like it was made from (predominantly at least) a natural fibre. As it was so inexpensive when I bought it I had assumed that, despite looking like good quality, it must be synthetic.
I drafted some patch pockets to replace the original welt pockets, as well as a little breast pocket, but otherwise didn’t change the pattern at all. I also added some leather elbow patches (unlike my husbands jacket) for added durability, but mostly because I love leather elbow patches.
I didn’t line the jacket so it ended up being a super quick and easy project, and I love how it turned out. In these photos I’m wearing it with the denim version that I made of this dress .