The End Of An Era


When we made the decision to move to Texas in late February I knew that leaving Doha was going to be hard on all of us. However I don’t think that anything could have prepared us for the emotional roller coaster the following months and weeks brought. 

The going away parties, get togethers and play dates started in early May. It seemed like every hour of every weekend was  booked, that everyone wanted a little piece of us before we left and to be honest I wanted to hold on to every last piece of Doha that I could. 

When we arrived in Qatar almost seven years ago it was the last day of Ramadan. It was after midnight and as we walked off the plane with our three small children we were greeted by a wall of heat and the soundings of our new life. Over the next few weeks we learnt to navigate the city, how to entertain small children in 52 degree heat and to never leave your house with out a bottle of water. We had to learn to communicate with people who didn’t speak English as their first language and figure out which products in the grocery store resembled those from home for our fussy children. There were days even weeks when I wondered if we had made the right decision moving to the Middle East. 

However the following months and years brought about amazing friendships and we found a sense of community in the school and organizations the muppets were apart of. The day to day struggles that we faced in our first few weeks here became a normal part of everyday life and the muppets adapted to their environment. 

We created our own family which we shared Thanksgivings, Christmas’ and Easters with as well as the occasional Thursday night BBQ. They became our emergency contacts, shoulders to cry on and the people we could count on no matter what. We fell in to a comfortable routine of spending the school year together and saying goodbye for 8 weeks every summer as we all traveled to different countries to visit friends and family. 

Over the past few years we have watched good friends leave and move on to exciting new countries and jobs. Some people we knew that we would see again and others we weren’t sure. But we knew that this was all apart of expat life. 

Yesterday we said goodbye to the place we have called home for the past six years. The walls have been stripped bare and the only thing that remains is the markings my husband made of the growth of the muppets from year to year. 

You realize that once you have downsized your life in to 10 suitcases and a 20 foot sea can that all of the stuff we have accumulated over the years doesn’t really matter and we can probably live without. 

The things that truly matter we will take with us where ever we go. 

Tomorrow we leave the place where my children have spent half their lives. We say goodbye to our life here and move on to something new, exciting and a little scary. 

We have been truly blessed to have had this experience, as a family we have traveled to 8 different countries, had many adventures and made some amazing memories. We are all sad to leave but Doha will always be apart of us, because it has given us so much and we will take a little piece of it where ever we go. Off we go on to new and bigger adventures! 

So long Doha it’s been a slice! 

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The Hockey Tournament

Ryder

Hockey has become a normal part of life in the Wilson household. We are at practices or games four times a week and I have become incredibly fast at putting equipment on Muppets and tying skates. This past weekend the middle Muppets team hosted a tournament for children under 9. Teams from Saudi, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai came to Doha to compete. This is the second tournament that we have been apart of since joining hockey our first one was with the oldest Muppet in Dubai and since our teams got completely slaughtered in the last one I didn’t really have high expectations for the middle guys team.

We arrived at the rink and we were given our “special passes” to enter the dressing room area. The middle guy was pretty pumped that he was the only one out of his brothers that had one of these passes. The other two Muppets had to sit in the stands while the players got dressed. The teams first game went well and even though we lost 4-0 the kids played hard and had fun. Their next game was in a few hours and I took the kids home for a rest and a snack. I think all of us parents pumped their kids full of sugar because the second game they were on fire and won the game. It was so great to see the middle Muppet smiling from ear to ear as he skated off the ice with his team.

The next morning we had a game bright and early, the game was awesome and at one point our team was winning 5-0. The team they were playing managed to come back and tie the game and in the end we didn’t know if we would be playing for Gold or Bronze. We waiting patiently while the other teams played and by noon we found out the middle Muppets team would be playing in the gold medal game! The locker room was vibrating with excitement before the final game. The middle Muppet smiled at me as I tied up his skates “You know what Mum?” he whispered “Even if we loose this game we still get second place, and we get a medal… all of us get one!” his little eyes sparkled with excitement and he grabbed his stick and made his way on to the ice with his team.

The last game was a nail biter, we scored the first goal and shortly after they scored. For the longest time it was a tied game with so many shots on both teams goals I was feeling the stress for both goalies. Near the end of the game the other team scored 3 goals and we lost 4-1 but man did those kids play hard. The whole rink cheered as medals were handed out to both teams and team pictures were taken. There were no disappointed faces on any of the players, they wore their medals with pride and all chatted happily about the game as they got undressed. When cheers for the coaches were given and goodbyes were said we found the other two Muppets and went for celebratory ice cream.

The four of us sat in the food court a family whos son played on the other team came and sat at the table beside us. The little boy and the middle Muppet acknowledged each other with a slight nod. The middle Muppet smiled at him “Good game” he said “I think the best part is the ice cream afterwards” The other boy laughed and agreed “You guys were really good” he said as he shook the middle guys hand. We sat and chatted with the family for a few more minutes and wished them safe travels. As we made our way to the car the middle guy gave me a big hug and said “Thanks for giving up your weekend to bring me to the hockey tournament, I know that it is a lot of work for you and I am so happy that I got to play” I squeezed him back my heart swelling with pride, it had been a crazy busy weekend and we had to start the week with not much of a break but it was worth it to see him enjoy himself and appreciate being there.

This will not be the last hockey tournament for the middle guy but I am so glad that his first experience was such a good one, even if the best part was the ice cream!

Turkey Day

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The youngest Muppet woke me up yesterday morning whispering four words.  “Happy turkey day Mama” he kissed me on the cheek and left the room. I got up and went down stairs to find the three Muppets on the couch. The three of them each greeted me me with a good morning and happy thanksgiving. Since moving to Doha we have adopted American Thanksgiving as our own. Canadian Thankgiving is in October and it is always a busy month for my husband at work and with the kids at the American School it was easier for us to celebrate in November. Plus we have some amazing friends who put on a great feast every year.

The youngest Muppet had been looking forward to turkey for the past few days. We had talked about Thanksgiving and the three Muppets had been learning about it  in their classes at school as well. Yesterday morning my door bell rang bright and early. It was our neighbor form across the street with a pumpkin pie in  each hand. Their oven had stopped working and they had two pies, two big turkeys and a bunch of other Thanksgiving food to cook. After a little reorganizing we we were able to find ovens around the neighborhood to cook all of the food and by 5 o’clock the fest was ready.

The youngest Muppet inhaled his first plate of turkey in record time, he came and asked for seconds before I had even filled my first plate. With full bellies we all sat around the table and enjoyed each others company as the kids played around us. Just before dessert our host gathered the kids together and we all said what we were thankful for this thanksgiving. Most of the answers were similar and what your would expect… family, food and friends but there was one more common thing we were all thankful for.

We were all thankful for the adopted family we had found in Doha. All of us live so far away from our family and it can make holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas hard.  These people have become our emergency contacts, our sisters and brothers, our children’s aunts and uncles and the people we can count on to be there in good times and bad. We are so lucky that we have found such an amazing group of friends here in Doha and I am truly thankful.

The Do De Song

cuddle28129-1We sat at a restaurant in the mall on Monday night eating dinner, the Muppets were telling me about everything that had happened in the day. The oldest Muppet was excited about learning the xylophone from a Australian musician that was visiting the school and the middle guy had learned a new method of multiplication. The youngest Muppet sat quietly curled up in his chair his spaghetti untouched in front of him. I asked him if he wanted to share anything about his day, he frowned, shook his head and told me that he was cold. I moved his chair closer to mine and pulled out his jacket from the bag. It was going to be another long night for the Muppets, the oldest had hockey and they had been at school all day.

I began to feed the youngest guy praying that he was just tired and not coming down with something. After we finished dinner we made our way towards the ice rink. The middle Muppet told me that as a special treat his grade didn’t have homework but he still had to read and do a bit of math so we pulled up a table and the older two started on their homework. I pulled out the youngest boys writing book and asked if he was up to writing out a few words with me. He looked like he was going to fall over so I put everything away and just told him to come over and cuddle me. He quickly crawled in to my lap and I started rocking him slowly something that I do on instinct and don’t even thing about it. I could hear him quietly humming a song and I instantly recognized the tune. It was a song that I had sung to all of the Muppets… the do de song we call it.

By his humming I could tell he wanted me to sing it so I started and continued to rock him slowly. After a few minutes the youngest Muppet looked up and me “That song you sing Mummy, it always calms me down and makes me feel better” he said softly “Did you sing that to me when I was a baby too?” I told him that I had sung it to all the boys and that Grandma had taught Mummy the song. I explained that Grandma used to sing it to Daddy and Auntie Cerys when they were babies to help them relax and feel safe. He smiled at me gave me a big kiss and cuddled in closer.

It was at this moment that I realized we had been moving at warp speed for the past few weeks which was far too fast for the youngest guy. He needed me to slow down and do this more so that he had a chance to relax and feel safe. After about 10 minutes of cuddling we both felt better and the youngest guy told me he was ready to work on his homework. I kissed him on the head and thanked him for the cuddle. It was a gentle reminder that I need to slow down and relax with my kids so that we all fee human.

Today marks the end of a long few weeks of my husband working nonstop and me single parenting. We will find a new routine and our life will start to get back to normal, keeping in mind that we all need to slow down once in a while for a cuddle.

A Little Bigger

11224576_10152967437936046_6634323997515435253_nThe youngest Muppet and I were sitting on the couch a few weeks ago when he asked me how many days it would take for his birthday to come. We had just celebrated the oldest Muppet turning 10 and the littlest Muppet was looking forward to his day in the spotlight. We plugged the countdown in to my phone and every day after that he would ask me how much longer it was until his big day. Last night as we watched the middle guys hockey practice the youngest Muppet bounced around happily telling everyone who would listen that it was his birthday tomorrow. As the night wore on his patience started to wear thin, he climbed on my lap and asked “How much longer do we have to be at hockey mummy, I want to get home to go to sleep to make tomorrow come faster!” I told him that it would be just a little while longer and then we would be heading home for the night. He started to play out how his birthday morning would be, what I would cook him for breakfast, how he would be the birthday boy and everyone would have to listen to him and that he would open his presents first when he woke up.

I explained to him that his Dad was working nights and we would have to wait until after school to open presents so that Daddy could be there to see. The youngest Muppet looked at me in shock and begged for me to let him open his presents before school. I told him that it would make Daddy sad not to be apart of his special day and that the afternoon was a better time to open gifts. We had hit the point of exhaustion and no amount of reasoning was going to help in this situation. He told me how angry he was at me and that it was his birthday and he could do what ever he wanted. He stomped away muttering that when he was seven he wouldn’t have to listen to me anymore. I stifled a laugh and told him that hopefully when he woke up as a seven year old that he would be a much happier person then he was at that moment.

This morning the older two Muppets had to get the birthday boy out of bed. They brought him to the breakfast table with a chorus of “Happy Birthday” and started talking excitedly about what was going to happen on his big day. After they finished breakfast the youngest Muppet came and gave me a big hug, I gave him a kiss on the forehead and asked him how it felt to be seven years old. He smiled and said “I feel good, I feel like I am stronger and even smarter. Do I look bigger Mummy? ‘Cause I feel bigger!” I giggled and told him he did look a little bigger. He gave me a big squeeze and told me that he loved me and that even thought he was seven and very big now that he would still listen to me and be a good boy.

Our youngest Muppet, the boy who wants to be bigger, more independent and is always trying to keep up to his older brothers is seven today. He has kept us on our toes, tested our patience and pushed the boundaries since the day he was born and I am sure he will continue to do so. Happy Birthday to our not so little Mr.Bean!