Monday, October 24, 2016

Almost Home

So we moved a few weeks ago. I guess really it has been about 2 months, which I can't believe. This transition has given me so much to think about, so many things to process and write about, and I haven't acted on any of those promptings. So, here's where I'll start, and maybe I'll figure out some direction as I go.

Really, I guess that is what I am trying to find. A new direction. It isn't that so many things have changed. The essential things have stayed the same. I still have my beautiful, noisy, creative, imperfect kids and my supportive husband. I still have my faith, family, and friends. Some of those things are even closer now. And some of those things are further away.

I'd forgotten how hard it can be to start over in a place. True, I only moved about 40 minutes away from where I used to live, but this move has meant finding a new center. Logistically speaking, it was easy. Everything I could possibly need is within 10 minutes of our new home, which is amazing and convenient. The kids' rooms are painted and the kitchen is set up, and I have a few decorative things on the walls, so we're getting there. Most of my things have a place now.

But my heart isn't here yet.

I know. I know. I know that can't happen overnight, or even in eight weeks. And I know that this will be a great place for my family. It already is. My kids can play outside in the cul-de-sac, which I've always wanted because I lived on a cul-de-sac for a time growing up and those late-night hide and seek games are cherished memories. And we have a yard, with a great garden, a peach, pear, and apple tree. Our neighbors have been friendly, and we have kids just come knock on the door to play- none of that planning a playdate business! The girls have adjusted to school and are riding the bus without tears. My husband is talking and making friends and being himself in ways I've never really seen before, maybe because we are not living in the midst of his old high school stomping grounds. And we have a beautiful staircase, counter space in the kitchen, and all the rooms we knew we needed.

We did need this. I'm pretty sure we did because this house has all the things we talked about needing some day. And people have said that we need This house is a better fit for us. It is very practical and we have room to breathe. Our stuff has room to breathe. And I know that I was the one in the past who brought up change, who bragged about moving around as a kid, who valued change just for the sake of change, who never lived anywhere for more than 4 years at a time. I was the one who knew we could transition just fine because...and now I don't even know why! It can only be arrogance and forgetfulness. Like deciding to have a baby again. You forget some of the unpleasantness in exchange for a wonder.

But my heart isn't here yet. I left it at home, in my little brick house built in 1941 where we brought our babies home. I left it in the squeaky hardwood floors that prevented any sneaking around upstairs and left no question where the kids were running. I left it in my small but cozy kitchen with cream colored shaker-style cabinets that I didn't pick out, but would have, with our dining space just big enough to squeeze everyone around the table as long as you didn't need to open the fridge. I miss my built in shelf in the kitchen and the smell of roast cooking because it made our home smell a little bit like a crowded grandma's house, full of family, and I felt glad to be part of that legacy of memories. I miss my yard, the trees and bushes surrounding us instead of a fence. The weeds in the grass stressed me out! But it was beautiful, and fresh, and green, and not spectacular. It was just normal.

I miss my porch. I miss my kids eating ice cream on the porch, watching cars and people walk by. I miss having to make sure they didn't run too far down our huge driveway and into traffic, because the littles would get carried away in their play and forget to stay back. I miss those nights when my kitchen was clean, the dishwasher quietly humming, the only light on was the warm yellow light above the microwave, my babies asleep, when I knew there wasn't a more comforting place in all the world. I was so satisfied, and calm, and contented. This was my dream space- cozy, brick, and filled.

I don't forget the crowdedness, or the sense of frustration I had trying to make things fit. I don't miss the stress of trying to balance needs and wants, Pinterest plans and budget realities. I can't forget mowing the lawn and praying to God wondering how we could move forward. I don't miss the cat room, or the indoor cats. I don't miss not being able to walk around our bed because the closet doors blocked the way, and that we couldn't open the windows in the basement because I had painted them shut in my over-zealous project mania a few years ago. I don't miss feeling like I was missing out, or that my kids were because we couldn't afford to do all the things. Or, more correctly, we chose to afford a cozy home full of heart, in a great neighborhood with great schools. over all the things. We will be the Weasleys, I told myself. And that was enough.

But then last year I spent a week in the hospital with pneumonia and when I came home, for the first time I looked at my house and knew deep down it wasn't my forever house. I saw it differently for the first time. I didn't like that feeling. So we pushed it away. We weren't ready to change in so many ways, so there. Fine. So we had a beautiful Princess and the Frog birthday party with food and music from the bayou! And Thanksgiving, and a Christmas, and more birthdays, and then...we got the house ready in two weeks and sold it in a day and a half.

It was exciting. It was a project. It was a game. But, it was right. I know it was.

But why is my heart still there?

I can't look at my old house without crying. I can't write about it without crying. I can't drive up there or visit without my heart, my chest, physically aching. And it isn't just the space. It is the trees in the neighborhood, and walking to the library, and friends. What a difference it makes going through a mundane trip to the store when there is the strong probability you will see someone you know! Even if you don't want to see them because your hair is in a mom-bun and you may not have a bra on! Or going to the gym where they know you and your kids and you can sweat with your friends. Or just going on a walk with a destination, seeing familiar faces, feeling valued. I hadn't realized how much happiness that brought me. I knew people. I loved them because I had served them. They had served me. They knew and loved my family. None of us were perfect, but there were times when I was needed and that meant something.

I realize I can have that again. And I realize it takes time. And I realize it was largely my choice, and my family is happy here, in the new house. But I can't see long-term here yet, although that is the plan. And I know this is a new start, a new chance to redefine myself, but I'm not sure yet what I even want to be, or what to change, or any of it because I can't gain any traction. I'm not sure where I am needed yet, or who to serve. My efforts to help out at the school have fizzled, and my resolve to be 100% dependable has gone a bit flat.

This move has made me profoundly aware and embarrassed because I am sure there were other people who experienced similar feelings of confusion, melancholy, and loss in moving to my old neighborhood, and maybe I didn't reach out enough to them. And I think of all the people in the world now displaced from what they loved, from home, and my heart aches for them. I hope I can call it empathy. I know it isn't the same experience at all, but if my choice of moving from good and comfort to more comfort brings with it so much baggage, I can only imagine what others are experiencing and I pray for them more sincerely. I haven't experienced it all, but I know what I feel and I pray to One who has experienced it all. That has to mean something.

There are others within my sphere of influence that I can help and I'm shocked at my lack of sensitivity when I realize there were ways I can help that have never occurred to me. I'm sorry for that. Change brings with it a measure of self-absorption which is necessary to getting things done, but I don't want it to become self-sustaining. True, we are still getting the hang of things here. On top of keeping house and keeping my kids happily alive, there are the projects yet to be done. True there is a time and a season. But it is a little embarrassing how many times I have used "I," even writing this entry!

But really, I'm not talking about house projects. It isn't about self-deprecation. Mostly I want to say that I miss my home. I miss feeling home, the good and the bad. I feel like I'm getting over a long term relationship that ended on good terms and for the right reasons, but I'm still desperately in love. Isn't that odd?  And tonight it gets to be ok that my tears are still hot and near the surface, right? I can do hard things! I'm hoping that in acknowledging my grief for a wonderfully, unexpected and great blessing that I can start to let myself honestly come here- that I can start to come home.

( You'll need some good cheese to go with all this whining. Haha! Or at least some good bread. So...)

Bake the bread. Share the slices.

1 comment:

  1. shreded beef is really so much delicious recipe i tried it too, it is now in my favorites one , all other recipies are also looking very yummy,thanks for sharing it .