I shut down the blog for a few months. I needed to detach myself from those things which were causing me stress. By detaching myself from the stress, my intention was to come home in the evening and be present in my life instead of, even for a short time, refocusing on the stress. Did this help the situation? Looking back over the past few months, I think it did. The stress still exists, but over the past months I have spent time cherishing and cultivating the good things in my life.
Not a lot has changed, yet everything has changed. T and I have entered into a new kind of relationship. While things are far from perfect, there is a foundation of deep respect, friendship, and trust. We have made new friends in our neighborhood. We’re enjoying our weekends exploring new places, working on our new home together, or visiting one of the boys. Our home, which we now own, is beginning to feel like a home. We have painted the rooms, and we’re currently in the middle of a kitchen remodeling project. The girls have both happily adjusted to the move. They’re busy with school, friends, and work.
It all sounds pretty great, but there is also sadness. Our move has cost us a lot. Or rather, this move has revealed a lot of things that have brought pain and sadness. Had we stayed back “home,” we would have been spared the knowledge that breaking the mold would carry a heavy cost.
Generations of our family have lived out their entire lives in the same small town. While we may only be a few short hours away, we might as well have moved to the moon. Family and friends have not been pleased with our decision to leave. No one visits us. EVER. On Columbus Day weekend, T and I planned on going back to visit family, but everyone was busy. The following weekend, we headed back again to pick up a tile saw we had lent to someone. Everyone was busy again. We haven’t seen them in months. When have seen them, we have been the ones to visit. Having the people we care about avoid us when we make the effort to stay in their lives doesn’t feel good at all.
T and I have discussed the situation, and we’re still not quite sure what to do, if anything. Do we go back for holidays and make nice? Do we begin traditions of our own in our new home?
The move and the major adjustments, both big and small in every area of our lives, have left me feeling fragile. It doesn’t take much to hurt me, or scare me, or make me wonder if we have made the right decision for our lives. I see things on a daily basis that are ugly and mean. Even as I see the ugliness, I often feel engaged in a positive way. I’m trying to make a difference, but I miss the gentleness and beauty of a simpler place. I miss the beautiful fields that greeted me each day. I miss the familiarity of a place that held every single memory of my life and the lives of those who have passed before me.
Instead of the open, golden fields that were once a tranquil part of my morning drive, I now deal with traffic and aggression. Horns honking, people shaking their middle fingers at other drivers, and trash tumbling along the roadside are what greet me now. Last week, I was on the expressway driving about 75 mph with a guy riding right on my bumper. I was blocked in between semis, and traffic was thick. Still the guy behind me road my ass. When he finally passed me, he turned around completely and gave me a look full of hatred. He had to be going about 85 mph as he passed by me. I haven’t yet been able to get that look of total aggression and hatred out of my mind. Why? What is wrong with people?
I had an early meeting on Monday morning. I was looking at the clock as I drove. There was road construction and tons of traffic. I was worried about running late, when I realized that I had said the F-word three times, and it wasn’t much past 7:00 a.m. I took a deep breath and imagined beautiful fields. I don’t want to become an F-tard like the guy who sped past me the week before.
Today wasn’t much better. I was yelled at over the phone before I even left home. I received nasty emails, and texts that were unkind. The F-tards were in full swing. I walked out of the office at the end of the day wondering if there was a “Kick Me” sign on my back. Life is most certainly challenging. Not all of my days are as bad as today. Just when I’m ready to throw up my hands, something good will happen to remind me why I am here, why I accepted this challenge. I’m thankful for those small moments of good.
Tonight I sat in the kitchen with the girls at the table which once belonged to my great, great grandparents. T was working on putting up new tiles under the cabinets. The girls and I were chatting about the day. Lola had stayed home sick from school, but she was feeling better and talking happily about school, teachers, and classmates. T’s phone rang twice while we talked. Luke called to let us know that his car needs new brakes. As a recently college graduate and a new teacher, he’s able to pay for his own car repair. Hallelujah! Andrew called just because he calls each and every day. I smiled at the voices, the laughter, the activity, and the love.
It’s true that our lives have become more challenging, but something else has happened, too. We have pulled together as a family. We are no longer living together yet somehow separately. We’re in a new place, and for a time, our family is all that each of us has had. The change of address has changed us all. Lola, who was once quiet and shy, has come into her own. Tonight when was talking about the “phony girls” who wear make-up and like boys too much, she told me that she is a fierce realist. I laughed, but I knew what she meant. She is comfortable with who she is inside.
I don’t know what the next step for us will be. Will we stay here? Will we move on? I have no clue. I have never felt so transient in my life. The roots I have put down here are shallow. That’s OK. For all that has been lost, something of greater value has been gained.