the other day someone asked me if i was pregnant because i 'seemed so happy lately.' well first of all, every baby is a blessing, but me + pregnancy rarely = happy. even on the best of days. and the 'happy' part? well, i must confess...i haven't been terribly happy.
what i have been is positive, i have been open, i have been the seeker of the silver lining, but i cannot say that i have been happy.
the move leveled me, frankly. physically, mentally, and emotionally. i have never in my life been so flattened by something. the wicked month long cold like something out of that scene in alien only in my head and the terribly injured arm didn't help, either. but when you have kids and you carry the heart of your small family you've got to see your way past that.
and perhaps my ruse was so good that's why i seemed happy.
and while i haven't spent my days weeping, i am sad. and i know i will have to process the loss of the house and the move away from family and the total life transplant to a very different place than i ever thought i'd find myself eventually.
don't get me wrong. i LOVE my new house, this town is beautiful, and thus far we've had a lovely almost eerily easy transition into things.
(well, some things, good lord don't dare to ask questions about a small town's outdated and archaic recycling/waste management practices lest you want to be run out of town on a rail. or to be told to, and i quote, 'suck it up.')
but let's not forget the best part of all, a fabulous job for my husband. which is huge. bigger than huge. and the reason we find ourselves here. the reason it's all going to be worth it. and what i've been trying to put at the absolute front as my focus.
but it's like leaving a crumbling relationship and finding yourself in a healthy and progressive one. there is still loss. when your heart has been broken, even finding it beating and whole again can't ever erase the earlier pain entirely.
and while i haven't processed this, i knew i would break down spectacularly exactly twice before we got here. the first time was at the house, finding the truck was already full and there stood my grandmother's chairs, the rocking chair my father in law refinished for me to rock my babies in, my desk where i spend the majority of my days. and no room left for any of them. jesus could we bring more any more metaphor in?
i broke down in tears and instantly i had two sisters and a husband and a brother in law trying to figure it out for me. there's nothing quite like a woman on the edge losing her shit in the middle of chaos. "I AM TIRED OF GIVING THINGS UP! NOBODY FUCKING ASKED *ME* ABOUT ANY OF THIS! AND I'VE BEEN SO GOOD ABOUT ALL OF IT! WHY DO WE HAVE SO MUCH STUFF! WE ARE SUCH AMERICANS! THERE IS SOMETHING VERY WRONG WITH US IF I CAN'T EVEN TAKE MY GRANDMOTHER'S CHAIRS! WHAT IS *WRONG* WITH US!"
in the end i left the chairs and the rocker. a friend has them stored for me. along with everything else we couldn't take and i couldn't part with. and lest you think otherwise, i left a LOT behind that i did have to part with. because even if you love something sometimes the truck is just full. and you have to let it go. but not the chairs. and my awesome sisters and brother in law and husband made sure my desk and desk chair got broken down enough to fit at the top of the truck.
the second breakdown was because of the trees. the first day we drove it was nothing but snow and traffic and the roof box on the car being blown open on the freeway and chaining up a 26 ft moving truck on a mountain pass. god it was intense. i was driving away from my home for the last time and it was snowing. all of a sudden it was winter. and i realized i hadn't left the house at all in the past two weeks getting things cleaned and packed. i realized i had been so preoccupied the past few months (years) that i had lost a whole season. where had fall gone? i had completely missed fall.
so the second day i was riding in the moving truck and our traveling companion was driving the car. i was looking out the window and all of a sudden i noticed the trees. we were in eastern washington and the trees suddenly weren't my trees. these were ponderosa pines. shorter. scrubbier. they were not my trees. the trees i have lived around for so long. perhaps taken for granted. and i realized that from that point on EVERYTHING would be different. the trees, the view out the window, my life. it's like that's the moment it hit me that nothing would ever be the same again.
and i lost it. it was that moment i realized just how far this had gone. it's like after all the hard work and worry and cleaning and dumping and packing and moving and organizing it's like once that fell away i came right down to the nugget. and that nugget fucking sucked. and it still does. because that nugget is loss and distance and change i didn't ask for but have to totally and completely accept. that nugget is my sisters. my family. my house. my friends. my coast. my fucking trees.
i cried for the next 300 miles straight.
i'll not bore you with how hard the trip was from there. oh, but please don't forget about the 4 cats in a car the size of a large handbag. because that added a special extra element to the whole traveling circus sideshow.
and just because our life gets to be extra adventurous we were doing all this with no set place to land. we didn't find out until we were on our way that the house we wanted was actually ours. well, so we thought.
after 8 days of hard travel we landed here at the house. only to sit outside it for an hour, the afternoon light fading and it's getting colder, the neighbors curious and trying not to spy, waiting to 'actually' find out if it was ours. because what people say and what they actually do can be two different things. which i understand. and it happens. though when you're sitting outside what you thought would be your home with a 26ft moving truck packed so full you can't get the door open and your kids and a car full of cats and there's even a question of 'maybe' life boils down pretty quickly. and you begin to wonder if this all hasn't been one cosmic joke and you fell for it. and why you didn't think to pack your flask.
well here it is, some weeks later and we all know now how the drama played out. there are still boxes all around, except for the bed none of my bedroom furniture will fit up the stairs, the house isn't nearly big enough for all my useful pieces, i can't find ANYTHING, and there's one bathroom for 4 people. one of whom is a teenager who appreciates looking at himself in the mirror more than 1 bathroom for 4 people really allows.
i miss my family terribly. i used to talk to one or both of my sisters nearly every single day and i can't remember the last time i talked to one of them now. the time change has been a big hindrance. the cold i caught a month ago is just now going away, but still a bother. and my injured arm is still in a lot of pain.
this is a lovely home and we are lucky to have it. really really lucky. to have a roof over one's head is one thing, but to have such a charming roof is quite another.
the neighborhood is very nice and has been welcoming. we are in walking distance to a few cool places. there's a trail that runs through the whole town just a block away. we chose this town specifically for the high school for the duke next year. there were exactly 3 places to choose from here. and we got 1 of them. and we made it here.
and then there's the job. it will take us awhile to dig out of the past two years, but the future is incredibly bright for our family.
so, no, i haven't been happy. but i have been positive, and open, and the seeker of the silver lining. i have smiled when i've felt like crying because i am still the mama, the keeper of the heart for my little family. oh, and the teacher. these kids still have school.
and don't forget about the 4 cats.
and it's all going to be good. it is all good. just because you're sad doesn't mean it isn't good.
and yesterday when we were coming home from our walk (yes i make my kids walk in 19 degree weather) we were coming up the street and our house came into view on the corner. a very cold and grateful wingman raced across the street and shouted "HOME!"
and right then i knew that it was all okay. that everything happens for a reason. that we're right where we need to be. and the rest will come.
and that maybe, just maybe, it will be better than we ever imagined. i'm sort of leaning in that direction. i'll keep you posted.
so here's my christmas card letter to you all;
Dear Family & Friends,
Well, 2010 pretty much sucked a metric assload for the Sillymortalmama Family. But, kinda, sorta, maybe eventually in a good way.