Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A crash course on the definition of bittersweet

I drove home from Moms on the Run on Sunday evening after coaching at a different location. I was within a mile of Jenna's house. I felt a physical pull and need to drive past her house. There is a big purple bow on the light by her front door. There were signs of construction in the driveway. Life going on. It was a cloudy, muggy evening. She should have been in the backyard playing with her son. Instead I was driving past a house, talking to a friend who can't answer back because she's in heaven.

Life has been stressful lately. I know we all have times like that. In addition to the regular stresses I've been going through, I get these whispers that turn into roars that I'm a fraud and my words are stupid and I don't deserve anything good and all the good that I have is a fluke. So I curl up in the sometimes metaphorical and sometimes literal fetal position and wait it out.

Driving past Jenna's house helped. I thanked her for the lessons she taught me on living fearlessly and then dying fearlessly, with love and joy and hope on her lips and in her heart and on display for all to see until the very end. I felt a peace I haven't felt in weeks. The things I am worrying about didn't go away, but my attitude changed. That changes so much.

I drove past her house one more time and then headed for home with tears in my eyes and calm in my heart.

I was on Main Street when my cell phone rang. It was in the exact spot that I had to pull over six years ago because I was having a really tough contraction and I realized that I probably really was in labor with the baby we now know as Elliot. That spot is good stuff for me.

On Sunday that spot gave me more big news. We received an offer on Saturday morning that we countered that they countered that we countered that they accepted on Sunday evening while I was running with Moms on the Run and talking with Jenna.

The kids and I were screaming in excitement for all of us and relief for me. No more showings. No more worrying about how the house looked. What would make it more likely to sell. If we should sign up for fall church/sports/lessons/etc. or assume it would sell soon. And all of the little things that I thought I was handling pretty well that maybe I wasn't handling so well that, poof, went out the window with that one phone call.

There is so much sweet. I will live in the same state as my mom for the first time since I was 18 and my kids will be near their nana and babu for the first time ever. We will be near the mountains for hiking and biking and skiing and snowboarding. I will reconnect with some friends from high school and a few cousins who live there. We will enjoy all of the seasons without quite so much of the horrendously cold nonsense. We will be closer to new landmarks and areas of the country to explore. We will gladly say adios to months of mosquitoes. So very sweet.

There is so much bitter. We will miss day trips to Lake Superior. We will miss being so close to my brother and dad and their families, plus my grandparents. We will miss being a one day drive away from our Michigan family. I will miss my Moms on the Run friends. We will miss our friends from co-op. We will miss our church and my book club. We will miss our neighbors and friends and the people here we love like family. I will miss the kids' pediatrician who is so much more than their doctor. We will miss the lush green of spring and summer. We will miss the community of people who surround us and lift us up in love. So very bitter.

I am not at all attached to things. Leaving this house will not be hard. I could walk away today. Leaving the people here will cut deep. I could stay forever.

There is so much to consider. Yesterday we drove to Lake Superior and spent the day hiking. We needed one day to just be excited and not start planning and stressing about all of the next steps. Because there are a lot of next steps.

First it's the inspection this week packing and getting all the stuff loaded up and the planning and paperwork involved in moving halfway across the country in about five weeks. Then, to complicate matters, we'll make a long pit stop in Nebraska. Jim has a big job in Omaha, NE, so once we close on this house we will rent a place there for a few months. Then we will head to Colorado and rent there for a year while we decide on the community that we want to call home. Then we'll buy a home. So, for those of you keeping score, that's four moves with four kids in less than a year and a half.


So, we're learning about bittersweet. And flexibility. And that we won't know where lots of our stuff is for a while, but that home is wherever I am with these four kids and this husband.

Maybe that's a furnished rental apartment in NE or a house in the outer suburbs of Denver or a hotel room for a week at a time. We don't know all of the details just yet, but we know it'll be good. Most of the time it'll be great and sometimes we'll be cranky and sometimes we'll want our own dang space again and sometimes we'll revel in the adventure and chance to explore new wonders.

Life is big and beautiful and uncertain and crazy and tragic and too much good and too much ugly. Thanks to all of you for reading a little more about my crazy ride and for subtracting from the ugly and adding to the good.

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