Monday, November 09, 2009

everything is golden

red golden

We've been here, in this house, for just over 2 years now. What that means is that we're beginning to cycle through our THIRD holiday season in the same home. I have celebrated observed 3 of my birthdays in this house. We've had 3 Halloweens here. We're approaching our third Thanksgiving, Solstice, Christmas, New Year's, etc in the same place.

We are breaking all previous records.

And yet, my daughter still identifies as someone who moves a lot. Two years are not enough to salve the sores from a disastrous relocation, not when the trouble came fast on the heels of a lot of other hasty moves and stressful temporary situations. Anyone who has had to scramble for housing last minute should know this stress. But doing it again and again and again has left a shadow, a spook, an inability to breathe deeply without worrying when it will happen again.

I have a hard time accepting that this is it. Part of me is so accustomed to the transition, the perpetual packing and unpacking and settling in that we've done (thirteen addresses in as many years!) that I crave change as much as I appreciate and cherish the consistency of staying put.

Actually, I don't want to move again. I want to see all the blueberry bushes we planted last year grow. I want to finally collect enough salvaged bricks to make a patio in the front yard. I want to figure out how to best sneak a little flock of chickens into the backyard. I want to be here. Starting over again requires too much energy, loses too much time.

But I want to stop feeling like we're in the wrong place. Self identified city mice who thought about choosing a rural home and ended up here, in town, instead. I like being in the city. I like walking everywhere and seeing the hum and rush. I like the busyness and the brightness. And we have some of that here. Our town is very sweet, photogenic and charming. But we are far from the city. And we are confined to town restrictions, zoning and space and the squelch of too-near neighbors who are anything but simpatico souls. So in-between. Not the city. Not the land.

We expedited the purchase of this home because our living situation was so bleak. Our family was in the darkest times. And the job that caused us to move here is no more. I feel like I chose the best from what was available, but the rules of the game have changed since then and now I'm stuck trying to make it work.

I tell her that you never know. That anything can change in a blink. And that's the truth. But is no guarantee. She can't be the only 11-ish year old girl right here who likes to climb trees and pretend and whittle spears out of sticks with sharp knives and notice the plant life on walks and make up dramatic hairstyles and draw for hours and play Irish music so loudly. And maybe such a kindred soul will materialize suddenly soon.

This is not the dress rehearsal. This is not practice. This is my children's childhood. And it is so dear and joyful. We share so much gladness and we all of us have so very much for which to be grateful. But it's hard to reconcile that it's all going by so quickly and it's all so different than what I wanted it to be like.

My daughter will not ever have close, in age or proximity, siblings or cousins. She won't ever have close friends she's known her whole life, kids she's grown up with and knows well. The lonesomeness of her days continues to tear me up.

I wish I could give both of my children a steady group, a trusted pack of folks who have always been and will always be there. But I can't.

So I give them countless hours of reading aloud and Sunday night pizza and obnoxious operatic improv songs and muffins. I bake a lot of muffins. It's not enough.

The little traditions and routines I make up out of nothing are the smallest tokens I can offer, paltry talismans to conjure a decent childhood. I am inadequate. I would like to share this burden. Not just with their father (for, of course, he is here, participating every day), but with other people.

I love this time of year. I despise this time of year. The coziness of being inside more, the dread of doing it all again and not being able to hitch a ride, even for a moment, on someone else's momentum. It's the same old dreary story. Which is not to say we're a dreary bunch! But most of our days, regular days and special days, are spent just the four of us. Sweet. But a little sad, frankly.

I don't know how to escape the taunting thoughts that if we lived in the city, we'd have so much more to choose from. If not relevant community, then, certainly more distraction. Or if we were in the country, acreage and animals and all of that, we'd be so busy we wouldn't have time for discontent. I am tired of needing distraction. I want to sit in the middle of everything I have and like what I see.

I must reign in my visibility. Stop thinking about the big picture everyone's always talking about. Focus on the little picture. Everything is golden. The leaves and the light and the Promise I see in my children. We will have our quiet holidays, we will keep our simple days.

I cannot do better than I can do.


Lisa said...

We ended up here quite by accident and I actually love our little town, but I miss being around family. I feel sad that my children don't have the same close relationships with cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents. It's usually not too bad, but I feel it acutely around the holidays because I don't remember any holidays growing up when we were just our immediate family celebrating. You may not be able to give your children a steady pack of people who were always there and will always be there, but you can give them trusted folks who are here now and may not be kindred spirits, but have much affection for your family.

J.L. Powers said...

I actually live in the the Bay Area....and the truth is, we don't do much more than just the two of us, alone, in our house. Sure, we go out for beer at the local pub, and we go to a live concert every month, but otherwise we don't "take advantage" of being in the city. Some of us are just homebodies....Maybe you are, too.

Yet despite the fact that we don't take advantage of it, try telling my husband that we could move elsewhere! No way Jose. He's not having it.