Here I Sit in a Stranger’s Kitchen…

I’m actually at my computer, sitting down, by myself. Robb’s at our house, helping the movers pack and load. The kids are playing miraculously peacefully elsewhere in the Airbnb. Ope, nope, there they are. Now they’re in the room with me…snack-seeking? No! They’re still in make-believe mode, something about an elfin kingdom, so if I just play dead and maybe they’ll walk on by.

There. It worked. It helps that we’re in a new house where adventures might be waiting in wardrobes or whatnot. I’m hoping to limit their TV watching to nine hours today- fingers crossed.

We’ve been organizing, purging, and packing since before Christmas, all while Robb works remotely at a brand-new job on a different time zone. We also hosted all of our families in micro groups for Christmas, as carefully as we could, and had distanced, outside (in December/Michigan) visits with friends- it’s been necessary and good for our hearts, I pray it doesn’t come back to virally bite any of us. We couldn’t NOT say goodbye before we move across the country, but the threat of illness hangs so dark and heavy. We got tested first, I aired out the house between visits…now we just hope and hope and hope.

This is the first of three Airbnb’s the kids and Robb will be in over the next few weeks as they fly to California, before they settle finally into our new rental house. It’s the first of six I’ll be in, since I’m driving cross-country with my dog and my mom. In a pandemic. Hope and hope and hope.

Sounds like a country song.

The stress weighs hard. The fights are frequent. The fear is abundant. The uncertainty, worry that it will all go bad…that I neglected to do something in the planning…that we can’t be careful enough…that some bottom is yet to fall out….I’ve been aggressively meditating to not totally spin out into an anxiety cyclone. It’s sort of worked.

The grief of leaving the house we’ve been in for fifteen years and moving far away from the ones we love and lean on…that grief I’ve only seen shadows of, since there’s been to-do lists and disinfecting and other more pressing fear to keep me busy. Sitting alone in this kitchen, at my computer, the grief is starting to take form. I hesitate to let it fully develop because I have to maintain face for the kids, face for all, but it will come.

It’s a hard thing to acknowledge that a big change is right, is something we want and need, and yet also causes pain…but it is both. It is healthy, good, and right and also scary, sad and hard. This year has been full of tug-of-wars like that (tugs-of war?). My heart can contain all those feelings. The capacity to experience joy and pain simultaneously is a complex wine; bitter, challenging, beautiful. I’m feeling, drinking it all.

Something I heard in a meditation the other day that really struck me was:

Hold everything, hold ONTO nothing.

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Snow is one of the things we’re leaving without much grief.

This new adventure literally starts on the first day of the new year, and there’s poetry in that. One day, one hour, one mash of feelings at a time. Breathe. Write. Cry. Laugh. Repeat.

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