This week, this charming young man turned four. Four is such an amazing time: every day he makes new connections, and piece by piece constructs the rules of his world. Play can be nuanced and full of imagination, or it can be very black and white. One moment the world is full of mystery and lightness, and the next moment things are incredibly frustrating to figure out… But he marches on, sometimes timid, but undeterred.
May you always be as full of wonder, awe, trust, and curiosity as you are now. Happy Birthday little love!
When you unpack a marriage, untangle and unwind all the bits you’ve woven over ten years, you’re bound to hit a snag. A year ago, as I was packing up the house, selling off the baggage of my old life, and sifting through the physical manifestation the relationship, I had no idea how much lighter I would feel a year later.
Things here have been good for the most part, settled, at least, in this beautiful place we are now privileged to call home. But I found that the more I dug in to this writing exercise, looking for moments to share and distill, the more it hurt. There were layers I had pushed back far far away, while living in survival mode. It’s amazing how a simple writing practice can get at those pain points. The one thing I’ve learned this year, has been to listen to those feelings, and so, a week in, I realized I just wasn’t ready to go on writing. I needed to sit quietly, for just a little longer, before I took the feelings on.
As Alice Hoffman said in the opening to the original article that inspired all of this, “Our lives often appear to be moving in one direction, and then, quite suddenly, a door opens and everything changes. A possibility arises, we daydream, we take a chance, we allow ourselves to feel joy. What’s on the other side of the open door becomes the moment that defines us and charts a new path. It could be almost anything. Suddenly we stop and make a turn. We imagine something completely different for ourselves. Something we never expected.”
So friend, if you are walking that same path I am, or rebuilding a life when you least expected it, I have this wish for you: I hope you can let go enough to let yourself feel joy. And I hope you are kind to yourself, for through that kindness you will find all the strength you need. It’s right there, inside you.
My children’s circadian rhythms are baffling. Most days, they are up with the sun, rearing to go. Every night, they fight sleep ferociously. Yet once in a while, there are surprising mornings of an overwhelmingly deep and uninterruptable sleep… always Mondays.
Winter is holding on as best it can here, but as the hours of sunshine get longer every day, its days are numbered. The little man has shed many of his comfort objects, seemingly overnight, and we are all slowly waking from a state of hibernation.
Winter brought us just enough snow to remind us to play, but not so much to weigh us down.
And the beauty of this place still takes my breath away when I least expect it.
A couple of weeks ago, we said goodbye to my brother, after an extended stop in his own journey. He brought with him much lightness and levity, and I hope we can keep just a little of that brightness with us here.
After all, spring is here, just about to burst. Any. Minute. Now.
Summer has been good for all of us, and thankfully, despite September rolling in, it is still in full effect. There have been a few adventures, and road trips, but mostly, we have just held close to this lovely new place we call home…
The day we told our kids we were moving into two houses, my oldest had just one question: is it going to be fun? Of course, the answer had to be yes! But moving can be stressful even when your whole world isn’t changing. And moving into two houses can also feel like a loss. So how do you keep it fun?
Here are my tips for surviving with your sanity intact:
This one is for you, and is the most important: you will stay sane if and only if you take care of yourself. Need help in the self care department? yes, you do. You are not made of rock and sorting through the physical artifacts of your marriage sucks. It will be hard. Get a moving buddy! I cannot stress enough how important this is. I was lucky (incredibly, amazingly lucky) to have my brother to help me with both our yard sale and with packing. Your moving buddy can help by telling you that no, you don’t need to keep that incredibly charged item, and by making sure you eat and nourish yourself during the pack. You will need this. It will save you.
Now what about the kids? Here are some things that worked for me:
1. Make the kids feel involved: set aside time in your pack and prep schedule to have them pack up some of their things, choose some things to donate or sell. These activities will take longer than when you do it yourself, but will help them understand and cope with the move.
2. While packing, keep a kid-safe space free from chaos in your home, where they can rest and play.
3. Label everything! write on the outside of the boxes, not just “toys” or “books” but be specific: then when you want to find the legos and magnatiles in a sea of cardboard, they’ll be easy to find.
4. At your new home, first things first, set up the kid’s sleeping and play space so they have things to do while you get your place sorted. (Here I’ve put up some temporary shelves with a few toys and books. They have a place to sit and play away from the chaos in the rest of the house.)
5. Embrace chaos! your house will be messy during this transition. Accept it and move on. Let them explore the new place and make it their own!
6. When all else fails, take a break! Find a place to refresh and recharge.
And keep this with you: soon all this chaos will end. This is temporary madness. On the other side, you will have a space of your own! As I sit here, only a month after moving into my own, I feel such an incredible sense of space and peace, that five weeks ago I could barely imagine. That will soon be yours.
The last six weeks have been a blur. The kids were troopers, playing through the chaos. I was surrounded by so much love from my friends and coworkers as we visited old favorites (will miss you so Lighthouse Point!) and beautiful new places like Beltane Farm. And we ate amazing and delicious food. How is it that all my friends are such incredible cooks? And that we turn to food to nourish, celebrate, and nurture each other?
None of it would have been possible without my magical brother, who dropped everything and flew cross-country to be with me twice in the month of June, to help me keep it all together. I can’t thank him enough for reminding me that we come from a long stock of folks who work hard, don’t whine, and always find the time to eat well and drink good coffee. With his help I sorted, packed, and sold the remnants of my old life, making room for the new…
Then came the magic floating forklift to take our storage container, and we were off!