For the third time in 2 years we’re packing up to move across too many miles to a new home in a new location. When we left Port Orchard two years ago, I was ready. I didn’t want to tell people I was okay with leaving, as if doing so would say that I didn’t want to be around them. For the most part (oh my gosh those four words are so passive aggressive it hurts. Someone call me a whore.), that was completely false. I loved the Port Orchard friends, and I hated leaving knowing that the Navy would upset any hope at good friends being there when we got back. But I was ready. I had felt something more than our financial situation pulling us on the trip. I felt like I HAD to go, that things would change. Miracles would happen. I was ready. I was tired beyond anything I could ever write adequately in words, but ready.
Leaving Washington DC was different. I was sad to be leaving the school that had changed Casey’s world so completely. But I could not wait to get the heck out of there. I had never felt so displaced in my entire life. I went from being in a place where people could care less what you looked like (Think of your stereotypical Seattlite. Tell me you didn’t see someone just a little grungy?) to a place where looks, status, and all of that stuff MATTERED. No one there speaks sarcasm. It’s the only language I’m fluent in.
Today I faced leaving again. As with every prior move, every last inch of my body has ached from the stress of being too cheap to call movers or people to clean for me (Like I could afford that crap anyways). This morning it felt as though my insides were protesting in a way that my outsides longed to, but where entirely too fatigued to do on their own. They kicked, screamed and punched at me as I tried to swallow the bile that rose up sharply when I thought about something being the ‘last time’. My soul longs to settle. I just wish it was here. I have felt at home here. The people here can come across a little harsh until you realize that it’s quite wonderful to just have people tell you like it is. To strip away pretense, to set fire to the fluff that surrounds too many conversations in other places I’ve been. While it sometimes sucks to have someone tell you ‘no’, I’d much rather have a straight ‘no’ than a wishy washy, I’m-going-to-begrudge-this-later ‘yes’. I love that people would confront me when I had screwed up so we could talk it out and then move on. There is no passive aggression here. It is what it is. I love that.
I picked Abby up from her preschool summer program and cranked up Foo Fighters and rolled the windows down as we pulled out of the parking lot. As I sung along, I was grateful for a passing moment for Abby’s hearing loss. I have a truly terrible voice. The words hung in the air, “Getting good at starting over…where do I begin?” There it was. In my effort to hold back the tears, I did that weird little breathing thing that forces all of the air out of your nose (You know the one, like when you’re in church and your husband leans over and uses the term ‘hard no’ to describe tupperware parties and you have to hold in your laughter and you make a weird little grunting noise through your nose? Is there a word for that thing? It happens to me a lot) and straight up snotted. With that awesome display of maturity, I pulled over and leaned my forehead against the steering wheel and began the first of today’s many ugly cries. I thought about my friends. My kids’ friends. The hurricane. The snowy winter. The beach. I cried harder as the crappy New England drivers rushed by. I love their terrible driving! I leaned back in my seat and used the closest Taco Bell napkin to wipe off my face and looked in the rear view mirror at my daughter.
It was her mounting medical bills that forced us to take the position in DC. It was my fear of ever going through that kind of financial desperation again that pushed us to take this position here in Rhode Island. Her little life has forced me to grow in ways I have never imagined. For our entire family to grow. It wasn’t just me that has gotten good at starting over. In fact, I’m still quite terrible at it,. Better than before, but still sub-par. My boys are great at it. They have been such troopers through all of this. They are great at starting over, but it doesn’t lesson the pain we are all feeling at what we are leaving behind.
As I pulled back onto the road I glanced back as the wind began to blow on Abby’s face. The light from the open sun roof shined right on her, giving her an angelic quality that seemed to embody the way she feels when I hold her. She closed her eyes as tiny tendrils of hair danced across her face. A new, quieter, song gathered around us as we drove by the green pastures that welcomed us to the state just a year ago. The kicking and screaming of my insides slowed down to a manageable tantrum and I was able to allow a little bit of gratitude in. Grateful for the chance to fall in love with this tiniest of states. Grateful for all of the hardships that forced us down a path we would have never taken on our own. A harder path. A better path. And grateful a little to be going home to a new soggy west coast home and the next round of life.
The moment of gratitude soon passed. I haven’t stopped whining since. Moving blows so much.