We’ve moved three times since Max was born. He is 3 1/2. 4 times, if you count the move that happened one week before he made his grand entrance into the world.
We are financially stable, fairly grounded, responsible adults…..and yet….
We can’t seem to find a place that feels like home.
Goldilocks bitched about it too. Everything was too hot, too cold, too small, too big. Our house was too small, too big, too many stairs, too remote, too isolated. Every year we got this weird itch to change things. This time, we lived in a beautiful coastal town. Our Main St was quaint, quiet, and picturesque. We’d drive up the highway to the harbor, and the glare of the sunshine on the crests of fat ocean waves would take my breath away. Every time.
But I wasn’t happy there. There was a two-lane, winding road that connected our beautiful town to the rest of the world. One way in, and one way out. Up the mountain and back down. Max’s preschool was on the wrong side of the mountain. Sean’s work was on the wrong side of the mountain. Urgent Care at 10 pm in a rainstorm with a screaming toddler and a husband who was working across the country….was all on the wrong side of the mountain. I was lonely, and isolated, and felt like I had to work too hard at life when life was over the river and through the woods. Small town living is perfect for some folks, and we were blessed to have sweet friends there who tried everything in their power to make us feel at home. And yet…
I needed Target, y’all. And to come home and take a nap when Max was at school. And good restaurants. And to be able to drop by a preschool friend’s house for a cup of coffee, and to know that our “net” could easily get to us if we needed help. I needed to be able to run home and throw in a load of laundry or start dinner during the 4 sacred hours that Max was in school. And the peace of mind that comes with knowing that I would have access to support groups and playgroups and the hospital when Baby Brother comes along. When we ended up finding a house to rent in my favorite Truman Show city, we knew that it was time.
Sean called the (same) moving company that has been with us for each transition (we’re like family now), and they took a few days to get back to us. We’ve been known to require two trucks. We have a LOT of shit. They are so kind to us, though this time their manager did say “Next year, when you move again, call somebody else.”
But this time Max helped us pack the waffle iron.
Uncle Harvey and Gramma came to help us unpack and get situated. Loosely translated to mean “they worked their asses off to unpack every box, put together endless shelving units, and move very heavy shit from one room to the next, because of course pregnant ladies are a little indecisive and Daddy’s arm is still in a cast.” Max offered to help with some of the cleaning….
We had our traditional “First Week Menu” in our new house. In N Out for all.
Pizza on the patio, when the work inside got to be too overwhelming.
We discovered that our 50 year old home has a personality all it’s own. The beauty of exposed wood beams lifting high above our family room, contrasts with broken radiators and an oven that is too small to fit a standard size cookie sheet. It burnt my damn scones, too. Though I’ll admit that may have been user error.
We’re getting to know each other, this retro-fabulous house and I. Max has the freedom to run through the halls, delighted by a one-story set-up that allows us all to be within screaming distance of each other. We are a block away from our neighborhood school. We have cut our commute times in half. Max can open his bedroom door and walk right through ours in the morning, all by himself. I kinda love this place. Even when my new bathroom is frigid at 3 am when I get up to pee. I’m convinced that the very old folks who lived here before us may have died here. Of hypothermia. Because all of the other rooms and bedrooms have central heat, except for the master bedroom…..which has a pellet stove in the corner. Like Laura Ingalls Wilder used. “How romantic and rustic!” we thought, when we first saw it standing next to an old radiator. “Umm, clearly we’re the assholes” Sean said last night, as we were huddled together under three blankets. “The damn stove is in here because it’s freezing back here!”
Change is hard. And sometimes a little chilly.
As we drove away from our old house, Max said “Mommy, I sad that we leaving our house”. “Me too honey” I said softly, as I wiped a few stray tears away. “Our house has taken great care of us, hasn’t it? Mommy will miss it too. But we’re bringing all of our special things to our new house. And Mommy, Daddy and Max….We will always be together, no matter where we live.”
We’re easing into this new life. These new opportunities. Last night Max told me “I love my new bed Mommy. I happy in my new house.”
It feels like a heavy load has been lifted. We’re on the “right” side of the mountain, the right side for us. For our family. When I hear my sweet boy, singing quietly to himself as he rescues Woody and Buzz in his bedroom, I am reassured that wherever our little family lands……is home.