I’m sitting on the patio of an Irish pub, a few blocks from my church, where my kids are at VBS. Having a wonderful time, I’m sure. I’m having a beer and some beer cheese for dinner (not sorry) while I get some work things done. The weather is a kind of perfection I can’t describe. The Lumineers are trying to tear my heart out in the background, in all the right ways. I’m eating a carrot and it is not a baby carrot out of the bag from which I pack the kids’ lunch boxes. It’s just a carrot. And it is so good.
Everything, in this moment, is so good.
It sounds like simple things. But I’m taking the deep kinds of breath right now that I could not have imagined in my life six months ago. Six months ago, when I did this crazy thing and left a job I loved and a place that was comfortable; when I insanely trusted that I could do a new thing, in a new place, and get my family from one geographical point to another in one piece. In the middle of winter.
In case you’ve never done such a thing, like up and moved your family and your whole dang life from here to there, let me tell you — it is hard. Exhausting. Tedious. Sleepless nights and actual chest pains kinds of stressful. Because there’s just so much you don’t know.
You don’t know, for instance, if the new house is going to be as great as it felt in a 10 minute walk through once you are actually living under that roof in a rainstorm. Once you’ve had the first fight, the first kid meltdown before morning coffee, the first unexpected day off of school when EVERYONE.IS.HOME. For like 14 solid hours. At the same time.
You don’t know if your kids, who have always loved school, are going to love school ever again. You don’t know if your kids, who are pk’s and were practically on staff at your old church, are ever going to want to go to church again.
You don’t know if you, having been who you’ve been forever, and having done what you’ve done for your whole tenure of adulthood, can actually do a new thing.
But what you know for sure is that nothing will ever be the same. And what if different is not good?
And then, you leave town in an ice storm, and it seems like a harbinger of things to come. And then your moving truck breaks down at exactly the halfway point, and if that ain’t a damned metaphor then I don’t know what. And then the sale of your house falls through. And the school is bad. Like… really bad. And then you get sick. And then you get sicker.
And all this time, you are supposed to be knocking socks off in a new job–which, I’ve always said, is just about the worst confluence of events that our transient and aspirational culture ever conceived, the way we move our lives and start new things at the same time.
Which is to say, February was a bear of a thing, and it was cold besides.
But now it is June. And my kids just finished a grade in a new school. Well, a second new school. The first one was a bust. But this one is good. They brought home quite excellent report cards, and then commenced spending the summer with neighbor kids… because there is something about a tribe of neighborhood kids that exists in suspended time, and does not care that this was all supposed to be new and hard and awkward.
And right this very minute, those kids of the quite excellent report cards are at VBS. At a church that already loves them, just because. At a place where they seem to just know how to belong, because they’ve always belonged somewhere… and something about childhood just trusts that one can belong again.
And February, for all his blowing and blistering and toxic masculine rage, did finally blow away on a Spring breeze. And then it was Easter. And then it was summer, the seventh day.
And like I said… right about now, I am sitting on a patio, at a bar, and the sky is crayon blue, and the air is the perfect artisan blend of chill and warm. Or warm chill? I don’t know, but they should sell it in a dang bottle.
New things are still new, and hard things are still hard. But right now, right this minute, I’m breathing deeper than I could have imagined the moment after the leap. The kids are alright. Summer comes after all. And we all fall home, eventually. In spite of ourselves.