Friday, July 22, 2011
Putting things in drawers has never been my forte
Isla and I normally share the double bed. I am constantly pushing her little body over to her side, all night. She inches, instinctively, back towards me, her little hot water bottle body sticky with sweat. She is a sticky -tree- frog child. In this heat, it's torture.
When I tell people we have moved in, sort of, but are still camping, technically, all in one room, they often ask why. I struggle to explain. I think mainly it's time constraints, trying to work and be a mom and a moving service and home decorator all at once doesn't leave a lot of time for, um, swimming.
But it's more than that. It always is.
Anyway, it feels right for us all to be in the same room right now. I'm not sure if we will ever spread out, span this place. It feels so big. So unruly. Especially after two years of living in more confined spaces in France, where there were no sprawling yards to mow, and no weekends spent/wasted, however you want to look at it, on home maintenance. It has definitely changed my perspective. My house and yard seemed to have doubled in size while we were away.
Funny, or maybe not, but I am still having my same old reservations about settling here. When people ask me if we are home for good, I always take a breath before uttering the word "yes." I feel like a politician. As if I'm lying, but lying is the only option. Yes is the only answer. But how can anybody confidently say they are doing anything, for good. Forever?
I could always say, "maybe," I guess. But that feels kind of reckless, irresponsible on my tongue. And Esther would jump down my throat if she heard me say it.
Next question: Are you glad to be home?
Of course I'm glad to be home. Except when I'm not. Except when I feel that being home involved a trading in of sorts. Being home signifies the start of something. And the end of something. The end of an adventure. A coming full circle.
And I keep getting these senses of panic, of losing my grip on our experience abroad, as if an experience is something you can hold in your hand, or between your teeth, forever. I find myself groping in my pockets, hoping to pull it out to show people. Hey, look at this. This is our life, a chapter, in France. Did that really happen? Did we really do that?
Of course I'm glad to be home, except when I succumb to fear and imagine I can read the writing on the wall. The writing that says, Welcome back. You've been here before, remember, this place? You were always writing in your journal the last time you lived here about how trapped you felt, how much you craved to experience another environment, urban perhaps, other than your pastoral birthplace. Are you over that yet?
It's clear to me I have I'm not over it and may never be. Surely there have been other cases of terminal wanderlust. I always have. Ian's got it too. Perhaps we recognized it in each other? We both have a room, or hallway in our heads, where we keep our mental bags packed, just in case.
Here we are, all this land, this big house, that just screams "homestead me." We discuss the chickens, goats, pigs even. Then we talk ourselves out of it.
Because animals ground you. And the concept of being permanently grounded gives me hives. I half believed that our little French adventure might cure me of this. That I would come home, every last oat neatly sewn, and embrace all things permanent and stable.
Hmm. And here I am with my bags still packed.
But every time I meet another foreign aid worker, or international school teacher, home for the summer before heading off to another distant land, I still feel the jerking tugs of envy, longing. How ridiculous this feels.
My friends have gone with their two kids to Italy for two weeks. And I'm jealous?
I've heard that reentering one's country takes some adaption. I'm not going to panic about my still feeling conflicted just 10 weeks after returning home. If it's anything like the Elisabeth Kubler Ross' stages of accepting death, I'm in the bargaining stage:
So, what if? What if we just traveled forever? Went again, and again, and again. Could it work?
I say I don’t like being rootless-- I need a community, connections-- yet I find the older I get, the more fleeting and unpredictable life feels.
There are so many rewards from living in, being part of, a community part of something bigger than you. The support, the safety net, the connections, the warm blanket of family. I've felt the lack of that blanket. And I've shivered.
I've also felt the weight of it, and felt... itchy, stifled.
So I'll lay here on the floor, next to this hot child on this hot summer night and try to decide: Do I want the blanket, or not?
Clearer evidence that it I am happy to be home can be found over here on Momformation.