Little did I know when I made that resolution, that it would be tested on such a regular basis. Perhaps it's just because I am focusing on the present and my own engagement with it, but the past few months have been a real exercise for me in breathing, accepting what is, making the best of it, and realizing that pretty much everything is actually good at it's core. I don't think I'm just trying to make lemonade out of lemons, but really digging deep to find the potential positive that lies inside every situation. And I find that doing so is continuously rewarding in terms of my realization of myself and what matters to me.
This evening, after a day of tantrums (Ethan) and crankiness (me) and mind-numbing exhaustion from working until 1am (Husband), your whole garden variety "woe is me" attitude looming over the whole family, we received a phone call from our landlord. Landlady? Landperson? Whatever. The person we write our rent check to called. To tell us we have to move. Move out. Move out of the house we've been in for almost a year and have slowly starting to call "home." This is, mind you, a mere month after she told us that she was happy to have us stay through June of 2010.
I was stunned. I don't WANT to leave this house. I don't WANT to be told what I have to do, let alone by someone I've never met. I just got back to a state of feeling like I'm in control of my life (to the extent that anyone can ever be in control). And now this. Like a nomad, once again. I have to move. Pack up everything I own and find a new place to call home.
Let's face it; I'm at an age where I kind of want to be living in my dream home. The one Husband and I raise our kid(s) in and endure empty-nest syndrome through until we down-size to a small place in the city where we can peruse art museums and sip coffee at local cafes (I want to vacation in the islands, not retire there). I'm not psyched to be living in a house that someone else owns while someone else is in DC, living in a house that I own. But that's how it is. And, as this particular house was starting to feel more like my home, I was becoming more comfortable with that. The flowers are blooming (not the ones I planted, mind you, but the ones that grow and crawl across our front porch eaves and carport), and friendly neighborhood children are stopping in our driveway asking, "Can Ethan come out and play?" It's pretty freaking close to Wisteria Lane (without the crazies--I think).
The point is, initially, I was preparing myself for panic. Looking around at the house, waiting for the anxiety to set in, the sadness and the general "woe-is-me-iness" of it all to kick in. And for a minute or two, it really did. I sat on the couch with my arms folded, my brain spinning about all that "what if's". What if I get pregnant and we have to move while I'm on bedrest or recovering from a cerclage surgery? What if we can't find a place in the same neighborhood? What if we end up in a less perfect neighborhood? What if Ethan struggles to adapt to yet another move?
But those moments went by quickly as I realized that I can do nothing about all of those particular "what if"s in this exact moment. I'm not pregnant, so really--it's not a factor in the move at all. This neighborhood? Didn't seem "perfect" to me until we'd been here for awhile; perfection is far more a state of mind than an actual reality. Of course, I had a hard time finding "perfection" when we lived across the street from a crack-den in Adams Morgan in DC several years ago, but within reason, you make your own perfection as you go. And if Ethan struggles to make this transition, it won't be the last time he faces a challenge in his life---and we'll deal with it. And whatever "what if"'s come up along the way will work themselves out, too, and aren't worth the energy of a panic attack in this moment.
Once this sense of calm came over me, I suggested to Husband that we toss the tantruming almost 3 year old into the jogging stroller and walk through the neighborhood, to see what "For Lease" signs we could locate. We saw several. We called a realtor whose name we saw on one of the signs---he showed us a gorgeous house in our neighborhood. Out of our price-range, but not by much.
It was reassuring to see that perhaps, our money will go farther now than it did a year ago in this rental market and perhaps, we'll find something that makes us just as happy. It was reassuring to realize that, having conquered the move across country as a family, we can be pretty sure that a move across town won't throw us for too big of a loop. We'll be together for yet another adventure. Another chapter.
We walked home, feeling fairly comfortable and confident. It's okay. For now, we still have the flowers in the front yard and the lemon tree in the back. We still have the kids calling for Ethan to come play. And we may as well enjoy those moments while we have them instead of kvetching over how in a few months, we'll have new flowers and new neighborhood children. For right now, I'm just going to be happy with what my "now" is, and let my future nows sit quietly waiting for me somewhere up the road.