Jane is sleeping next to me on a mattress on the floor in my sweet friend's spare room. Stephen is hanging with our old friends at a sporty party of some sort. We are back in our old hood too soon after leaving. Stephen had some sort of meeting and we are traveling quite far to play in a music camp/festival thingy in Indiana, so it really made sense for us all to come. We have all loved seeing our friends and neighbors, and received this excellent parting gift:
I think it was too soon for me to come back. I have been teary eyed in public, and I cannot find my sunglasses. I couldn't manage to drive past our house and have successfully avoided it. When we pulled into familiar Palmetto after our long trudge up from the coast, Jane said, "We are home! I can go to my house and play with my toys!"
Terrible. Heart-wrenching. Horrible.
But everyone seems, for the most part, happy at the beach. It's still like a messy vacation where we've intensely overpacked. We miss our friends. We miss a house that feels normal to sleep and wake in. I miss not having to open six drawers to remember where I put the silverware. I miss the life of the neighborhood here - people passing and chatting on the street, dogs and kids all over, my children running outside to play for hours, and so many familiar faces. Our neighborhood in Florida isn't; it's just a house. Time will tell, I guess, but I hope we can come back.
A bit of moving advice: (if you got here by googling "moving advice", this next part has nothing to do with packing organization, colored tape, or box numbering systems. You are wasting time and should just go pack, lazy procrastinator!)
The bit of advice: if you are new somewhere, do not go to a party or gathering of any sort wherein you are the only one on the outside. It feels exactly like being the new kid with red hair and glasses in 6th grade. Because it is exactly like that. Except I have contacts and I am old.
More advice: when moving, do not shove your anti-depressant into a Clinique bonus bag and then forget where it is for four days. This will do you no favors during a complete life upheaval. No favors at all, friends.
This is a year of adventure. We have renters in our own house, and are in a lovely place where Spanish moss hangs in the trees and a bay breeze blows through the porch. I had to say, "Spanish moss does not come inside the house" to my boys. I get to spend the night with neighbors and friends as we pass through town, which would always have been fun but also would've been weird to do when living right here.
I want to be here drinking coffee with these very dear people, but I also feel jittery and itchy to get out of here. A quick cut of connecting cords would likely be less painful. This has been a long, dragging goodbye. Like when you make a nice exit from a shop, leaving with a charming and funny goodbye quip, and then you have to go back in because you forgot your keys.
Tomorrow we are rushing towards Indiana with the Airstream in tow. It is dirty and still needs new window shades, and I never hung the amazing wall paper. I had wanted it to be perfect and clean and pretty, stocked and maybe full of some exciting new toys, but ah well. Last summer, we had a great week at this family music camp (what a totally bizarre thing!) and I hope this year is fun for the children. They're complaining and asking why we have to go so many places all the time. We are sorely tired, all, and I especially am out of sorts, which makes the kids act super weird. Or they're out of sorts all on their own, and weird also. It can't always be my fault.
Always fun: close quarters with strangers when your way-too-many-to-properly-discipline-obviously kids are out of sorts and rude. I'm sure I'll have a moment or two of disciplining too loudly or too fake-calmly because people are watching. "Are you making a good choice?" "You must be sooooo tired because we have been traveling so much!"
Because I am most of the time anxious, I've learned a few tricks that help to keep me from full-on panic. One is to say, "I'm so excited about (whatever I am not really excited about at all)..." This works. It does. I'm so excited about our new house. Our new adventure. Our trip to Indiana. Singing new songs for new people. Hanging out in the trailer. Driving w the kids. If you see me and I say this to you, pretend to believe me. That'll help, too.