I miss traveling with the Airstream. Stephen and I are traveling to Nashville today, kids at my mother’s house, and I am looking enviously at the RVs in the lanes as we pass. Trailing the trailer felt like all the excitement and newness of moving and none of the sadness.
We traveled a bit this summer with the Airstream rented out at home to Airbnb guests. The pay covers our travels and we get to stay in hotels, which I hate and the children love. The breakfast! The weird beds! Sleeping on fold out chairs! Big TVs!
We are home now and I am sad. I don’t think we’ve been here quite long enough to allow us that amazing feeling of coming home to your own space that I had in our last home. This house feels somewhere in the middle - not a shock of new but not yet an old friend. I feel bummed to be home, and sad about that, and I am hiding in the house with the curtains closed and staying in my pajamas all day.
We are settled down these days, and the kids attend a school that we like enough, but not a whole lot. The school is pricey. It costs a lot of money and a lot of freedom. I miss the control and have traded it for a little more daily peace in the house while the kids are away in someone else’s care, and less guilty fretting over my parenting. But I’m not sure it’s worth it. I really couldn’t care less about uniform policy infractions or summer math packets, and I haven’t had the kids complete them and I don’t even know where they are. As an act of defiance, we won’t turn them in at orientation. Maybe.
We probably will turn them in.
Our youngest daughter had her pre-k orientation last night. I wore my sunglasses in the classroom because I was tearful. I don’t know why the other parents all looked so normal and un-sad. Maybe they’ve got more babies at home. Or more control over their emotions.
This time of year is no fun. I don’t look forward to the hectic, highway speed of the school year. I like the rambling, back roads pace of summer time. This summer, about three weeks in, I noticed my middle boy particularly. He is extremely witty. He has a great artistic sense - he is skillful with color and his sketches are lively and full of his wit. I didn’t know this about him. I didn’t see him, really. I didn’t have time.
The start of school this week is dreadful to me - I will drop them off on Monday, and I will collect them all again, and a year will go by in one day.
I don’t have a remedy for this yet. Probably time is unstoppable.
Last year, this week, the one before school began, we had to move unexpectedly and quickly, and I remember thinking we were flipped like pancakes. I had wanted to be busy with organizing backpacks and making inspirational chalk art quotes, but I was moving and unpacking a car into a weird condo. This year we are settled into a nice home of our own very near the beach. Why is it so hard to feel gratitude? Why is it so hard to get stability right - not too much so that it’s stiffling, not too little?
Stephen hands me coffee as I sit on the bed next to sweet Jane, and I think, “I need him to tell me I can do this getting older thing, that I can do it in my own way and that it will be cool” but he doesn’t say anything. The back door to the porch is open from my bedroom and there is a breeze on this August Florida morning. This is highly unusual and sweet. Jane has brought me yard flowers in a cup I collected on the last visit I took to see my Gran.
Maybe good things will come this year.