Last night I told the children, “I might go for a hike in the morning, so if I’m gone when you get up, feed yourselves.” They mumbled yes without really listening to anything but their sleepover movie, but that’s the thing about 11-year-olds: they can fend pretty decently for themselves.
But the do still need you, contrary to what I’ve been telling myself and other people.
This evening I asked Ennis to strip the beds and tidy up the “kid cabin” because we’ll be moving to town in a couple of weeks, something that has wound me up for a while now, and which only finally settled down earlier today.
But it seems we’re taking our grieving in turns. He came out to the kitchen where I was washing dishes (another triumph of self-care), and said, “I’m sad. I don’t wanna leave the lake house.”
I hugged him, peeled off my rubber gloves, hugged him some more. I said, “I know, I don’t want to either. But I know that it will feel good to get settled and actually unpack stuff. And it’ll be nice for you to be in town so you can just go home after school.” But I didn’t push it– none of that made me feel any better through all the body-angst, even though it’s all true.
“I read your blog post– the one about ‘In Between,'” a friend said. I had to look it up to remember what I’d written: The beauty of the liminal space. The sacred transition. Being at home in the unknown.
Well. Here we still are, aren’t we?
It’s good to have mirrors, in kids and friends, and daily practices– to be reminded of what we know, and what we are still really, really learning.
When I feel most anxious about moving (and then getting thrown out and having to figure this all out again, because the Old Law is Good things can’t last), I remind myself that everything is temporary. A year-long lease does not actually secure me a year of certainty any more than a month-to-month lease does. There’s only Now: the dishes, the sad and silly child, the thoughts and feelings that, it turns out, I can loop back into myself like some solo tantric practice.
I don’t want to be afraid that what comes next won’t be as good as what I have now. And mostly, I’m not. There’s a lot of light, a lot of hope, and certainly a good share of curiosity that balances out that fear. And I’m pretty sure every hard thing so far has, eventually, led to something better.
It’s a little easier to remember all that when I have to (want to) step up and model it for someone else.