Posts Tagged 'homesickness'

I keep coming back to that, still.

Dear Wednesday,

I’ve been quieter than usual lately, and I’m sorry about that. I know I promised you I’d keep you updated, and this past month I’ve done a terrible job at it. I have no excuses, except for that whole we-just-moved-back-across-the-country thing, I suppose. I can milk that a little longer can’t I? ūüėČ

We’re doing okay. Not great, but okay. I would have written you last week, but it was the first week of theater classes back by you, and I knew the girls would be feeling more homesick than usual, so I downplayed the day. Not that it helped much. As soon as they were done with their school work, they got on their gadgets and checked their messages and heard how you were all there together starting another¬†great year of theater, and here we are, so far away from you and all the excitement…. By the end of the day, A. slipped into a bout of anger that I really couldn’t blame her for. Hell, I get it. I’m pissed too. But I’m The Mom, and I Set The Tone, so I kept my face and voice neutral and talked about all the good things we’re doing here (but it’s still okay to feel the way you’re feeling, and it’ll pass and everything is gonna be okay, and blah blah frickety blah blah BLAH!), because that’s all I know how to do.

She’ll be all right. We all will be. It just takes time, and it’s only been a few months.

We’re a month into our new school year, and the routine of it helps immensely. Our days have grown busy, especially now that all of the girls’ activities have kicked in. They are doing two drama classes a week, plus voice, piano and dance lessons at the Conservatory downtown one afternoon a week, plus the one full day out at the homeschool academy where they get art and music classes plus a smattering of other classes where they can have group discussions about history and books and such, not to mention the incredibly affordable archery classes we stumbled upon, and suddenly this year has just turned into this perfect blend of time at home working with me and time away from home. I couldn’t ask for a better set up.

Except for the fact that it’s two thousand miles away from you, that is.

I keep coming back to that, still. And it’s damned depressing. I can’t think about it too long or I’ll collapse into a fit of tears and misery, which would not jive well at all with my whole Setting The Tone Theme Song… c’mon, sing it with me: Everything’s Gonna Be Okay. Tra La La La La La……

So instead, I do the things that need doing. Like dishes. And laundry. I’m still mired down in those two chores. Some things never change, I guess. But I will say that we have the most cheerful washer and dryer set I’ve ever seen. It blips and beeps more gently than an elevator in a five-star hotel. When the cycles are finished, it plays these little tunes that sound like something you’d hear in church. It’s much more relaxing than the infernal loud buzzing sounds I had with my old set. Also: the washer on my old set was pretty much starting to die on me. Sometimes, it wouldn’t drain the water. It would just finish the whole cycle with all the icky water in it, and then BUZZ at me, like it was PRETENDING to have washed my clothes, like it was MESSING WITH ME. I’d hear that buzz and head down to the basement and open the lid and there the clothes would be: still soaking in that gray water. Bastard. It probably wasn’t serious. Probably something was just blocking the drain hose or whatever. That’s what RegularDad said, and he was probably right, because all I had to do was wait 24 hours and start the thing up again and it would work just fine.

Yeah… see… there’s something I don’t miss.

So, now I have this new house and all this new stuff in it, and believe me, I like it far better than the old beat up place we had. I have enough room for our things now, and the kids have a huge¬†basement to hang out in, and everything is finished and beautiful and properly furnished, and for the first time in 8 years, I don’t feel CRAMPED no matter where I go in my own house. When we had our first cold night last week or so with that little dusting of snow, we turned on all the fireplaces just because we could, and it was damned cozy in here.


So, I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.

I’m also writing again, which is good. I’ve decided to¬†take advantage of these unexpected free hours I find myself with to focus more on my own writing rather than offering to teach a slew of classes or volunteer for some committee or other, or what have you. This is the year when I will master the Art of Saying No. Suddenly I’ve got a whole day and a half to myself! Can you imagine? On Mondays I write for about three hours at the library. Alone. On Thursdays, I grocery shop and run errands, and still get a little writing done. ¬†I don’t talk to anyone for hours at a time. Not even the dog. It’s unbelievably soothing.

So, even though this post is somewhat depressing, you mustn’t worry about us. Really, in the grand scheme of things, I guess I’d have to say we’re actually doing better than “just okay”. The girls are healthy and busy, and they’re making friends in their own particular ways. When I pick them up from the Conservatory or the academy and ask them how their day went, A. says something like, “I made a new friend, I think,” and then E. promptly says, “I got everyone’s phone number today!” Which is so utterly, gorgeously THEM that I can’t help but feel good inside, and relieved that they’re still them. Homesick as they are, displaced and lonely and sick of each other as they are, even when they get those far away looks in their eyes, the looks that say whoa… this isn’t what I had planned at all!

They’re still them.




Settling in, venturing out.

So, we’re settling in. Just about everything is out of the boxes, and in the proper rooms. Not organized, mind you. No. Just out of the boxes and onto a shelf or into a cabinet in all the usual disorganized jumble. I can almost find everything. Except for the power cords for my main computer with all my photo editing and graphics software. That stuff is floating around somewhere, so I’m still using my laptop for everything, which is fine until I want to blog something and realize I don’t have any decent photo editing software available to me yet. sigh….

In the midst of all this unpacking and settling in, I’ve also been busy getting ready for our new school year. All the public schools start in the middle of August here, and the girls have been itching to start school ever since the beginning of August, which is very unusual for us. We like our summers off. And we liked starting after Labor Day. August was all about chillin’ by the pool with our friends, and rainy afternoons at the movies and getting ice cream afterwards, and maybe the occasional trip to Hershey Park or down the shore for the day. Not for pining to open up those math books. I suspect the girls just want the routine of it all: days that are full of books and errands and activities. Too much free time can drive one mad when you’re displaced from everything familiar.

So, we’re starting on Monday, just like our district is. I’m almost ready. Or, I should say, just ready enough. We’ll get the basics rolling, and take it from there.

And our year promises to be quite busy, actually, because yes, we’ve been venturing out. We’ve met some new friends, and they’re good people, and even though they’re all still strangers to us, I know from experience that the day will come when that strangeness goes away, and we’ll feel like maybe we understand why we came back. My calendar is already gorgeously full of fun things to do, and this year we’ve signed up for one of these new-fangled homeschool academies that have sprung up out of the blue in the 8 years or so we’ve been away from Colorado. We went on down to register for it on Thursday, and after talking in more detail with the nice lady who runs the office there, it sounds like a really interesting program, one that offers theater arts and a variety of other arts type classes for my oh-so-artsy daughters. I couldn’t ask for a better replacement to the theater arts program we had in Pennsylvania. I addition to this part time academy, we’ve found a nice, affordable archery school where the girls can take archery classes with quite a few of their new friends.

And on top of all that, there are any number of skate days, park days, parties and laser tag afternoons to choose from. Already, I find myself having to scale back on the things we say yes to, so that our school work will get done. So yes, we’re settling in and venturing out. But every time we come home again to this new bigger house, we sit down and look around at everything and each other, and sometimes we’ll actually say it out loud: yes, this is good and fun and nice.

But it’s not the same.¬†


The first books out of the boxes.

I haven’t yet tackled the stacks of book boxes up in my office. Not all the shelves are assembled and in their proper places just yet. We’re almost there, but not quite yet, so it’s better to leave those boxes where they sit.

But most of the boxes from the main living areas of the house are opened and unpacked, and what emerged from them are the books that were strewn around the house at the time the movers arrived. It’s an eclectic mix for sure, but a strangely comforting one at that. I’ve found everything from Little House to Diary of a Wimpy Kid, from Colorado and Utah tour books, to some old Dean Koontz, to Walden and Other Writings. These books have emerged from boxes labeled “kitchen misc” and “Living room” and “MBR: books and mice.”

As I unpacked these books, I simply placed them on tables in the rooms they’d been in, as if they’d never been disturbed, as if, in some other alternate universe, they’re still in Pennsylvania. Or maybe it was just the Universe’s way of knowing what books I’d need right away, because tucked in among them I found, of course, a small smattering of poetry books, including the latest from my teacher back home: Selected Poems, by Christopher Bursk. This morning, I opened up his book and found these lines:

…. Don’t
let go, you whisper. If I do
there’ll be no way
you can save me. My fingers hurt from grasping
yours. My body’s too great a weight
for anyone to lift. If it wants to fall
that badly, maybe
I ought to let it. I can’t
hold on forever, can I?
Yes, you whisper.
The word reaches down into the darkness
where I dangle.
Yes, you can. It is a command.

I can’t quite think about the fact that, come this January, I won’t be sitting down to another master workshop with this amazing poet and all my friends and fellow writers back east. But I can take some comfort in these lines, pretend for a little while that he was talking to me the whole time, that he looked into the future and saw me dangling here amid a confusion of boxes and half-assembled bookcases, and knew exactly what I needed to hear this morning.

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