What’d I tell you in one of those last posts? From doing all the things, I had that good burst of energy and went on a writing spree juuuuuuust in time to tank.
And then naturally decide to sell my house. Because why not?
Why not, after an incredible list of tasks completed this year (which we’ll get into in another planned post), in the middle of the fall semester, during the height of Lucas’ soccer season, just before the holidays…decide I’m going to move my entire life’s worth of shit into another house?
If that doesn’t sound appealing, maybe you aren’t living your life right.
On the real, the process really hasn’t been that bad. The market in my home’s area has been outstanding- so much so that my house appraised 16k higher than it did last year, which facilitated what appears to be a lucrative sale. Minimal hiccups and an aggressive realtor/closing team have meant that my biggest tasks (after staging for the one showing it took to produce a solid offer) were spending a week in aggressive negotiations with some Israeli home owners to obtain the new house and moving everything while D is out of town into said house. We managed to get all of his things moved out of storage and his apartment right before he left, but that still left me the entirety of my own life. As a matter of fact, while I’m sitting in one of the few remaining pieces of furniture writing this, I am more or less surrounded by boxes of assorted sizes, as well as odds and ends that didn’t make it into boxes of the same category.
A storm has rolled in, pushing the fall foliage around outside the windows in just such a way.
The pouring rain is lulling my frazzled, over-active state into a mandatory rest period.
I am exhausted. I am spent. I am happy.
This, of course, is how I know I’m a strange bird. Most people prefer a clear, sunny day to tempest skies, warmth to wet-cold. But I never have. I appreciate the tumult and the challenge; it’s fascinating. I have this unusual love for being made to submit by an unbiased and undeniably more significant force. Mother Nature gives no thought to man when she kicks off, and isn’t it powerful how easily we are reminded of our status as animals when it happens? For all our intellect and ingenuity, we still require shelter and creature comforts. My productivity is limited from something as simple as a good storm, and I am made to rest and consider when I otherwise wouldn’t. In less than seventy-two hours, this will no longer be my primary residence. This is the last time I will watch a storm through these windows over the steam of my tea, as I have done so many times during the last seven years, puzzling over life-things.
And while it has been difficult to manage the animals, the kids, the move, and myself without D here, I’m not sorry he’s not stuck with this. When the timeline laid out this week as “move week” right on top of plans we’d made months ago for him, it didn’t take long for me to understand why it happened that way. On the surface, it’s as simple as the man needs a break. I have never met someone as relentlessly productive or busy as this one that belongs to me, but also the amount of growth and personal straightening-out he’s had to deal with over the last couple years is overwhelming. It’s not just my love for him that makes me wish peace upon him. It’s my humanity, my ability to see through my own life experiences that what he has been asked to do in this stage of his life is an undertaking at which I have watched many others fail- and it’s not one that garners much praise, either.
Deeper than that, it’s because I understand now that this was something I needed to do alone. This was a goodbye that didn’t belong to him. This was a peace, an ending, a parting he couldn’t make. And looking back at the sale of his house and the move of his things, I wish I could have realized that with him and with more delicacy (I’m sorry, babe).
This house has been my waiting house. I came into it waiting on a life, waiting to see what would become of this life time, since it feels like my soul has probably seen a few others. I remember distinctly viewing it for the first time the summer before Maddie was born. The spring had been one big upheaval- tornadoes, an unexpected pregnancy (Lucas was four months old when I found out I was nearly done with another first trimester), and the regression of my marriage. I was a flurry of getting shit done, as I had to rapidly straighten out our finances and pack while managing a toddler, an infant, and a high-risk pregnancy on my own. We had viewed half a dozen houses in our price range with little success, and I was beginning to get anxious that we wouldn’t get settled before things got dangerous with the new baby. We rolled up the driveway with the realtor, and I was not impressed. I was hot, nauseous, and critical.
When we walked in, I remembered knowing it was my house. The father of my children seemed ambivalent and argued for another house with a floor plan I didn’t like. Even as we contracted on that house, I knew. I knew we’d end up here. It took three attempts and a contractual failure on the other house to do it, but we made it in before the period of bed rest set in. I imagined what it was going to look like to raise my children into their teenage years here as I waited to deliver Maddie, and I could see them walking into the hallway and into my bedroom to talk to me about something. I loved that image very much, but somehow I always felt that it would never happen that way. And their father was never in that day dream with me.
I was always alone, with my children, in this house.
Almost immediately after the move, it felt like my marriage began to rapidly disintegrate. By the time I safely brought our youngest child into the world, it was more or less over. Irreparably broken. The years spent here with him in the house were painful for both of us, as if he was being walked right out the door. I’m not one to believe that a house has juju to do that- I know what broke our marriage, and I know that we were never going to be the right ones for each other. But I do believe that I was meant to be here with my children for this time period, on my own. When he left, nothing about my feelings for this house changed because, even though his name was on the deed, it was never his house. It would only further become mine through the dissolution of our marriage and the tendrils that followed for a few years afterward. In my post Structures, written after the successful refinancing that struck him from the deed, I think I was partially correct in my musings as to what helped my house become my home.
So, although I rolled into this house with expectations and half-hopes, waiting on our family to become what I thought it could be, that wasn’t meant for this life time, and I started on an odyssey of finding out just how many other things wouldn’t happen in this life time, either.
And, holy shit-balls, it didn’t take long for God to parade those concepts out in front of me after I indicated a willingness to see them.
I recognize that period now- and had some sense while it was happening of its identity- as a period of cleansing. Brutal, flat-out purification. Just a massive hurricane sent to completely block the avenues down which I had previously tried to go and had no business being on. As I’ve written through the last year- more specifically in the last six or seven months- I’m beginning to tease out the how and why and to what end all that occurred. Somewhere, I had gotten off onto the wrong pathway, away from what I was designed to be, and in the back-tracking had some evolution to attend to by way of difficult life lessons. Or, maybe, I was on the correct road and needed to be in possession of certain skills and knowledge I had yet to attain, and thus required a lengthy, windy detour. Whichever (or both) is right doesn’t matter as much as my understanding that such a time of discomfort was necessary, and I am better for it.
I could not have done that if I were not alone in the house much of the time, but I’d be lying if I said I wanted to be. I don’t know anyone who enjoys waiting. Especially waiting alone (which was what I was doing, as it turns out). Especially waiting alone to see what this life time actually will hold. This is not to say I dislike or fear being alone. On the contrary, I rather appreciate time to myself and understand the benefits of it. I also was not passively living, expecting God to come in like a wizard and just magically drop my life’s work and happiness in my lap. I was doing all kinds of things- just not all of them were grand. Whatever was coming hadn’t arrived yet, and so I stowed away my kids and me in this waiting house, where we were safe for the time being, and plugged away in the directions of the signs I was given.
In the meantime, Easter eggs were left for me along the way. Not that I recognized them entirely, because I seem to have a knack for getting half the answer right and half the answer way wrong.
The intentions are usually good, though.
There were hints.
Long before D entered my life, I had a good friend who was present for most of my childhood. He always shot straight with me, but as a brother would, so when he said something important and not just to pick at me, I listened. In the midst of my divorce, I was haggard, tired, and worried. God help the man who ever looks at me and finds me worth pursuing. I’m not even sure what kind of man that man would be, I half-joked to him one afternoon in the driveway before we started some yard work. I was serious, but I wasn’t, because I couldn’t even conceive of being romantically linked to anyone…but I could. While trying to figure out what I even meant by what I said, he looked me straight in the face and said, “You shut up. In another life time…if you were someone else, and I didn’t know you…you would be like winning the lottery. You just don’t know. Not yet. But someone will look at you and realize that, and it won’t matter that you’re divorced or that you have kids. Just won’t. You’re powerful that way. Now get your ass to work.”
I had another friend whose commentary and ability to mentally joust with me, whose understanding and patience for my many moods, made it seem like we were made of the same stuff. Ex-military and intimidating to others, it was always an amusing and satisfying friendship, in that I always considered myself forgettable and not in the least scary or intimidating. I enjoyed the chagrin of others when I looked him in the eye (from about a foot below) and disagreed with him. On more than one occasion, he told me that I was more mentally tough than so many of the men he worked with, and that he respected me as an equal. “But you are timeless. A siren. You will wreck a weaker man,” he warned one evening via text, as I sat drinking my cinnamon tea on the couch. “You need an alpha, a dominant male. In another life time…in another world… You are a goddamn lioness. Just don’t forget.”
During my era of physical challenges, I came across another ex-military, aggressive, direct man who also became a friend for a time. When we met at an event, I felt him looking at me, as if to test my intestinal fortitude. Can I help you? I asked, with a raised eyebrow, and his brows shot straight up. “No one looks me in the eye and talks to me like that,” he rumbled with a hint of amusement. Is there somewhere else I’m supposed to look? I smirked, and he laughed. “You. You are trouble.” Me? No. I’m sweet as pie. Welcome to the South. Some time after the event, he sat down across from me and said, “You are part of the 1%. You are a little lion. I would have broken the world for a girl like you once. Maybe in some other life…” We shared half-smiles- the ones you give when you know there’s a road you will never go down. Why you always gotta break shit? I poked, half-heartedly and ready to disengage. “See? That’s why, right there. That’s why someone will break the world for you. Because you won’t ask them to.”
Just before D, I had a friend who would ruck around urban areas with me after work. He was empathetic and gentle to a fault, always asking how he could help knowing I would try not to let him. He became very adept at helping me anyway, without my knowledge or consent, and just smile through a fake apology later if I got cranky. For someone who felt that I was wise and knowledgeable, for someone who tried very hard not to rock my boat, he had no fear of stepping on my toes when it came to calling me out for not accepting help. I don’t like asking for help, I griped once, over coffee. And I don’t like spreading my shit around for other people to deal with. I hate feeling like I can’t manage on my own. I’d rather take on someone else’s problems than give someone mine. “You know, that’s why one day, someone isn’t going to care at all how you feel about them helping you. They’re going to come help you because you need it, and there will be no expectation or accounting later. They’ll let you do what you wanna do, try to handle what you can handle, because you aren’t one to be treated like a princess. They’ll know when you’ve gone as far as you can go, and then they’re just going to do the rest. I hope I find someone like that, in my next life. Not a lot of strong women partners like you.”
Over and over and over, I kept hearing these men say I’d be great in another life and for someone else. At some point, I began to believe that it really would be another life before I found a life partner because I clearly wasn’t in the right place for this one. Maybe the extent of my partnering was simply to bring my kids into the world because they were necessary, and once that mission was complete, all that was left was to develop them into whoever and whatever they were supposed to be. Maybe that’s what I was waiting around to do- to launch three little super heroes. Maybe that’s why it was always just us in the house. If that was going to be the case, I could get down with that. Would just be nice to know, since in the meantime, all the heart cleansing business was leaving me regularly shattered.
And then there was D, and they were all right.
I have done all the work that has been asked of me as far as growing while in my waiting house. Truthfully, although it has been wretched at times, I have always known that there was some plan at work, and eventually, things would make sense if I just kept following the divine directions. Things would come together; I’d know what to do next with the skills and corrections I’d found. Recently, stars aligned such that it’s clear that it’s time to leave this house. Without any waiting at all, my waiting house sold on a timeline that all but kicked me out of it. We’ve outgrown it somehow, all of the sudden, and I get the feeling I don’t belong here anymore.
Now, when I day dream about my children coming to talk with me, it’s no longer just my children in the hallway. And it’s no longer just me they are asking. We’re no longer alone.
So, it appears that there is no more waiting to be done, and it is time for me to say goodbye to my waiting house. Most people feel emotional when they move because they brought their children home to that house. Built a family in that house. Had immovable pieces of their life in that house. But my goodbye is gentle- the last moment of being alone and in this house, waiting. Together, we have accomplished the mission that brought us together, and the necessary triumphs over certain trials are bits that, while having shaped what I am now able to do with my future, aren’t actively relevant anymore. What I needed from this place was always meant to lead me somewhere else.
I’m only waiting for D to get home now, at which point he will probably do what he tends to do after he gets settled from a long trip away- hold my face in his hands and look at me like I’m a winning lottery ticket. And then we will walk away from this place, together, where he found me on a similar fall evening some years ago, alone.
And what a lifetime we’re about to have.