Wide, gaping unknown

The grandparents have arrived. And once again they have saved us. The first night they were here they piled high the kitchen table with laundry and began to fold. It took nearly a day but, then, all of our clothes were tucked into drawers, hung in closets and we could see the laundry room table for the first time in a long while.

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We’ve been home from the East coast for just two weeks during which I started a new job. I’m a tangled mess trying to figure out a new schedule (a schedule at all), wondering how long this will last and if I’m scarring my kids forever by going back to work, again.

We moved a lot when I was a kid. I went to four elementary schools, a different middle school then high school in another new town. I had a lot of first days and I spent a lot of time figuring out the landscape of new situations. I feel now like I did then. A little lost, brave smile, trying to get between an awkward beginning to the place where no one notices you’re new anymore. And in that I’m trying to figure out if it balances out financially and emotionally to stay. When I was little I had to make the best of it. As a grown up, I have a choice. And I have to keep reminding myself of that. And that this is the hard part.

So it is into this nebulous transition and belly button staring the grandparents landed. They have made us dinner every night, shopped for food and taken the kids kayaking. They returned from Costco Sunday with a family-sized inflatable swimming pool and our two little girls couldn’t be happier about it sitting in the back yard, by the garden that’s starting to produce a handful of ripe strawberries every day.

I remember when we had babies and snuggled them in warm sheets under the low hum of the window air conditioner in our upstairs bedroom. When they were brand new we wrapped them tightly and pulled thin hats toward their ears trying to keep them warm in the only cool room in the house. We’d sleep there, rumble overhead, cool air filling our room. Those afternoon naps were stolen moments of refuge in an otherwise chaotic, yet deeply sweet, time. I can remember going to our room on the brink of tears from a double shot of exhaustion and hormones then coming downstairs later, renewed.

I feel a little like that these days. Exhausted from worry and my seemingly insatiable need to over-analyze everything in my life and the subtle shift of change that leaves me feeling as though I’ll always be standing at the edge of a wide gaping unknown. Logically, I know it’s not true. Emotionally, I’m a little harder to convince.

But in these moments I am tethered to my good life by five-year-old feet in my lap as I type this, grandparents who make us pork chops and a fledgling, yet ever growing sense that no matter what it will all be okay.