For Christmas, the girls received cupcake necklaces from two different sets of family. The necklaces came in jewel boxes shaped like cupcakes. KK decided her case was like a compass; she promptly opened it up and began her own adventure game, the compass leading her who knows where.
As I sat New Year’s Eve night in my parents’ house, which was quiet after a family lasagna dinner, dimly lit from the twinkling Christmas tree, and offering me plenty of opportunity to reflect, I felt… for the first time in years… no sense of anticipation about the new year, other than it’s new. In fact, the “resolutions” I have for the new year involve things I hope to, pray to, plan to avoid:
– No moves
– No new business ventures*
– No weight gain**
*unless it comes with up-front, ample investors with signed cashiers’ checks
**Lord, please grant me the resolve to lose real weight and get healthier this year
There is nothing ‘on the horizon’ as I begin 2013… as I turn 36… as I head home from a warm, cozy (ok, cold and cozy) visit home. Sure… there are changes ahead. My job has gone from crazy-full-time-theatre-manager to part-time-church-media-event-person. Subsequently, we have removed KK from pre-school and I will be starting kindergarten with her at home. I will also be helping Josh & Kirsten plan their wedding for next December, and whether she likes it or not, helping Paige figure out her next chapter. And since Rod is going to be traveling just as much if not more for work, I will be settling our butts down, unpacking the rest of the boxes from our move in June, painting some walls, working on a year of, well, settling.
2012 was every bit as unsettling as 2011 was. I mean, we moved again. We put the girls in a strange new school again. We started new jobs again. We started a theatre…again… except this one actually opened. We welcomed our big kids back to us. We rolled with it. It’s what we do.
I expect it is what we continue to do. It’s not that we don’t have dreams. It’s just that, right now, our compass is lying dormant. There is no great unknown to explore. So I plan to more fully explore the territory around me… more time at the beach, more time connecting with the people around me, more time using what God has given us to make a difference in the world around us.
These days spent back in Chicagoland are always the basis of good reflection…deep questions with emotionally-charged answers. What have we missed? Does it still feel like home? Would we/could we ever move back?
It is always obvious what we have missed: businesses come and go. Kids grow. Families grow. Our home church barely resembles the place we left not two years ago. Our old street doesn’t feel familiar. Our old house… I’d rather not talk about.
To me, one who lived here more than 34 years… had her babies in the same hospital where she was born… once had her junior high guidance counselor show up at her garage sale… this will always feel like home. I will always know these streets and sink into the comfort of my mom’s couch or my friends’ kitchens or El Cortez/Aurelio’s/Hollywood Boulevard. But now I have another home, too… where I smell salt water and marsh daily and eat vinegar-seasoned pulled pork and venison my friends shot on their own land, where “Yes ma’am” comes as naturally as breathing and, on one Friday afternoon just a few weeks ago, I ran into 5…F-I-V-E… random people I knew!
On New Year’s Eve afternoon, I sat around a table with some of my closest friends (the biggest drag of moving away that visits never afford me enough time to see everyone I want to for as much time as I want to), sharing a few Deep Life Conversations and then, a teary goodbye. There are days I would just about cut a finger off to be near them again. It took me 30 years to cultivate the friendships I now have in Illinois. But I also know God moved us for a reason… and I do love the life we are slowly, with missteps and do-overs and plenty of laughs…making there.
There is no turning back. But there is looking back, as we move forward. The truth is, I am blessed to have a new home, with my husband of almost-10(!!!) years and our amazing family and a family of friends that continues to grow, and I am blessed to have a strong and steady circle that opens back up every time I send a text or come for a visit.
2013. May it be steady. May it be fruitful. May we be home.