I think I have sufficiently reached the stage of “crotchety”. I was set in my ways before my time. I spent much of my life figuring out my place and what and who is healthy for me. And in those things, I hope I will never be quite done. But, I also know what I am, what I’m about…and that I am going to tape Posties on my desk that say “DON’T TOUCH!”
Last Friday as I weighed my options for getting away by myself, I realized I was both forcing the scenario of making time alone, and toying with Mother Nature’s vindictive fury. I’d never seen so many 100%’s on the forecast that far out before. And they were all for rain. I can be a glutton for punishment at times, but two nights being eaten by earwigs crawling up out of the water is really not my deal. Anymore. So, I bent a little.
I have come to love Michigan in our last decade-plus here. There is a beauty to this region of the states that I would not want to trade. But the fact remains that we do not have family here. That has always been missing. And I think, ‘but has it, really?’ I’m not sure. It has been a long process of weighing my own present familial privacy against having twenty people up our rears around the clock. Am I too old to feel that way? Probably…but that’s where ‘crotchety’ enters the picture. Again.
Once upon a time, for the sake of marital fortitude and allegiance, we relocated. A whole second time. Me, my wife and child. The first relocation had been my doing, after all, to live and go to school near the non-parental portions of my family in Chicago. This second move, here. It was not by my choice. Or even aligned with it. In any way. But I thought, it never really has been. And I’ve always been okay. More or less. That I would be okay again.
I was just a toddler when we were first uprooted from the only home I’d known to grow up in Massachusetts. To make a new home there. When we were teenagers, we moved again to Gaithersburg. And I had to make a home there, too. Most of the family I loved so dearly had long been in Chicago. So, some years on, I took a shot, and moved my new family halfway across the country. To make a home. I felt, then, I finally had. And, I loved it. But by a last turn of the cards, that last move, here I sit. Home. Yet again. But also…not really.
What am I getting at. I’m not really sure. I bent last weekend to give myself and my girls some time in Chicago with our family we have not seen since my brother’s service. And I missed my old friends. It far outweighed my need to be alone. I can not reasonably take time for solitude and concurrently bemoan the lack of family in our lives. I’m glad I made the right choice.
I’m not sure I ever would have left my family had the road not diverged the way it did. And I’m also not sure I could sacrifice doing things my own way in my own skin for the sake of being near them now. I do know that we are led where we are supposed to be regardless. I will always miss the old days. I miss so much. But, I have built a home here. Again. I’ve absorbed it all quietly. Over these years. It’s here, I found who I was. And who I wasn’t. I have hurt and healed here. I had my second child while here. Took care of my father here. I have lost loved ones while here. Navigated a divorce here. New friends and new interests. New challenges. I augmented my education and tested my own limits here. Here I found the work I was meant to do and the impact I was meant to leave. I have failed and succeeded here. I have explored my life here. I have grown here. This is the home my kids will remember. Until they make a new one elsewhere. Whether by choice, or an unexpected turn of the cards. Even for love.
We are led where we are supposed to be. And even if we aren’t, we can still allow ourselves to believe it. And make the best. In the interest of the greater good.