you can’t go home again

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I have no excuse NOT to write, so maybe that means it’s a good time. We’re having a snowstorm here in New England, my husband is out of town, the kids are fed and entertained and the house is warm and cozy. I’ve got music playing on Spotify (Jason Isbell is a new favorite, and I’m able to listen to all kinds of similar artists). I really hate winter and snow in general lately, but today I was prepared for the storm and it’s actually been a nice day. Just one of those days where the flow is good, the energy is positive despite the weather and cold and the fact that February is my least favorite month.

But February isn’t all bad- my third child was born this month, so it has some redeeming value. And I’m still dreaming of the time when I’ll be able to escape to a warmer climate for the dead of winter. I’m getting closer to being a snowbird, I just know it, but I’m not quite there yet. My time is coming…and when it does I’m going to enjoy every moment of it.

So many things have changed since my last post (July! where does the time go…). Β It bothers me that I left things here on such a low note. It was a crazy summer. We were uncertain about the future and stress is always hard on relationships. We had moved back to Maine (from Colorado) in the spring of 2015, and my husband had gone back to work for his old company. I’m not going to go into all the reasons why we came back, it’s all here in the blog somewhere, but let’s just say that there’s some truth to the idea that you can’t go home again.

Maybe some people can, but I’ve never been able to. Everything changes. The life I left in 2012 was not the life I returned to three years later. It’s a little disappointing but I’ve already worked through it- I suppose it was why I took such a long break from writing, because I just needed to sit quietly with myself for a while.

I’m on the other side now, made my peace with everything that has happened, looking forward to the future. My husband’s job became one of trying to save a failing company, and he gave it a year and then saw the writing on the wall and prepared an exit plan. His old company (in Colorado) was happy to take him back, and he negotiated an awesome position that allows him to work remotely and offered him growth, flexibility, and new challenges. So, once again, it seems like things happen for a reason.

We moved to a beach house on the New Hampshire seacoast for the winter to give us some time to figure out the next step. It’s falling into place now, but it’s taken a few months and a willingness to go with the flow. Scott has to be in NYC a lot, so we will probably move closer when our lease is up here in June. I made myself crazy for a while thinking of all the options and possibilities, but I think we’ve settled on a plan for the future and I feel good about it.

So that’s our life for now. It’s a good life. We are comfortable financially, my big kids are busy making me proud of the people they’ve become, my younger two are a whole lot easier and generally fun to be around. We live close enough to hear the ocean, to walk the beach every day if we choose, and that is something I don’t take for granted. I stay busy facilitating the boys’ learning, the myriad activities that keep them growing and healthy.

Jesse has been in Brazilian jiu jitsu for over a year, in a class of adults. He loves it and I love the effect it has on him. He surfs- it was actually why we moved here this winter. Nick loves to ride his scooter, and we go regularly to our local indoor skate park. They like bouldering (indoor rock climbing that doesn’t require harnesses). We’ve started going to the homeschool session at a trampoline park, which they enjoy but Jesse always manages to hurt himself. Β Mostly anything to get through this long cold winter. The one thing we haven’t done yet is snowboarding, mostly because I’m apathetic about it but also because we have so many other activities that it seems hard to fit in. Maybe next winter.

Although we’re still very relaxed homeschoolers, I do make sure that Jesse has some structure now that he is high school age. He does a mix of online learning (New Hampshire has a nice virtual school that allows free access to classes for homeschoolers) and curriculum that I’ve picked out for him. He wants to make sure that he is keeping up with his schooled peers, and I respect that. My guiding philosophy as a homeschool parent is to do what is best for my child, and I have to say that I am loving this stage of the journey. Being able to share things with them, to celebrate their independence and passions, to have discussions on a deeper level, to sit and smile as Jesse kicks my butt at a game and easily calculates his score while I’m still hunting for my glasses… it’s a sweet reward for all those early years, the mess and tears and needs and nurturing that nearly emptied me out.

It’s a still night, heavy with a blanket of snow and the hush that a storm brings. I say that I hate winter, but I am reminded of its power to strip things bare, to leave only the essentials, to cleanse and renew as the earth sleeps and prepares for new growth. It’s a fitting metaphor for my mood on this February evening.

18 thoughts on “you can’t go home again

  1. So good to hear from you again! My third child was born in February, too. I remember specifically wanting a February baby because it’s my least favorite month.

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    • Happy birth month to your child πŸ™‚ My son Jesse will be 15 on the 24th. Seems like ages and ages ago when I had him… his birth was actually my most calm and peaceful one but our life got really crazy after that, and only now are we getting back to what I think of as normal.
      Someday i will spend at least the month of February in a warm place, maybe the entire winter but if nothing else just that one month. The older I get, the less I like snow. If I recall correctly you are in a cold climate too so you know what I’m talking about.

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      • Yes, we usually have a very cold and cloudy February here in Michigan. This year, however, we’ve had abundant sunshine and temperatures are expected to be in the mid- to upper-50’s for almost a week.

        I may have another February baby, too. I’m due in just one week with Baby #6, our second boy to complete our family. We’ve had an interesting journey with him already (details on our blog if you want to check it out). Because of our decision to have one last baby, our plans to take a year of travel have been put on hold for a bit. πŸ™‚

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      • I just read your blog. Wow. I was very moved by your story and realized you are ready to give birth any day now. Congratulations on the new baby you’re preparing to welcome into the world. I will be thinking of you and praying for the very best possible outcome. I wish we *knew* each other in real life and could offer some tangible help, but it sounds like you have a loving and supportive community so that is a blessing. I am with you in spirit and look forward to reading updates on Owen’s birth.

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    • Well it helps that I like change. Although I’m also a little tired of moving. I’ve been really struggling with whether or not we should settle down enough to buy a house again, but after months of discussions and weighing pros and cons we’ve decided to continue renting while living somewhere that will be good for my husband’s career but isn’t necessarily a place that we see ourselves living long term (greater NYC area).
      So I’ve made my peace with another move, and now I’m looking forward to a new adventure. We don’t have strong extended family ties, so that makes a difference too. And our older two are pretty adventurous themselves and like to travel so it just seems like that’s the kind of family we are.

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  2. My youngest is a Februar child too – as am I. πŸ™‚ So there are definitely good things happening in February, although I have to say we also have had our share of sad things happening in this month (some years ago). – It is good to see you back! I absolutely share your feeling how nice it is to be around your kids when they are a bit older. I love talking to my big boy too, and still love to explain the world to Little One (who is also not so little any more! time flies). Here in the Netherlands, winter is not as harsh, but it has been colder than previous years. But yesterday I saw the first crocuses peeking out! And a small yellow flower I do not know the name of was already blooming. – So, spring will come! Not today, not tomorrow, but one day soon. πŸ™‚

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    • Because we moved away for a few years, to a place with a vastly different climate, I had forgotten how long and dreary and dark the New England winters can be. Our first winter back (last year) was very mild, this one is more typical. I know that no place is perfect, everywhere has its pros and cons. Summer and fall are lovely here, winter and spring, not so much.
      Happy birthday to you and your son also πŸ™‚ At least I think it’s a son…

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      • Thank you (and yes, it is a boy!)! – Funnily enough, after I wrote the thing about the crocuses, we had snow for the first time this winter! It was kind of perfect – just Saturday and Sunday, so that everyone could enjoy it without the typical problems of snow in this country: Dutch traffic breaking down if one single snow flake touches the ground … After years of living here, it is still a mystery how come the Dutch are so crazy about going skiing, but do not feel able to cope with a little snow on the street. πŸ˜‰
        Anyway, yesterday and today are sunny, getting milder, and they promise is spring-like temperatures for tomorrow …. πŸ™‚

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      • I wouldn’t mind living somewhere with a milder climate, but I know there are positives and negatives to any place. We have had a snowy and cold few weeks, but I think the worst of it is over. My boys have started snowboarding and they love it so that will help.

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  3. So good to hear from you! I think of you from time to time wondering how you are, but also trusted you were alright, and would hear from you again in time. I completely understand the need to sit by yourself in the quiet for a while. Sometimes the processing simply needs to be done in the dark.

    I’ve been reading a book I think you’d like and really relate to. It’s called The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison. It’s a memoir about mothering (she writes during her two sons’ teenage years and moving into the empty nest phase), moving for various reasons, and middle age. She reminds me a lot of you actually. She is thoughtful, wise, and I enjoy her writing style. It might be a good read to help finish out the winter.

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    • I needed to focus my energy on homeschooling and moving yet again and facing big changes in my husband’s work life and our plans for the future. Now everything is falling into place and we’re mostly just waiting for June, so I feel able to devote some time to blogging again.
      Thank you for the book recommendation. It’s weird for me because in some ways I feel like I should be in the empty nest phase, yet I’m not and won’t be for a while. But my boys need me much less so life is easier. Actually, I need a new hobby I think!

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    • Thanks! I know spring is coming. I just want it to be nice enough to get out for walks without freezing and worrying about falling on the ice. I’m a wimp when it comes to winter, I freely admit that. But mentally I do better when I am out and about enough. I like quiet indoor activities but need the balance or other things too, and I tend to shut down when winter really descends.

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