The summer of 1987 I turned 18 and split the small town where my parents lived after attending 3 years of high school there. I had a jam-packed red mustang, my dorm room assignment and Welcome to KU packet, and a crumpled road map that I didn’t use until I realized I’d gotten on the interstate going south instead of north and ended up in El Dorado.
This past Saturday I got on the highway going the right direction, only this time it was to head away from Lawrence… in a 30 foot U-Haul PACKED with stuff…5 friends, 4 other vehicles, 2 cats, 1 child, and 1 fish. Everyone survived the trip; even the fish.
As I drove the truck toward the toll booth to get on I-70 heading west, I couldn’t help but be amazed at how bittersweet the past month had been. I was feeling grateful and even undeserving for the most wonderful July in Lawrence, where we attempted to enjoy every single social event possible, to see as many friends as we could, and somehow also managed to pack our stuff, plan a birthday party for Grace, and survive the record heat-wave.
The planets aligned and I was able to see almost everyone I wanted to see before leaving. The friends that I don’t deserve were there to help clean, pack, encourage, support, and listen. Even more mind-blowing to me was the fact that 5 of my top 10 favorite friends actually agreed to go along on this adventure in moving. I felt that Grace and I were carefully brought to Stafford, tucked in, and told a hopeful bedtime story that we are doing the right thing and that the connections that we made through the years in Lawrence are connections that will last despite the four-hour drive.
I’m really excited to see the house taking shape now… I had so much help that it’s farther along than I ever would have expected after just a few days. I already feel that I have my living areas and bedroom just as I want them, and my parents decorated Grace’s room prior to us arriving so she is also happily ensconced in her canopy Princess bed with pink walls, princesses, feathers, and a pink chandelier.
Tomorrow I have a job interview in Great Bend, which is about 40 minutes away. It’s the type of job that I have many years of past experience with, and that I really feel could be a good fit for me. Getting started in a new job at approximately the same time that Grace starts pre-school would be wonderful for both of us to get used to me working 5 days a week and establishing our evening and bedtime routines.
Regardless of how much unpacking gets done right away, and whether or not I get this particular job, an added benefit of moving away was the outpouring of help and hugs…it makes me appreciate even more the people that I became close to during the years. I’m hoping to use this opportunity to write more consistently here in this blog, and I’ll be posting lots of pics as well…there is something about looking through a camera lens that makes you see things differently and that is part of what this adventure is all about. I want to take a couple of years to look at things in a different way, to renew old friendships, and for Grace and I to spend more time with my parents.
I needed to get unstuck…for the past couple of years I have not worked, instead I went back to school to fulfill requirements to apply for nursing school. Alas, my GPA was just below requirements (the late ‘80s & early ‘90s haunt me still)and I didn’t get in to the school I wanted on my first attempt. I was living in a situation that some would call emotionally unhealthy, but we made the best of it and enjoyed the positive aspects of that as well. Becoming ill in 2005 and surviving a life-threatening illness made me aware of just how important my family of origin AND family of choice are to me. Perhaps it was because I was an only child, somehow I have ended up with more sisters than I can count, and a whole bevy of friends near and far. I began to see that life is a journey and I had choices, always, about how I was going to live that life, rather than waiting for things to “happen” to me.
Lately I have felt that I had had reached a plateau…no job offers despite lots of searching, months to wait to apply again for a nursing program and parents with health problems of their own that compelled me to get up and make a huge life move. That, and the fact that I feel that I owe lots of money… the cheaper rent/cost of living here will allow me to get caught up after the past couple of years. I would like to note, however, there is something about being in a small town that makes you want to drive to another town’s “Walmarts” and spend like crazy. I will resist that urge. From now on.
Perhaps getting a new perspective will help me sort out what is important to me, who I want to be involved in our lives, and how I can be the best mom I can be. Living here will put a minimum 30 minute drive on most work opportunities, spending opportunities, and opportunities to be involved in the fellowship that I have come to depend on so much. You win some, lose some…and other things you just have to work harder for. I’ll be doing that.