Chris took a business trip to San Antonio the week before we had scheduled ourselves to depart for New Hampshire, and that event signaled the close of what felt like our neverending vacation in Maine. He came home from the airport, we celebrated his birthday with friends, then Dad packed up his big red truck and headed out, the first to leave. Chris and I moved into winding-down mode and with that came all of the reflective thoughts that leaving our Maine life seems to bring out in us. I made lists for what had to leave, what could stay, and began the first of what must have been 25 different loads of laundry.The kids carried on as they always do, maybe whining a little bit more because we were preoccupied with packing Quinn would say, "1st we're going to New Hampshire, then we're going home to TEXAS!". He always says Texas in capital letters.
Chris and I have a long history of taking our coffee together in the morning. It gives us a half hour or so to come together before the day gets away from us. We just chat and fix our ideas of what we need or hope to do in the day. The children now understand that coffee time is our time, Mom & Dad time that we take every day. Because we've been so firm about this, they only interrupt us every 3 minutes, which is quite generous as their normal Interrupting Mom & Dad setting is notched at 45 seconds. It is quite peaceful, you can really get a lot of words strung together in an extra 2 minutes of kid-free silence. I know, we're the envy of parents everywhere. What can I say? We are paragons of parental discipline.
When we chat in Maine, we are usually talking about what we love about Maine, and about the house that we built there. I am often talking about how nourished I feel stepping out my front door into nature, being around tall trees, wild meadows and the easy beauty of ocean views around every turn. Chris is often talking about....well, wait. I think Chris is mostly nodding along. I'm also talking about the dozens of small seredipitous events that led to the Maine house becoming what it is, something that so clearly has become greater than the sum of its parts. It is a house with a clear and inviting energy, sitting on a piece of remarkable land that has been appreciated and used by men and women, native and european, for many thousands of years. I relax completely when I'm there, and so does Chris.
We are also talking about what we love about our lives in Texas. Our dear friends there, the home that we've made in the house we live in, being near my mother-in-law, and the way that you can pretty much always find something to do outside the house. 9 times out of 10 it involves visiting some form of retail establishment, but if you've ever lived through a Texas August or a New England February, you do not knock anything that keeps you from being stuck indoors with your children for weeks on end, even if it's a trip to Target.
We don't really know which way we're headed at the moment. We know when Chris is returning to Texas, but we do not have a date for the boys and I. We know we want to put the Texas house on the market, but we do not have a firm timeline. We know that Chris has been approached about a new job focused 50% on the Northeast, and the rest on the east coast, but we don't have a timeline for that, either. We do not know when we will see our Maine house again, or who will be living in it this winter.
So, we're in limbo, in New Hampshire. But
If you also don't live here any longer, maybe you have also forgotten that wherever you go, leaves are falling. They're twirling above you, 20' above the ground, 10' above the ground, across the ground, in whirling dervishes on the sidewalk. The drop in front of you and behind you when you walk, hit you on the head, and make surprisingly loud noises as they clatter down branches in an otherwise quiet forest. Squirrels sound like small bears when they run across the crunchy leaves, more than once my heart rate has spiked thinking I wasn't alone in the woods. [Sidenote - if I ever find the devil that produced that beeping Sasquatch audio book I watched 14 times in the first grade, I'm going to tie him to Peter Benchley, throw them in my father's root cellar with a cask of red wine and brick them both in.]
Rain, rain, go away. Dad and I are going to take the boys off to run some errands, and let Chris work upstairs in peace. I am happily knitting away on a pair of stranded mittens called Fiddleheads. The forest floors are covered in ferns here in New Hampshire, so I thought they were an apt choice.