There's so much to cover, I'm not entirely sure where to start. I've decided that in honor of my grandmother I'm going to try to post everyday for a while, even if it's just a picture and a few words. I haven't had reliable access to the internet, not to mention the amount of running around and doing that's been happening… I've barely had time, really. Part of it, too, is that it's hard to get back up to speed after you've taken a break. I think writing is a lot like an exercise in that way- it develops like muscle and the return to it can feel uncomfortable and awkward. Anyway, here I am, sitting in the perfect sunshiny late morning and it just seems right. I feel so much better when I'm writing regularly. Although, I do think this "unplugged" time over the past couple of months has been really clarifying for me. I have a big need to stay present and not to zone or numb my experience right now. So I'm going to try to engage here without compromising that.
While my family experienced the loss of one family member, we very quickly (2 days later, in fact) welcomed a new one. Meet Malcolm, my perfect new nephew.
Sweet Malcolm, in addition to smelling like heaven and making my ovaries hurt a little, has been a good catalyst for a renewed connection with my lovely sister. The kids are all thrilled. It's good.
There's nothing like a new baby to make you look at the older kids in a new what-the-heck-happened-your-head-is-huge kind of way. Our babies, not babies. Family lately has felt thick and nourishing. It makes me smile to think about holding each other close through the winter.
The other big thing to happen was the sale of our house and moving. It is finished, and it went really smoothly- er, as smoothly as a thing like this could go. It was very strange to pack up and leave our house and neighborhood, but also really okay because we had been planning and preparing and talking about it for so long.
Moving really got us to purge and organize everything. I still think we could have less stuff, but basically our whole house and Jeff's workshop fit into a 10×15 storage unit. We are settled at Jeff's dad's house in the basement with just our clothes and a few extras. In the purging/organizing frenzy I went through all our old paperwork. I went through all these old notebooks and took lots of time daydreaming and remembering. Stuff like… Jeff's philosophy notes brought me back to our early days bonding and debating and pondering the ultimate questions.
I found a note that I think was from late 2009, called "Our 4 year plan". Based on what I could infer from what we wrote, I think I was newly pregnant with Asa and had just postponed my plan to go to massage school. Anyway, Jeff had one side of the page and I had the other, and we both wrote our goals down for each year. It was amazing to me because I totally forgot that we had actually formulated our thoughts on such things, but there it was on paper in front of me. What struck me was how intangible our goals were- building community, learning more about our passions, etc. But we also had a couple of concrete goals- like finding land and selling the house. I knew we wanted to find a little land in the city to farm up, but I didn't remember that we thought about relocating. Anyway, reading this flooded me with relief. This was us, before so much. We weren't farming, we weren't starting businesses, we weren't attempting communal life and turning our little city plot into a zoo, we weren't changing jobs and taking on far too much yet.
In so many ways I feel like we failed. I mean, I have the most generous view of these failures, because I believe firmly in the "if you don't make mistakes you aren't trying anything new" sort of thing. But man, here we are with a lot of new knowledge and muscle. I know we have grown and achieved. I've been working to grok all of this in spite of the fact that so little of what we worked so hard to build is left standing. Even more bizarre is that we are back in that old basement room that we shared 10 years ago, before we started much of anything. And so I came across this list and it just made me realize that, despite all the varying details, Jeff and I really achieved our goals. Even the big one (nevermind that I didn't actually remember that it was a goal…) of selling the house and buying land was accomplished. I stand on the other side now and, without even realizing, I find that I've been exactly true to my ideals and my mission. Phew.