learning a place

hi.  it’s been a while.  that’s how it usually goes around here.  I will be sort of on track with life for a bit but then something will happen or I just get behind (on sleep or housework or something) and then I will be sort of absentee on this blog for a while.  or sometimes I write a blog post that leaves me feeling blah, sort of disenchanted with my life with the kids or myself as a writer then I get all pissed off and stop speaking with myself for a while.  or sometimes I start feeling like a big sham over here typing about my kids and myself as a parent but actually having no freaking clue what the freak I’m even doing.  then I feel like I just need to shut the crap up for a while.  but usually I find my way back when things simmer down a bit and if I find myself with a few minutes of free time in the morning when the kids are miraculously sleeping in for a spell (almost never happens).

even though it’s been so hard to leave our old house the truth is that it didn’t really start feeling like mine until very recently.  I fell in love with it the same way I fell in love with my spouse (perhaps the only way this hardened heart ever can love anything or anyone).  which is to say very slowly while simultaneously pushing it away and telling it I didn’t like it or need it.  there were many years when I told myself I hated that house.  I could only see it’s flaws: everything about it that I wanted to change or that wasn’t right.  it’s ironic now, looking back, that I fell so deeply in love with it pretty much right before we had to leave it.  this is what heartache feels like.

it’s been nearly three months since we moved and sometimes I still close my eyes and pretend I’m back in my old house, in my old living room, in my old life.  pathetic, I know.  but it’s hard when you’re somewhere that feels totally foreign and cold.  however, time is the great healer, after all, and eventually erases everything, every trace of hurt and every bit of us (so that’s comforting:).  I’ve finally begun, bit by bit, to open my heart (in that guarded way I have) to our new place, the same way I inched my way into loving our first house.  it’s called “learning a place”.  and it’s a labor of love.

it’s learning what’s causing that mildewy smell from under the sink that smells like our old camp Dearborn trailer from the 1950s: a leaky pipe that spills a pool of scuz onto the laminated cabinet bottom and just sits there getting browner until you sop it up.  it’s fighting a war with these goddamn vertical blinds until several are knocked off and torn and your whole window looks like a smile with missing teeth until you finally just agree to disagree and can finally live in splotchily-lighted peace.  it’s learning where to put your wet and muddy shoes (which around here, there’s just no stinkin shortage of) to dry (up on top of the window right beneath the ceiling which is where the only heat vent is located).  it’s figuring where to put your stuff, constantly reshuffling furniture and tables and lamps until one day you turn around and everything has just sort of settled and sunken into the carpeting as though affirming their identity once and for all and seeming from then on to be fixed structures, the landscape your life will now unfold against.  it’s resisting filling up that blank wall space you have to stare at while doing dishes (50 times a day) because “this is only temporary” until you finally can’t take it any more and hack up a bunch of magazine pictures to tape up in a colorful collage of cacophony (aka my style).  it’s sweeping the floor over and over and over until you learn just the right broom strokes to reach all the crumbs from under the cabinet lips, scrubbing the fallen food bits and dog prints from the tiles until they shine and seem to say “thanks, I needed that”.

caring for a place.  leaving your mark on it.  resolving and accepting your differences of opinion.  coming to know it, day in and day out.  getting on its nerves, it getting on yours.  yelling at it.  apologizing.  this is getting to know a place.  and this is the way love grows.  through labor.

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Author: Terry

Welcome! I am a Waldorf and unschooling-inspired homeschooling parent of three, ages 2, 4, and 7 living in the Lansing area of Michigan writing from the front lines of parenthood. Join me as I try to navigate homeschooling and bask in the craziness of life with young ones. Feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by!

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