Thursday, May 28, 2015

Learning to Live (Here) Again

I've told several people that I'm finally feeling a *small* sense of normalcy. It's like a taste of what life could be like not in a state of emotional overwhelm. I'll probably write more about it, but coming home has been so much more difficult than I thought. Some of that is circumstances totally unrelated to the move, some of that is "reverse culture shock", and some of it is deeply missing a place I loved more than I even knew.

But some of it was just living in a chaotic state for a month. Over the last week, I've had the energy and desire to finally put back into place some good habits and to ease us back into a routine, even as I try to pour many of my energies into purging and consolidating and finding spots for displaced items. Doing this has brought its own sense of peace.

I've gone to the grocery store a couple of times and I've marveled at the ease of it all. Urban living was never truly easy for me and I knew in this season, with small children, being here is going to help me maintain my sanity. I found my CDs in a box and I moved them into my car and I remembered the simple joy of turning up the music every time I got in my car.

I cooked dinner last night and I'm thinking I may actually cook a meal again tonight. This is a really good post about how to make times of stress less stressful and heck, you don't have to tell me twice to just make sandwiches for dinner until I can keep my head above water for more than two minutes. So I feel like the preparing of some lame creamy chicken casserole with like five ingredients and the cooking of exactly two vegetables meant something about my mental state.

There have been a handful of things I've been so anxious about finding as we unboxed things and they didn't seem to appear. I've found most everything I was worried about and the few things I haven't are things that have been lost since before the move and are relatively easily to replace.

I'm also making peace with the fact that the house isn't likely going to look just how I want it to until like the end of Summer (or like ever). This is difficult because when we moved to Brooklyn, we set up everything immediately and got to work just living. Here we're trying to sort through things and do major purging in a way that's wise, we got new floors put in, we switched rooms with the kids, and we just have more space to work with (clearly). I've come to terms that it's going to be a process and it's going to be a messy one. I can't put my life on pause completely and now that the house is mostly functional we're just going to have to do what we can as we can without sacrificing really important things like playing with the children and getting together with people we love.

Speaking of, we've seen almost all our close friends by now and despite having SO much left undone with the house, we spent huge chunks of Memorial Day weekend with our families. We have so much history here and so much of that is relational. That's been by far the most important thing about coming home and I'm determined to give people priority in our life.

Routine and ritual are huge for me and I don't know why I didn't realize HOW much of the pain and fear and grief I was feeling upon our return had to do with just being totally distanced from those things. I picked my two favorite devotional books (pictured above) for the first time in nearly a month and when I read them a calm washed over me. It was just what I needed to hear and I was so reassured.

We're also back to having a mandatory rest time for the kids on most days. The first day, Graves really struggled. Let me tell you, reprogramming your super attached second child after a month being not being unconnected from at least one family member is actually Hell. But we did it and we're gradually readjusting. It's getting better every day. I'm also forcing myself to use that time FOR myself. At least for right now, I'm not using it to work on the house or anything that's not beneficial for helping me maintain an inner sense of calm.

I finally got all our pictures uploaded and organized and I hope this post will be the one that marks a true return to blogging. I've missed it probably more than I even know and it's definitely one of the most important ways I process things. I'm going to catch up on a month of Weekly Happenings posts and then in June probably get back to normal blogging (and write both of kids' last two monthly letters). I'm also getting back into my routine of reading blogs and I'm planning to start listening to a few podcasts weekly.

I'm brave enough now to think about my goals and while a lot of those for the near future have to do with just organizing and reestablishing our lives here, there are other things I'm dipping my toes into. I'm planning to make a Summer Reading List for myself and possibly for the kids and I've already set up a weekly time to walk with a friend. We're going to plan specific times to go teach the kids to swim and I'm really looking forward to hopefully lots of time at the pool (which was one of our incentives to spend Summer here rather than one more in Brooklyn).

I'm learning more and more who my safe people are. Not that most people aren't helpful and encouraging, but I'm learning who I truly feel comfortable sharing ANYTHING with (and often it's not who I'd expect at first) and maybe for the first time, I'm really drawing boundaries and protecting them better.

It feels really good to be at a place of peace and contentment. I'm ready to start living life again. Just in time for a beautiful (if not excruciatingly, painfully hot) Mississippi Summer!

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