I am in the midst of changing what feels like everything in my life right now. I knew it would be bumpy coming out of the pandemic since we moved. I knew that when everyone else went back to “normal” I would be looking to redefine that all over again. I have moved many time in my adult life. From my small city, to the big city, to a smaller city again, off to Tokyo, back home to the big city I loved. I married my husband and birthed both of my boys in my favorite city.
We built a wonderful community in that city. A whole bunch of us having and raising young children together. We had dinners, day long play dates and mom’s nights out to hold each other up through the toughest parts of becoming a mother. These were the woman that used the key they had to feed my cat to come into my home and give it a complete makeover while I tended to my dad and his second cancer diagnosis. The sort that leaves a person deciding between quantity and quality of life. That community held me together.
Simultaneously, my husband was struggling in a corporate job that was challenging his values and integrity. Sitting side by side in our freshly painted living room, overlooking an ocean view he announced he had to leave this job. I sobbed on the stairs leading off the covered porch where my boys were learning how to roller blade with the safety of artificial grass catching their falls. I loved this home we had been in for just under a year and I knew to support this change we would have to downsize. I also was coming to know that my dad did not have much time left.
In a series of serendipitous events, falling on my youngest sons third birthday, my husband was offered a job with the same company I worked for, my dad found a much more affordable home for us just four doors up from him and mom. In the course of a month we were packing up and leaving our cherished community to go and live out what would be my dad’s last month of life. The community sent us off with promises of visits, phone calls and continued connection. But that two hour stretch of highway made quick dinner dates, spontaneous play dates and mom’s nights out almost impossible. Here I was once again seeking new connections to build community around my family and myself while navigating the loss of the man who had been my champion for all of my years.
We settled in well, found others who were learning at home just like we were. Slowly, we built in day long play dates, family sleep overs and the sweetest collection of friendships we had ever had. My husband and I were both working from home, which had its ups and downs. Gram was just down the road which made little boys happy and allowed me to do as my father asked with his dying breath, “take care of your mother.” We were in the neighborhood I grew up in. Idyllic in the nature it provided us to loose ourselves in. Family near by for all the milestones and celebrations. We were even able to purchase the rental my dad had picked out for us. I was certain I was home forever.
It was December of 2009 when my stunned husband stumbled in the back door from his garage office. Red broom in one hand, I looked up and recognized something in his face, a look I’d seen before. My heart began to race before he could get the words out. There on the floor between us fell the story of a past co-worker mentioning his name to his boss at Apple. “They want to have a call with me.” My mental gymnastics kicked in to high gear as I assured myself that this was just a query not an offer and that there was no way my husband would take us all away from our perfect life to the wild unknown of a totally different country. Deeper down though, I knew this Apple fan could never turn down the chance to work for the company that had started his obsession with technology.
By Feb 23 2010 we were on a flight with six suits cases, a five year old, a seven year old and a whole lot of anxiety. I might write one day of what it took to move from a small city on Vancouver Island to the heart of the Silicon Valley, for the purpose of this I will say it is the most overwhelming transition I have ever been through. I am brilliant at making the best of wherever it is I find myself. And I had two precious sons looking at me for direction. And so I did what I knew how to do and hustled to make their world as wonderful as it was possible to do. With planned trips back home, seasons tickets to hockey games and countless adventures we cobbled together a life that was filled with as much joy as we could muster. I cannot say we found a community that held us anything like the first two we had built for ourselves. I can say, that we did our best to visit as many people who loved us as we could to fill those buckets for the times when we were missing our homeland.
Fast forward to 2020 locked in a house in an overcrowded city during a pandemic and we were once again questioning our surroundings. It was our oldest who asked why we continued to live somewhere we did not like if no one was leaving the house to go to work. By Aug 21st we had an accepted offer on a house we all adored and had never dreamed we could live in. Oct. 15th had us pulling into the driveway of what my oldest deemed our forever home. This is where I sit now, writing this piece from. It is gorgeous. The natures is rich and abundant. The neighbors are greater than any I have had in my past homes. And still I find myself without a ground beneath my feet. Questioning if I have run out of the energy needed to rebuild a life in a whole new place all over again.
It is likely true that it is the returning to “normal’ that I have to let go of. Because the world isn’t what it was in any of the homes I lived before. My husband is only home part time, my oldest is perched to launch out of the nest and my hormones are doing a dance that I just can’t seem to get a hold of. I find myself as I always have, putting my fingers to the keys in hopes that I might be able to write my way toward some sort of understanding of what this new chapter in my life might wish to teach me. I know I will grow and that time will march me forward. I also know that writing it where I come to understand both myself and the world around me better. And so with a giant exhale, I blow the dust off my little piece of the internet and begin again.