It’s taken me much longer than usual to get settled into this house (unpacked, furniture arranged, decorations up, etc). Usually that’s a three-to-five day job. It’s just such a relief to get everything out of boxes and to know where it’s all at! Turns out, it’s harder and takes longer when someone else packs and moves your stuff for you. (Not to mention, that was an incredibly awkward experience, standing around while other people did all the work. Nope, nope, nope. I never want to do that again.) But one way or another, a month after we moved into this house, everything is unpacked and put where it belongs (at least temporarily). The house is decorated for Halloween with our sadly-tiny-collection – flooding during the thaw in Boston a couple years ago ruined most of what we had, including Death – and I generally know where most things are. The rest is just tweaking.
Beyond the house, there isn’t much settling in to be done. We live very close to where we used to live before all the moves, so all the routes through the city are old ones. I’m back to the library branch that is like my second home, and I’m close to the hilly trails that I first learned to run on. I’ve got appointments set up with my old doctors and I’ve seen my old chiropractor. I’ve visited old familiar stores and new ones that have popped up since I was gone. I’m in the process of getting out to see friends and family. The boys are enjoying their schools and being back with friends, so that transition has gone really well.
This past Thursday, I hosted a gathering of writer-friends to talk about getting our weekly write-in together again. It struck me afterwards, just how good it feels to be in a community of people you care about and who care about you. I’m home. It’s not a perfect home of course – what home is? – but I’m home. And it’s such a relief to feel that way again. I haven’t felt that in way too long, and I want to do everything I can to keep ties to my community even when stress, depression, or other brain-stunts try to hamper me.
There is another really good thing to report in all this. The last couple years have felt like being in a pinball machine, as if someone hit a button, shot us off, and we just bounced and bounced until we finally landed safe again. This is apparently the safe. There is no jarring homesick for a home that is just out of reach. I haven’t cried about this house because it’s not the old house. I haven’t accidentally driven into my old neighborhood on the way home, and even when I’ve passed that neighborhood, it feels like the past rather than the current. This is the second time in my life that I’ve been in a pinball machine – the first being the era of three-pregnancies-in-four-years with almost no recovery time between them – and I have a definitely feeling of “settled” that I recognize. This is it, folks. Home for the long haul. Thank goodness.