Maya Angelou said it best, ‘The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.’
And boy, do I just want to go home!
As you guys have read (and patiently listened to my constant complaining), it’s been a rough couple of months. In my darker moments, I cast the net even wider, back to May and the difficult birth, followed by a crazy summer adjusting to life with a newborn, and then adjusting to a new normal when Mat went back to school in September. However, most of that was palatable and to be expected from the first months with a new baby. So then, to tone down the drama a notch, it’s more practical to say that it’s just been extra rough after the fire which brought ripple effects that have made life more challenging.
It’s been two and a half months that we’ve been displaced, which doesn’t seem like that long, but oh, how it has felt like an eternity. After spending the first 30 days bouncing around several times in search of a suitable indefinitely-temporary arrangement, we landed in our current apartment. It’s a furnished half-basement that I would describe as “OK”. It has two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen (with a dishwasher! = unanticipated bonus), living room. There are more windows than the first apartment we found - that is to say, there are windows. (That first spot was legit a full-on basement.) The walls are a kind of depressing shade of taupe, though, and while there is sunlight, it’s still quite cave-like in 50% of the place all day long. Of course, these are features of which I am particularly aware because I’m at home full-time with the baby right now.
Though, this apartment’s most egregious offense is simply that it isn’t our home. Sure, interior design is a bit of an obsessive hobby for me, but it’s rooted in this acute sensitivity to my surroundings. I’m so supremely affected by the feel of a place - especially my home. And as a result, the weight of being displaced is bearing heavier on me than maybe the average person (my husband, for example…). Though, as mentioned before, being on maternity leave has also made me more susceptible to this side-effect.
Aesthetic issues aside, the practical consequences of not being at home for nearly three months are probably the most tiresome. All of our things are still in storage after being cleaned/detoxified. We do have “access” to them when we need something. But it’s not like running to grab that piece of paper from a month ago where you wrote that note about the thing you needed to do that had a password. Or, say you get a job and they are requiring certain paperwork that you keep in a file folder that was once underneath your bed but is now in a box somewhere in a storage facility put there by a stranger while you weren’t even home to watch them pack your stuff. Instead, when we need something, we have to make a list and then these people will go through the boxes of stuff and fish for things. Though it’s less organized than you’d think and there are several things we haven’t been able to find and have thus needed to repurchase and hope to be reimbursed for by the insurer.
That pretty well sums up our reality for the last few months; inconveniences of which, when added onto Mat’s incredibly taxing school schedule and the equally taxing lifestyle change of caring for a baby, make for a pretty emotionally charged chapter of our life.
But, wait, there’s more!
Last Fall I decided to start browsing the job market while it was still early enough to not feel too much pressure (my maternity leave ends this April) and I came across a posting for a 6-month sabbatical replacement for the secretary at the English elementary school. Initially, I saw the temporariness as a good thing, since it’s not exactly a step forward on my career path, but it could be a foot in the door with the school board and also the local anglophone community at large. I decided to apply and, despite a surprisingly difficult skills test that I didn’t feel all that confident about afterward, was offered the job, which begins toward the end of this month.
WELL. Despite the obvious emotional repercussions of returning to work earlier than planned and having to leave Benji to a daycare at 8 months old, there’s the question of FINDING a daycare - and not just a suitable one, but one at all - in the oversaturated system about which I could go into detail but will save for another time because, for real, you don’t even want to know.
Instead of continuing on this path of complaining, I’ll take a moment to note some New Year’s resolutions I thought might be fun to post, if only to remember that I made them and not for actually accomplishing. In a blog I follow, they posted a way to do it by categorizing them into doing “less” and “more” of something, rather than creating concrete goals that will ultimately go unattained.
In 2019, I would like to do More:
Reading (book a month? Maybe too ambitious…)
Healthy eating + drinking water
Couple-time with Mat
Cooking even when Mat isn’t around
Spending time outside
I’d like to do Less:
Following US politics (so depressing!)
Complaining about how the fire made our life suck
Stressing about motherhood
Worrying if I did the right thing by taking a 6-month job instead of waiting for something more permanent
Those feel reasonable! Yes, it’s all about the feeling.
And a Happy New Year to you, family and friends.