“I think it’d be best if I knocked down the wall before you get home.” Dennis tends to be right about these things, so I skipped to the part where I agreed, saving us both an awkward phone argument.
I got home 1000 miles and a few days later.
And indeed it was: Mr. Leskowski, with the Sledgehammer, in the Kitchen.
It wasn’t the fairy tale scene I’d imagined 365 days prior when we’d embarked on our Florida adventure.
Instead of unpacking for the last time ever, we were stopping through in a house we’d never pictured ourselves in, expecting a few more moves in our near future and staring at another major (albeit, self-inflicted) construction project. Drywall debris covered the counters where “kitchen” boxes might have otherwise landed. Floors were littered with ladders, nails and drills. The boys of the fam had been home days ahead of the girls, which I blame for the odd placement of wrappers anywhere but the trash, the untouched bag of vitamins and toothpaste, and a fridge containing milk. Just milk.
No criticism to my husband. He’d made a solo cross-country trip with Thing 1 and Thing 2 only to turn around and make the same cross-country trip for a second time in a week. He’d successfully prepared and packed the boys for 3 days at friends’ houses, including a slew of camp/vbs/swim lessons. (Yes, I admitedly got lost in This Summer).
The packed boxes mocked me. Not only where could anything be put. but when? The two year old had to sign a waiver to set foot in the house. Hazards threatened her every move. Unpacking would be limited to naps and bedtime.
I’d wanted this to be a simple move. A normal move. A Two Men & a Truck kind of move on a One Mom & a Minivan kind of budget. I wanted to unpack the kitchen first, per uzhe. Instead, I was meal planning with whatever could be cooked in the floor microwave (chicken nuggets, chicken nuggets and more chicken nuggets). That’s still a functioning kitchen, right?
I’d hoped to bring back the best of the past year, to be focused and intentional. Not get caught up in the scurry, flurry and hurry.
Going back wasn’t quite what I’d envisioned. (I know, it never is.)
Plans and priorities evolved. People changed (or left). Life went on without me. New things sprouted and old things passed. Main characters shifted.
This kind of change throws me for a loop. Okay, most kinds of change throw me for a loop. I’m the type who needs time to get used to new ideas. I’m resistant in the moment, but typically come around.
Returning home not just as Changed Me, but to changed plans, changed people and a changed story is hard to warm up to. It’s hard to accept. It’s hard to embrace.
But, none of this ruins the story. I can resist the changes, bemoan them, resent them. Or I can embrace the developments and dig into the narrative. There is much more to the story than once upon a time and happily ever after.
The curtain has closed on Act One. Intermission was fueling, restful and recharged me for what comes next. I’m heading into the second act, not knowing what it holds. But, I am awakened to the story and as a VIP of my own life, I can be involved in the script. My role is more than simply reacting to what happens. Out of the audience; ready to participate. Awakened to direct and live out Act Two.