Excitement, heartache, optimism, angst: just a few of the complicated feelings that have been rattling around inside me for several weeks now.
You see, my husband and I have made a huge, life-changing decision for our family.
We’re going home.
After five wonderful years in North Carolina, we’ve decided to return to our roots in Ohio. The call of family and friends and the place that’s always felt right finally became too loud to ignore. Our decision was not easy by any stretch and, although it seems like the safe choice, in reality it’s been far from it.
When you consider the great weather and natural beauty of our town, how much we love our house and neighborhood and, of course, the fact that we have our second child coming around the first of December, this course of action seems nothing short of insane.
And, unfortunately, insanity is what we’ve encountered so far.
I intended to write about what motivated our decision and how powerful a thing it is to return home, but I’ve been too stressed and exhausted and on the verge of a nervous breakdown to be able to focus on those things. Of course, if I could get myself to focus on those things, I’d certainly be dealing with this other stuff better.
Three (two? four? I’ve lost count) weeks ago I packed our two large dogs and 22-month-son into the car and hightailed it out of our house just in time for our first showing. While not easy, the journey to Ohio felt like a piece of cake compared to the two weeks that preceded it.
In those two crazy weeks, we made our life-altering decision, hosted a dizzying array of family members and contractors to help fix up our house (including a bathroom renovation) and got the place staged, photographed and put on the market.
Who could have guessed we’d get a cash offer within 24 hours for nearly our entire asking price? Great news, certainly, and a huge relief. But we didn’t have any idea what we’d be in for once we started looking for a new place to live.
Thanks to a wild home buying spree that’s left our new (old) city severely lacking in inventory, I’m engaged in some sort of crazy game of musical chairs with every other homebuyer here. So far, I’m losing. The chairs are all taken and the music is ending. My family has no place to sit.
Finding a rental home hasn’t turned out to be any easier and the clock is ticking — we have to be out of our North Carolina home in less than two short weeks.
Oh yes, and (I nearly forgot), I’m having a baby in four months.
Just the other day, while pleading with a doctor’s office over the phone trying to get them to accept me as a transfer patient, I was asked how far along I am. I responded that I had no idea — the past few weeks had been a little busy — and would have to check.
I carefully counted the weeks once over, twice over … could that be right?
Twenty-two weeks: more than halfway through my pregnancy.
I still can hardly believe it. Where has the time gone?
This pregnancy has been a far cry from my first. I haven’t spent a minute thinking about my growing belly, my swollen feet or my fears about being a mom to two human beings. I haven’t written any letters to the baby or pinned an ultrasound to the mirror or even had a single conversation with my husband about what we’ll name this child.
And yet, this baby grows and thrives inside of me. It’s a reminder that I need to just let go and have faith that everything will work out okay.
Tomorrow, my husband, son and I will be reunited here in Ohio. After weeks of being apart and in constant transit, it’ll be a relief to be together at my sister’s house — so much family, finally in one place. We’ll have approximately two days left to find a house before we have to head back to North Carolina to say goodbye to our life there.
That’s never been an easy word for me to say.
Back south, the tree swing that hangs from an impossibly high branch has sat unused for weeks. Soon, the fig tree in our back yard will start to yield fruit, and I won’t be there to collect its gifts. I long to sleep in my own bed, wear clothes that didn’t come out of a suitcase and watch my dogs chase each other in our big back yard.
Goodbye: It’s a word that’s almost as powerful as another one taking up a lot of space in my heart these days: home.
Almost as powerful. But not quite.