A lot has happened since I last checked in with you, my tiny handful of faithful blog readers.
But here are a few of them:
We sold our house. Five days on the market, and we had 2 offers in hand. If you live in Minnesota, I know a great realtor.
I turned 40. This was not as monumental as it could have been, since I have been calling myself 40 for the past 18 months. I am feeling the 40, and not just when I get up after sitting cross-legged too long on a cement floor.
I am feeling what my mom told me she felt when she was in her 40s — you are who you are, and you don’t care what others think. Not the defiant “I don’t care what you think!” of an adolescent, or the “I’m going to stick to my guns” of early parenthood or career searching. The “I don’t care” of 40 is when most of the time you forget even to consider that you should maybe care. This a kind of not caring that is really worth waiting for.
I celebrated 14 years of marriage to a really great guy. I could get all sappy, but nah. I did that on our anniversary. What I will say is that while in Rapid City, So. Dak., on our anniversary, I had one of the most spectacular and memorable meals of my life. Seriously. Corn Exchange — check it out. We started with a cheese plate that had the best olives I have ever had, and just kept going from there. *Everything* was close-your-eyes-and-groan good. The kind of meal that makes sex superfluous. There, I said it.
I went home. I grew up in South Dakota, at the edge of the Black Hills. I went back this month for my longest stay since I was 18. Of course staying with my mother always feels like home, but I also got more time in the hills, more time just being there, more time to think about the people I used to know who decided to stay there. It’s a beautiful place — my mom and step-dad have a beautiful house that they built just before Violet was born — and I love that I can go back there. It’s funny — it’s definitely home for me, but not my ultimate home, which is Minnesota now.
We move in 7 days. Actually, we will start in about 2 days, but I hope that within a week we will be totally moved out of this house and into the new one. Can I make that feel like home? I feel displaced right now — this house is echo-y, all staged for selling. After two weeks with my mom, it also feels tiny!
I realized at my mom’s house — regardless of my affinity for Eliza Bennett, I don’t feel ready to be the mistress of a big house. I feel like a small house person. I could be Mary Elliot, cooped up in a cottage feeling jealous of the big house. This move doesn’t just compel me to adjust to a new town and neighborhood — I have to grow up a little more, accept responsibility for having more, become a better steward. Really — I feel so unmatched to my good fortune I’m not sure how to phrase what I need to do or be to really feel at home in the new house.
But I am feeling little twinklings of it — I attribute it to my 40-ness.
We “started homeschool,” whatever that means. Maybe it just means one more fall of not sending the kids to school. As I told Eggmaster, how could I? How could I when I hand a stack of new math books — algebra, advanced algebra, geometry — to my 10 year old and she grins like a crazy person and begs to start reading? How could I when my girls listen raptly to Greek myths and my 6 year old says “read more about Medusa!”? How could I pass that up?
As I type, Violet is sprawled on my bed, writing a story in longhand — except when she jumps up to tell me that she’s written a fantastic sentence that I have to hear or a hilarious new chapter title. Victoria is falling asleep after reading from Howl’s Moving Castle. My husband is restless, thinking about how quickly we can start living in the new house.
How good is this year? How good is this life?