Every time he goes outside, Benjamin points out the grass as though that evidence of spring means it will never be cold out again. He desperately wants winter to be over. “I don’t like this weather,” he told me a month ago. “I like warm and beaches.” I couldn’t help him, so I just shoved his hands into mittens and sent him out to the schoolyard to play.
But, now, little flowers are poking up and the snow is melting and we have separated the liners from the shells on their coats. There will surely be one more snowstorm – there always is – but we are in final negotiations with winter.
Unfortunately, we are not in final negotiations on the big yellow house. There has been one holdup after another and sadly we have had to walk away. Which leaves us back at square one.
Not exactly square one, since we know this is the town where we want to settle. The schools are good. The people are nice, especially the kids, who have been amazingly welcoming. But, the town is tiny, and so the housing stock is limited. We need to choose carefully, because this is where we will stay.
For a long time.
I have lived widely. I have moved and seen and done more times than I can even count anymore. I have experienced a great deal and have grown from the cultural grazing in which I have indulged. I have lived abroad. I have lived on both coasts of the U.S. I have met fascinating people and made wonderful friends. I have lived widely.
I have never lived deeply.
We have not, as a family, lived deeply.
I think some people are raised with long, deep roots, and those people feel the need to spread themselves as they grow older. Others are raised with wide, spreading branches, and they feel the need to burrow down as they grow older. My husband and I have spent our adult lives spreading, but now we both know it is time to watch the seasons pass from the same vantage point year after year.
And, to be quite honest, we think a highly sensitive five-year-old who has been moved four times in his life deserves a chance to feel like he belongs somewhere. Even rock-solid Benjamin needs that, although I think he’d prefer to be settling on a tropical island somewhere.
I welcome the chance to live deeply, to get to know myself and my family without running all the time. But it scares the shit out of me.
What if I discover that I don’t like myself?