Transitions tend to throw even the most even-keeled people for loops. Sometimes, transitions take us to places we don't want to go, as with divorce. Other times, transitions take us to happy places. Think marriage and babies, graduations and new jobs.
But even when the end goal of a transition is a happy place, the transition can feel awkward and uncomfortable. Remember the stress of planning your wedding? Remember the stress of pregnancy and childbirth?
Our move to a new house has been fraught with stress and anxiety and awkwardness, especially for me as the AR/obsessive-compulsive half of our marriage. I want order, and I want it now!
You can't always get what you want when you're lost in transition.
Most of our furniture has to stay at the old house so it's staged to look like a model home. Our new home, in the meantime, sends the inaccurate message that we are house-poor, as if we bought a big new house we can't afford to furnish.
This state of affairs also makes me hesitant to decorate. How can I hang things on the walls if I don't quite know precisely where the furniture will go? What if the curtains I buy don't really go with the furniture? Can I return them if they've hung on my walls for a few months? Fortunately, our new neighborhood is full of large lots and is sparsely populated, and living in a fish bowl doesn't feel quite as weird as it would have felt in our old house, crowded cheek-to-jowl with neighbors on all sides.
But it's still awkward.
Certain aspects of this new house, however, transcend its lack of furniture and the air mattresses that suck heat from our bodies and the wobbly patio table in our breakfast room and the boxes of books in the library we can't unpack because there are no shelves to put them on and the frantic way we search through unpacked boxes for that one roll of tape we suddenly need. In the chaos of slow transition, we're catching glimpses of a settled future.
First and foremost, the breakfast room. It juts out from the back of the house and has windows on three sides. When we first looked at the house back in October, I thought, "What a nice room." Now, sitting where I am typing at the breakfast room table, I have a 180-degree view of trees and a bit of the neighborhood. The yard hasn't received its final grade, and the bare dirt shows erosion rivulets carved by the rain and snow melt. The view is rather dismal, but I can see a future full of green grass, a patio with a fire pit, and leaves on all those bare trees. We already get flashes of color from the cardinals and blue birds, a promise of prettier things to come.
The breakfast room isn't just nice, it's awesome!
My craft room is another transcendent feature of this house. I positioned my craft table under a window. Sitting there is a double pleasure, especially when the cardinals are flying about. I don't have everything arranged in the room yet because too much stuff is still at the old house, but at least it's workable now.
The finished basement makes me happy, with its wet bar and sliding glass door. When we walk down the stairs, the first thing we see straight ahead is a huge sliding glass door and daylight. Basements can feel so claustrophobic and creepy, but not this one. Once it has furniture, it will be perfect.
And there's the rub. Transition time lingers in this house, an awkward pause in the moving forward of life.
Part of George misses our old house. When he visits it to load up stuff to move, he feels a pang of regret for its loss, even though he wanted this move, at least initially, more than I did.
He asked me if I missed the old house, too. My answer, without hesitation and with extreme italics and all caps for emphasis, is NO! I never felt at home in the old house. It didn't fit me, and I knew it from the beginning. It was fine, but not mine. This ranch with the finished basement is home already, even without furniture and especially since the orange stucco disappeared. The cheep of the cardinal outside my breakfast room window as the sun rises before me feels right and good. The brightness of the stars when I walk Daisy before bed sends me into raptures of peace.
The transition will end at some point, and we will settle into a new normal. Grass will grow, windows will be dressed, our art will hang on the walls and in the niches, books will grace shelves, clothes will rest in dressers.
The lost order will be found, and home will be more--much more--than fine.
What awkward transitions have you experienced that, with patience and fortitude, took you to wonderful places? Please share!