Friday, February 13, 2009
Giving some things up to the Universe
...Xander and I were sitting at the computer tonight, looking at old photos of his "youth" (ages birth-3) and laughing and remembering. It was fun for him to remember the wheres, whens, and who's...but I found myself tearing up repeatedly. Especially when he would say poignant four-year-old things like, "I miss Bela (our cat" and "I miss our house" and "I miss my friends"...
This is exactly what has been bothering me since we moved to Alaska almost three months ago, I've been too busy/manic/worried about money to really give these facts their due in my heart.
1. I miss my cat. My friend Laurie adopted him, and I know he's happy there, and they love him dearly. He came to them in a time in their lives when they really needed a new feline in their home. Gary and I got Bela when he was 6 weeks old. He's 8 now. I miss that cat so much it hurts to look at pictures of him. It would be different if he had passed away, we willingly gave him to someone who asked to adopt him, knowing we couldn't bring him to Alaska.
2. I miss our house. Our wonderful, quirky, in need of so many repairs 1975 split foyer in tree-filled South Knoxville. It didn't sell. The realtor wasn't working for us. We've put it up on the rental market with a reputable property management company. It hasn't rented. I feel like something is blocking it from renting (and blocking us from freedom from our mortgage payment) and that something is of course oh yes the economy but I also feel I haven't let the place go in my heart. We still own it. We still have a vested interest in it. Of course we do, we prayed really hard for God to send us in the right direction towards it when I was pregnant, we found it when I was 6 mos. pregnant, moved in when I was 7 months pregnant...we worked, toiled, fixed, bought, cleared out, planted, relished and love(d) that quirky house. We loved having company for the first time in our relationship. People came to visit and they stayed in the guest room. Our neighbors were a bit wonky but we didn't have to see them much as our lot was (is) big. We brought our son home. He crawled in the grass, toddled in the grass, ran, rolled, swam in his baby pool, rode his tricycle and corn popper down the hill, played with water on the deck...we had tea parties and dinners and friends over. We painted and kept it clean and lamented over the invevitable repairs that come with a 30 plus year old house. When Gary's business (the tv industry in Knoxville) began to decline (we're talking going from earning one number one year to earning almost half that number the next year...you get USED to earning that number...We've been dealing with this economic crunch since late 2006...but kept thinking the storm would ride out...it always did before, we always had tough winters...
It didn't. It got worse...even with me working (especially with me working? Child care is pricey!) things got worse. We grew to resent the house and all its expensive 'work'. The work we loved just two years prior. We began looking for an out. The out became Alaska.
I had to leave a dream job that I prayed really hard for and had dreamed about all my life.
I left friends that are truly kindred spirits. Friends that were my friends when Xander was an infant. Their children were his best friends.
I left the Smokies, a place I fought really hard to get to and where I have never felt more at peace with myself.
I did it all with the hope that things would get better (and they are getting better!) financially and in our relationship. Our relationship is great, strong...our little boy is struggling quite a bit as is normal for a child who has moved (I was a holy terror when we moved during my childhood)...he is adjusting. Boy just misses his friends, his house, and his cat. I can't even look at a picture of downtown Knoxville without getting weepy. I knew I loved it, it was very sad to leave it, all those wonderful (and not so wonderful!) memories. But mainly wonderful. It hurts that people aren't as nice up here. It hurts that our house is still sitting there, all alone, lonely too without us.
I pray that we can be rid of it, so I don't have to weep when I think of Xander learning to crawl in the living room, fast forward to Christmases, fast forward to loving classical music, fast forward to painting and dancing and laughter.
All of our furniture was sold.
My books and wedding dress are in Ohio.
Gary's sentimental things are in Ohio, too.
1/2 of Xander's things are in Ohio.
I know its just things, I've got to let go of them and the house.
We're having trouble making payments on it, due to our new (like three hundred more than our MORTGAGE rent) up here, truck payment for a TRUCK THAT IS IN OHIO, and UTILITY BILLS FOR A HOME THAT is unoccupied.
I am giving the house up in my heart. I will never forget it, nor will I let my son forget it. It was a happy place, even if it is a money pit. I used to be able to say goodbye so easily and never look back. Is it the distance? We did this "to give Xander the best...money for college, savings, natural beauty, a lifestyle of intensity and epic proportions."...
It's hard when we loved Knoxville and its people (and our careers, rocky as they were!) as much as we did/do. Gary gained esteem as a director/camera man. I worked in the downtown Children's Library. The dream of dreams for me. The decision wasn't easy, we ached over it for years! We received sign after sign that it was where we were supposed to go, what we were supposed to do.
I give the house up to God, I'm handing it over to the next souls who reside there. This is like mourning the death of a loved one! I've had a delayed reaction...the stages of grief and all! I can't let go because we still have to pay for something that is so far away!
Plus, it's been rough. Money has been tight living two existences, one real, one phantom. Cost of living is high up here, we were commuting 120 miles a day when we lived with our friends, we had a ROUGH time living with our friends, Xander has regressed a bit with all the changes...we've all been sick every other week (Xander's been the best of all of us...Gary and I have been as sick as dogs, and we never get sick!)
I love my friends, and miss them.
I love my house, and miss it.
I love my cat, and miss him.
I know my friends are in good hands. Ditto my cat (better hands than ours, even...)...I don't know that my house is in good hands because no one is there. I've prayed so fervently over this house. First to sell, now to rent...I know why it isn't, I know all the reasons...I also know that miracles do happen, and I kind of feel like I haven't said a proper good bye. It all happened so quickly after the final decision had been made!
Here's the timeline:
Labor Day: Buy truck to move, we have decided to move in SPring of 2009
October 20(?) Gary goes to Alaska to scout for work. Our friend tells him about a position available for ME at his work. I send off my info
November 1 (?) I interview over the phone with company
November 15(?) I am offered the position and we begin crazy sell-off frenzy of furniture, belongings, one of our cars, etc.
November 26(?) we leave TN for Ohio to spend time with family
Dec 5 We fly to Anchorage
Dec 7 I begin my job
Jan 2 Gary begins his new job with one of the companies he talked with in October
There was also Christmas and Thanksgiving in there, too.
So, it's getting very late.
Goodbye house. I've loved you very much. I am letting you go. I want someone else to enjoy you and create fond memories. And if you don't rent, and we have to give you back from whence you came, I still love you. It's not your fault. I'm tired of hearing about fear. Fear to not even rent? Fear that keeps you in a place you might not like or living with relatives? Because of fear? Embrace your fear & then throw it away. "Fear is the mind-killer."
Goodbye house. You've been a good house. Please welcome in your new tenants, and please don't go all haywire, as we don't have any money for extensive repairs still. We love you, though. Thank you for keeping us safe, warm, cool, in good spirits, creative, happy parents, happy baby, happy cat...good bye.
And good bye Knoxville, we'll meet again! You're one of the friends I speak of, you quirky friendly town. You gave us so many gifts, I hope we did you some justice in our life's work there. I'm finding it very hard to let our whole lifestyle and life go down there. Such a drastic change this is. Goodbye beautiful town, beautiful house, beautiful mountains that relaxed and inspired me. Goodbye to everything about our Tennessee home.
One last thing. I don't hate it here. Of course it's beautiful. It's also frightening. But beautiful. We're really excited to be living here, our new jobs, new things we're involved with, our new town, etc. We just are so nervous about 'things' we left behind (we had to! It all happened so soon!) that we can't really enjoy or settle in. The house will rent. The truck will be fine. We'll be back to get it (hopefully?) this year. We'll take that road trip we dreamed of, it was part of the plan originally. Our home's umbilical cord was just, like, ripped off without drying out first. We're not wealthy and never wanted to have two homes to pay for. We make decent (actually very nice and fair) wages up here, but not enough to support two households. So Goodbye house, for real now!