We've lived here for seven months without hanging pictures on the walls.
Anyone who knows me, or has been in a previous home of mine, could tell you that this is just plain crazy talk. I guess the events of the last year leave me feeling "half-packed," even in our own home. From living in a motel, to being in a very hostile roommate situation- I suppose we've got ourselves wound in an uncomfortable knot. The fight or flight instinct is still stuck in high gear.
I didn't realize how this last year of travel had really affected me until one afternoon in summer, when I got new neighbors across the hall. I was sitting on the couch when I heard them right outside our door. I heard them back up to our door, likely moving a piece of furniture. They touched our door. And I had a panic attack.
I tried to come up with escape routes from our third floor home. My brain, unreasonably thought, they can get in and you can't get out. I expected them to knock and then open. I expected them to bang and then yell. I couldn't breathe or move. The rest of the day I was exhausted- sore from being tense, head aching from holding my breath.
The truth is, we had a roommate who was sneaky. We plugged in the webcam and caught him coming in our room while we were away. We knew he was taking things. He came home at crazy hours, spent our rent money on alcohol, refused to let us turn on the heat in January. On top of this, he was a veteran with post-traumatic stress; an absolute loose cannon. I often laid awake listening to him rummage about the house. He would go in our bathroom, he would walk by our door. It was scary. One day, he demanded extra money on top of our rent. He had spent our rent money on God-knows and was in a bind and acting very unstable. We packed the car in the dead of night. We ate breakfast at Shari's and came up with a plan. We never went back.
So, maybe I have a little post-traumatic stress of my own.
You could say we were irresponsible. I would agree with you. But my baby needed to be healthy and I was willing to do whatever I had to. If we had to eat at Salvation Army every night, so be it. I watched Kade gulp up clean, ocean air. I watched him run without growing tired. I watched the treatments lessen and then disappear completely- the O2 sats rising and then staying.
It was worth it.
Now, seven months later, we have a place of our own, Kade is healthy and Ezra is here. I was so excited for this; I thought I would decorate and get settled and be comfortable. Instead, I've been "half-packed" for seven months. I've been slow to get pictures on the walls, I've been avoiding making friends, I've been agitated and waiting. The closet is piled with cardboard boxes, waiting.
And now, I'm tired. I'm tired of being stressed for no reason, tired of thinking, "what's the point?" I'm tired of living half-way between here and somewhere else.
I was browsing through pictures yesterday and found some of my apartment in Utah. The abundance of photos on the walls, fresh flowers on the table, colorful rugs, candles burning... it left me feeling sad and homesick. I used to buy myself flowers, "nest" every Saturday, bake constantly. My home smelled like banana bread, felt like granny squares, tasted like coffee. Now, it's empty. The walls are huge and besides Kade's haphazardly hung art projects, they're also bare. I told Ian last weekend, "I feel like we live in a hospital."
So, we printed pictures. I ordered a candle. I made plans for shelving and rugs and baked two loaves of bread for good measure.
We might not be at this apartment long- but it's okay now to accumulate things. It's okay now to buy frames, vases, furniture. Because even if we rent a house next, we can take it with us.
That's a new feelings- one I'm trying to get used to. It's time to get comfortable and confident.
Kade isn't the only one who can breathe a little easier; we're home now.