I’m writing this from a new bedroom, on a new bed, in a new house. Everything smells new; and for the moment, life feels foreign.
We still don’t have hand towels in the bathroom, so each time I wash my hands, I face the predicament of whether to dry them on my shirt, a feral child, or let them air dry. The worst thing is, the hand towels are in the dryer… I just keep forgetting to grab them.
You may have noticed the radio silence on the blog. I superstitiously didn’t want to say anything about the new house until we closed.
That being said, we bought a house. We closed the Friday before Labor Day, and are approximately 70% moved in. We live about 10 minutes from our old condo, still close to where Chad’s parents and grandparents live during the winter.
For me, house hunting was less about checking off criteria from a list and more about my heart saying, “Yeah, I could see us making this a home”. It was less about a purchase and more about a commitment to the future- I could see us being happy here, I can see the girls growing up in this house, I can envision Christmas and birthdays and family dinners.
Home is the place where you can let your guard down. It’s the place where you stop sucking in your stomach. Pants are optional. (Underwear is however, REQUIRED, in this household.) It is a place where you can truly be yourself and not worry about judgement.
Despite the fact that we were hunting for a home 1725 miles away from “home” for me, I still found myself searching for the familiar. I wanted a home with multiple levels (a lot of FL homes are one level due to the aging population), because that is what I grew up with. And the home we picked is on a golf course.
“I can’t believe you wanted to live on a golf course,” Chad said with a grin, as if shocked by the fact that I would live on a golf course. But see, he didn’t realize that golf courses are almost as familiar to me as they are to him.
Sure, I don’t spend 4 hours on the course 3 times a week playing actual golf, but golf courses are where I ran cross-country races for 6 years of my life.
Running a race is painful, and in those moments of pain you enter a deeply introspective relationship with yourself.
“I hurt,” your muscles scream. “I know this feels like you are dying, but I promise you aren’t,” your brain tries to reassure your muscles as they drown in lactic acid and your oxygen deprived lungs. Your body slowly tunes out unneeded energy expenditure.
You stop caring what you look like. You’re not worried about anyone else’s opinion. All you are left with is the conversation between your brain and your body. In the pain, there is a silence, an honesty, an acceptance. You can’t fight back or suppress emotions.
It is on golf courses that I witnessed the battle between my body and my brain. There is an intimacy that comes from pushing yourself through discomfort.
So for me, yes, golf courses are very familiar. Just not in the traditional sense.
This transition is bittersweet.
“Are you going to miss the old place?,” my mom asked on our weekly call, referring to our 3 bedroom condo that we’ve rented for the past year.
The condo was small. A little too small when it came to the whole Chad working from home and needing quiet during his conference calls. The kind of small that kept us shushing the girls, trying to keep the noise levels below ear splitting for our poor downstairs neighbor.
But also, the condo was exactly the right size. The year we spent there was full of growth. We explored the unknown as a family, with the condo being like a familiar, homely nest we could return to at the end of the day.
We tracked buckets of sand into that place. The walls were covered in adorable art projects. We snuggled together out on the lanai, watching afternoon storms roll in, taking in nature’s great show. We gathered around the kitchen table as a full family for 3 meals on most days. I can’t count the number of times I carried a sleeping child up the stairs after an adventure filled day.
Awhile back I read a book that talked about the concept of “holding space for hope”. I’ve really tried, but I can’t figure out who wrote it- if I had to guess it was probably by Lori Gottleib, Brene Brown, or Glennon Doyle Melton.
For us, the condo held space for hope. When we moved down to Florida, we had no idea what the future held. We didn’t know if we would love it or hate it. We believed we would be moving to Iowa after a winter spent in FL. I wasn’t sure if I would be horribly homesick, or if this would be a massive failure. And on top of that, I was trialing being a stay at home mom.
The condo offered us space to try something new and be okay if we failed. And that was one of the most freeing feelings in the world; to know that either way, if we failed or were successful, we would be just fine.
My favorite part of Florida is the ocean.
I have never felt God more than when I watch a sunset. There is something so calming, peaceful, awe inspiring about watching a big ball of fire 93 million miles away slip below the horizon.
It is in the moments of sitting on an expansive beach, hearing the powerful waves crash against the shore, and watching the big ball of fire make its journey across the sky that I am reminded of my minuscule size in this vast universe.
The thing we’ve realized about sunsets is that they are a lot more beautiful if there are clouds. Sure, a clear day is gorgeous. But when you add clouds to the equation, it adds a whole new dimension to the view.
The sun provides stunning backlights to big, billowy cumulus clouds. Every inch the sun moves down creates a whole different picture- with light being blocked in different areas and light shining through in new spots.
Cloudy sunsets are a great reminder that in life, sometimes cloudy moments accentuate the beauty.
This year hasn’t been perfect. We’ve missed our families and the places we grew up. But these clouds have accentuated the light that this year has brought to us.
Wishing you the beauty of a cloud filled sunset,
PS- We picked this house because it has plenty of space for visitors. So please come visit us. We would love to see you!