For most of this summer we’ve had friends and family constantly coming and going through our front door. The sheets for the guest room bed have gone through the wash more times than I can remember. There have been so many people here showering Will in hugs, kisses and undivided attention that I don’t think he knows what to do anymore without an ever-present audience of adoring fans.
We’re in the process right now of coming down from the hectic, busy bustle of the last week.
As we were busy preparing for Will’s
birthday party super-chill cookout last week, we found out that our apartment may or may not be at the center of a legal dispute. Since we’ve been paying rent to the Oakwood/Marriott corporations since the day we moved in, we were “technically not supposed to see” the three different “pay or vacate by Friday” notices taped to our front door but “legal” forbade anyone from explaining why we were getting them and whether we would, in fact, wake up on Saturday morning to someone drilling out the locks.
Friday, less than 24 hours after finding out we would not be kicked out of our apartment and 24 hours before Will’s birthday bbq, I happened to walk into the closet full of our UAB and HHE stockpiles. The carpet squished under my feet. Water was streaming down the wall.
We were able to salvage most of our belongings in the closet and move them temporarily to an empty apartment; my parents helped to wipe down our gigantic tins of soy sauce and break down soggy boxes before immediately pivoting back to welcoming my sister and her boyfriend to D.C., cake-baking and other assort first birthday preparations.
Saturday we welcomed more relatives to town. We cooked way too much food, ate way too much food and watched Will dab at his smash cake.
Sunday we said goodbye to my parents, took our relatives to the National Mall and out to dinner.
Monday morning we hastily said good bye to everyone and ran out the door for Will’s 1 year well check and shots. That afternoon workmen came to repair the closet, filling the house with paint fumes. This morning they replaced the carpeting.
Now it’s time for more appointments, more shopping, more last minute meet-ups with friends and pack-out.
But last night, for the first time in awhile, we left the dirty dishes in the sink and the toys on the floor where they lay.
I’ve been gathering my thoughts, working on a few different, perhaps Life Lessons-ish posts on the topics below:
1. Sending my parents off to the airport is quickly becoming one of my least favorite parts of this weird and wild life we live. Will’s babyhood is so fleeting and every time I have to separate him from his adoring grandparents, my heart breaks just a little bit more. It’s what I call “the grandparent guilt–” mine, not theirs. This was something I wasn’t prepared for before having Will.
How do you cope?
2. We spent the weekend hanging out with a few members of my extended family for the first time since before we left for China. They are wonderful, kind, funny and amazing people; people whose lives are so radically different from ours that it’s easier to not talk about it and just pretend that living overseas is exactly the same as life in the suburbs of New York.
Do you too feel the distance between your life and the lives of the people you should supposedly be closest to? Does it get easier or harder the longer you live far away?
3. Chris and I have been talking a lot lately about comfort zones and the people we know who are either very open-minded or close-minded regardless of background and past experiences.
My husband grew up as a foreign service kid. To him, living overseas is as normal as he knows. He freely admits that while it might seem like he’s quite adventurous taking a job that has us moving every two to three years, in reality he’s living well within his comfort zone. It’s those times when he travels back to Wisconsin with me or meets members of my family who could care less about current events that he feels like a fish out of water.
Me, on the other hand, I don’t know what my comfort zone is anymore. I’m sure I must operate mostly within it, but perhaps the borders keep shifting so constantly that I scarcely notice anymore when I brush up against them.
Do you feel like you still get out of your comfort zone, even after months, years, decades living overseas or moving around across the country?