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Ask me a question these days and chances are good my answer will be “I don’t know.”

Where will you live after you move?

I don’t know.

Will you buy a house or rent?

I don’t know.

Will you keep fostering?

I don’t know.

What will the kids do?

I don’t know.

Do you think your foster daughter will be okay?

I don’t know.

Why aren’t you stressed out?

I don’t know.

There are a lot of things I don’t know about how life will work over the next few months. Honestly, I’m not sure why I haven’t felt more stressed and anxious about that. I’ve felt so many other things about this move: happy, sad, excited, lonely, uncertain, melancholy, rushed, tired, joyful. But I haven’t felt much stress and I haven’t been much worried.

I wonder if all the things I don’t know have helped me focus on what I do know? Maybe. I don’t know much about the future, but I know these two things…

I know I want a smaller life. I want a teeny tiny house with a teeny tiny yard to care for. I want less stuff and less busy and less unnecessary, because I have other ways I want to live before my living is done.

Now, if you are someone who seeks the egg-gathering, gardening, canning, or whatever-ing kind of life, that’s great! I did that and I loved it for many years. The goats and the chickens and the butchering and all the gritty beauty of life and death that country living has offered our family has been wonderful.

I’m glad the kids grew up on our little farm and we’ve been blessed by so many country experiences. But I’ve learned to let go of things, even when they’ve been precious and lovely things, when the time is right. And for us, now, the time is right right right. It’s bittersweet, of course. There’s some loss and that means there is some grief. But there’s beauty and freedom and healing in a good goodbye said well at the right time.

I know I want a “funner” life. Okay, it’s not a word. Whatever. A funner life is what I want. I’m not saying I want a more leisurely life or more money or more holidays. I think (and I’m figuring this out as I go, you guys) it means I want to engage in better ways with the things that make me who I am, deep deep down in my soul. Or maybe in my gut. You know?

Simply, I hope to spend the next years of my life doing what I’ve always encouraged in my kids: to be true to who they were created to be and to live out of the confidence that who they are is enough.

Who I am is enough. That takes a certain amount of courage to say when you’ve spent most of your life trying to be good, be better, be more, be seen. But it’s truth. And I think it’s the key to having fun.

A smaller life and a funner life. It’s a start.

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I’m packing a box of memories – stuff the kids have made over the years – and I realize all of a sudden, like the calendar just up and slapped me on the back, that in just over a month I will be homeless. It sounds more dramatic than it is, but still my heart quicks its beating for a minute or two as I let that realization and all of its complicated associated feelings travel from my brain to my heart.

And then, just like that, I’m excited. Finally, I’m excited. After being by times fearful and sad and confused and grieving, all mixed in with tentative anticipation, I’m plain old excited.

If you’ve been following along, we are moving. We’re selling the stuff and packing up what’s left and heading west, all the way to British Columbia. For lots of reasons that I’ll probably write about when I have more time, this move has been as much a heart process as a physical one.

A lot of things have changed since we began this new adventure. The original plan, back when we first talked about doing something else for a year, has been completely revised. That’s the nature of adventures, though, isn’t it? They take on a life of their own.

The one thing about that original dream that I want to protect, though, is it’s smallness. The simple, teeny tiny, cozy, delightful essence of what this whole thing was about when we started, in spite of how the details have changed, is still what is most important to me. In four words, this is my dream.

Less stuff. More fun.

More later…

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If I go for a walk down the back road behind my house, and if I glance to my right, this is what I see. Beauty, no? On a sunny, warm, early summer day, it’s glorious. It’s a view.

If I take the time to walk through the field to actually get close to the water, braving ticks and snakes and general inconvenient ground cover, and if I stop and lean right close to the ground and push away the grass, I see more. The close up. The detail.

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Some days I’m fine with the walk and the glance and the glorious view. Some days, I need to get closer.

Either way, it’s a good day.

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It took her a few days, but she finally got the joke. At first she kept feeling her face every time I popped her nose off and tucked it between my fingers and held up my fist for her to see.

When she finally realized it was my thumb (and not actually her captured nose) she fell off her chair with delight. It was the greatest joke ever, in her three-year old world.

Remember the first time you heard or saw something new and delightful? Like the first time you saw that funny internet picture with the squishy dog flat on the floor and the caption Please don’t make me adult today? Remember that?

I laughed so hard the first time I saw that silly dog, and I posted the photo to my instagram page. And then everyone else did the same and after a while I was like, ok, enough with the dog and the joke, already.

Or that song that you loved when it first came out, but now you can hardly stand to listen to it? Or the Jimmy Fallon youtube or the once-hot TV show?

Got your nose is only funny the first few times. Once the joke is old, well, who cares any more? And after a while, it’s just plain annoying.

The thing is, whatever it is, it’s going to be new to someone else down the road. And the joy of rediscovering something fun through another person’s eyes can be just as wonderful and silly and hilarious as the first time you experienced it yourself.

Every once in a while I need to remind my jaded, tired, disillusioned self that the world is a delightful place.

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You know, there’s something glorious about having a playground to yourself.

You can twirl on the swing without anyone complaining. You can run up the slide or pour sand down it, and no one will say a thing. You can holler and sing and pretend you have a gun to shoot bad guys with, without any social pressure to be quieter or play nicer.

Whether you’re a parent or a kid, it is easy to be who you are and do what you want when you’re alone. It’s harder when people are watching.

Maybe that’s a good thing? I suppose it’s important to learn social acceptability. But maybe there’s also value in learning to be brave enough to be willing to be socially less-acceptable once in a while.

This has been the conundrum that has challenged me for my entire parenting career.

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I watch her roll the ball from her hands. She pushes it with all her tiny strength and it leisurely makes its way down the lane, slowly slowly slowly, and my eyes follow the journey.

I understand goodbyes. I understand watching as the vehicle drives away or the casket is lowered. I’ve blown kisses to their backs as they’ve turned and walked away from me. There’s no getting around goodbyes. No shortcut, really.

I find myself watching her now with memorizing eyes. She’s leaving soon and there’s a part of me that is jealous of all her time in other places or with other people. I scramble to hold the hours even as they slip from my hands.

Then my mom gets sick and I have to go, of course.

I’m gone for a week and my husband sends me texts with pictures of them all, and her. Pictures of normal family stuff and he sends updates of their days and I realize it’s good for them to have their time, too. Time without me as the defining cornerstone in their relationships.

She’s different when you aren’t here, he says. And I’m glad they’ve had their chance to hold and spend their own hours, without me.

I’m learning to share the goodbyes.

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I read Matthew all through Lent. Fifty-ish days of Matthew and a little N.T. Wright and some stuff on vulnerability and a fair bit about the Kingdom. Funny how the threads of all these different words have been weaving their ways into some kind of garment I’ve been wearing for a while. Like a loose, flowing summer dress, these words have been sitting on my shoulders and falling across my breasts and belly and floating around my legs as I walk through my days.

This is how I read words now. Wearing them instead of studying them.

I wore them through my mom’s heart attack and bypass surgery, through hard and happy family days, through challenging and exciting life-change days, and through heartbreaking and sweet foster parenting days. I’ve dressed myself morning after morning in their comfort and security and they fit perfectly. They make the hard days less hard. They make me feel beautiful.

The days rush me toward change – as my husband heads west for work and the house gets packed up and the children near the finish line of another year of math – and even as I feel the wind of all the rushing blow through my hair, I wrap the comfort of all the good-fitting words around me and I know I am well-dressed for the weather of this changing life.

If clothes make the woman, then these are the clothes I want to wear.

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