By the time I hit "publish" on this post, it will already be tomorrow - May 1st.
May 1st has been a bit of a marker for me. Months and months ago when I didn't know for sure what we'd be doing come July, May seemed so far away. But as the months passed and we came to the decision to pull up our tent pegs and move the troops back to the prairies this summer, May 1st seemed awfully close. Too close.
I say, "too close", not because I'm dreading what I'm going back to, but because I will so desperately miss what I have to leave.
The feeling I have is like the one you get as one of your greatest vacations is about to come to an end. It's like that feeling multiplied again and again. These past two years haven't just been regular living for us. We've had the chance to do things and see things that we likely would have never tried or done if Mike hadn't taken the contract here. Really, it's been like a two-year vacation inter-mingled with ordinary life and times. How often do you get to do that? But at the end of every great vacation you're left with the feeling of "no - I'm not ready for it to be over yet.... just a little longer.... I still have more things to do..... if I only had a little more time..."
One of the best parts of these past two years is the amount of intentional family time we've had. In our old life, it seemed there was always something or someone that wanted or needed our attention. We were rushing in and out to keep the marching rolling along. I will always remember what if felt like when we first got here. We knew no one. We didn't have to wonder what we were doing in the evening or the weekend, because (of course) we were spending it together! There weren't any other options. Those months were pretty special, and I'm glad we savoured them because they didn't last long.
Our life here now has become increasingly full of other relationships - and that transition has been good too. I love my family, but we all need more than just our own little circle. If I look at our family calendar over the past few weeks and the ones ahead, I see play dates, sleepovers, babysitting jobs, PAC meetings, morning walks and lunch dates scrawled onto the squares. I love the people and moments that all of those scribbles represent. They are the roots to our time here. They burrowed us down and made us feel connected and part of something bigger than ourselves. Our family was nurtured and we grew, but in the end that wasn't enough - and it's not supposed to be.
These past two years have been amazing for our family.
They have been good for Mike and I and our relationship as well.
But they've also been a great gift to just me.
I have had the chance to learn so much here. I had the space and time to soak up sights and sounds and words like I haven't had in years. That space and time afforded me the silence to learn to recognize my own voice again. It had been overpowered and overshadowed by the stage of life I was in, my circumstances, and too many other voices making their offerings too. I can hear my voice here better than I ever have before. I like the sound of it. Part of my reluctance to turn the calendar page over to May is the fear that my voice will disappear with my journey home.
Along with my voice came thicker skin and conviction. I know more of myself. I am more willing to put myself out on the line and let the chips fall where they may. I care less about pleasing you (and you and you and....) and more about going to bed at night knowing I was honest with who I am and what I know to be right. That's been easier with new friends here and lots of distance between me and my prairie companions. May 1st looms when I think about this. Did I really learn what I needed to? Did I get enough practice to make it "stick"? Will my skin become thin again?
These next two months will be a season of transition. Of looking ahead and savouring the moments behind me. There will be many opportunities where I will need to embrace "the moment" with all of my senses. I have already felt the urgency to smell and see the hear what is around me in a different way - in a way that will stick. There will be moments of letting go and marking a time and place with a great sense of thankfulness, yet at the same time allowing space for grief and goodbyes.
Today is May 1st. The home stretch is here.
I'm not ready, but time isn't waiting for me.