Since I moved to this small town, things have been different. I've been different. Sure, I'm still overwhelmed by life's responsibilities, and Lord knows my house is still a mess. But I feel more calm. More at peace.
Maybe it's the late-night dog walks under a blanket of stars. Or the fact that I know my neighbors. The now-familiar faces at the preschool, the pool, and the park. The bakery where they know my name. The farm where we pick up our vegetable share.
Maybe it's the casual family gatherings. Or the fact that Lulu has a fan club at every soccer game.
And it just might be the fact that I'm no longer trying to sell a house. While we couldn't sell our house, we did manage to buy a new one. And while being a landlord wasn't on my bucket list, it's a means to an end. And the end is a roomier place that's perfect for throwing parties.
And you know what? Our new house felt like home immediately. I'm so relieved to be here — to be on the other side of what felt like the year from hell. And it doesn't hurt that the light-oak floors and tan carpets have a camoflague effect against white dog hair, making my housekeeping inadequacies slightly less apparent.
The children are sleeping better. Or as well as my children sleep. I still spend a fair amount of time sleeping in a racecar bed, but I can't complain. One Saturday morning, the whole family snoozed until 9 a.m. Remarkable, really.
Last summer, I wrote about my latest identity crisis (I think they come with the territory of demanding a lot out of life). After quite a bit of struggling, I discovered what I wanted (and I quote): "A life full of creativity, flexibility, and change. A small-town experience for my kids (or something resembling it). Lots of running. Being close to family. Good bread. More fruits and veggies."
So maybe the reason that I feel more calm is that I made it all happen. My former wishlist is an almost exact description of my current life. And I have myself (and one amazing husband) to thank for that.