Grateful: Still Here

A year ago, we were house hunting and beefing up my husband’s resume. In a strange twist of fate, he was preparing to interview for his own engineering position. Never a great feeling, especially when getting that job back would mean moving from our suburban Puget Sound area, where we’ve lived for 27 years, to urban Southern California. The alternative was to hope that he could find a position elsewhere in the company in order to stay here. The process of hunting and waiting was filled with hoops to jump through and much waiting.

During that time of uncertainty, we thought about some large changes that could be coming. At the same time, we had to make a shift in the way we thought about little things, the things we knew would complicate a move, if that should suddenly be the next step. It’s only now that I realize how much of an impact it all had on our well-being. Hardest was that we didn’t know how sudden it might be, and even when we thought we might be able to stay, we couldn’t be sure until all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. It was ten months of uncertainty and it was no fun. Now I feel the influence of this time in our lives. During that ten months, we did several things differently than we would have liked.

-I didn’t revitalize my herb garden, nor plant tomatoes. Each year for the prior four, I had planted tomatoes in pots on the deck. I had planned to do the same with a new herb garden that I could overwinter in our sunroom.

-We passed on the traditional purchase of the 5 pound bag of salted peanuts, which to us means summer days with feet on the deck rail, shelling peanuts and enjoying our haven in the woods. For many years, the ritual of purchasing the traditional bag of peanuts has marked the beginning of the shift to out of doors for the season.

-I began to say goodbye to my birds, and to my native plants, knowing that I would need to learn new ways to celebrate environmental diversity and to work at finding peace in the city.

-We considered what water sports we could pursue in southern California. We knew we would have to sell our sailboat. We prepared ourselves for that, and planned how we would use the money to finance a new focus on other water sports.

This post celebrates the fact that we were open to a move and would have made the most of the experience of living in an urban environment if we needed to. It was not at all what we wanted for ourselves, but we were prepared to make it work. Mostly, though, this post celebrates that we are still here.

It’s really not that long ago that we found out that we get to stay. There was quiet rejoicing. There was a shift in thinking, a shift back home, here, with a new awareness of the precious nature of these things.

I’ve planted the new herb garden, and I’m ready for my deck tomatoes, too.

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We bought our favorite big bag of peanuts and have already begun enjoying them. So satisfying after last year’s disappointing stand-in: a couple of small bags of a quite inferior brand, easily finished if peanut season were cut short.

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The yard has given us a wider diversity of birds again this year, and it’s sheer delight. I would’ve missed our suburban wildlife haven deeply. By the way, no, I don’t have my chickadees tamed. This one was struggling a bit after hitting the window (and yes, I do try to minimize birdstrike at our house – unlucky day for this little one, but I kept him warm and in the dark and he recovered just fine).

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We talked at length about how we would get the most out of a move to a place like Seal Beach, and we knew we would have to keep a connection with the water.
Keeping our sailboat or buying a new one would have been out of the question, so we discussed kayaking, snorkeling, SUP (stand up paddle boards, for those of you not familiar with this term).
We’ve played on water for as long as we’ve known each other. We would have found our joy in it. But I’m so very grateful we are still here.

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About vst3in

I am a writer, avid reader, library techie, birder and runner. I make felt and teach others. I love colors and textures and birds and books. I'm working on a historical novel and reading lots of books for young people. I am running to get stronger, and I sail with my husband. This blog contains thoughts about all these things.
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2 Responses to Grateful: Still Here

  1. barbaraberkley says:

    Very moving post. We’re so glad you’re still here, too – both for you and for us! 🙂

  2. vst3in says:

    Thank you, Barbara! That one was actually tough to write. It really did hit me how tough it was to wait and worry without worrying others as I expressed our relief.

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