I hope that I can keep track of what’s important.
That is, I find myself concerned a bit as, even while things go according to plan, I become anxious about the plan sometimes. This move has been different than previous moves for me…much different. Obviously, there’s the fact that I’m now moving a family of three, which is logistically an undertaking comparable to any traveling concert production, I’m convinced. Practically, this is also the biggest move I’ve ever done in regards to distance.
Also, though, this has been the biggest move in regards to emotional repercussions. I became extremely sad at one point during the process, and it lingered for days. I’m still not entirely certain why, but it was almost like I was grieving something. Maybe I’ll have an epiphany later.
As I’ve experienced this dramatic change in place, I’ve also experienced a profound shift in perspective on permanence. That is, I’ve began to recognize that certain things that felt permanent to me are in fact hopelessly temporary, and that what is critically important is, in fact, permanent. The career that I’m changing from was unduly stressful in its own right, but I had come to regard its daily schedule with a sense of permanence because of the comfortable income that it provided. Although we lived in an apartment that, by definition, is not a permanent home, I had come to regard the little routines and patterns there with a sense of permanence that not only belies my distaste for routine, but were also a practical way of staving off the chaos. I think that part of my struggle with this move has been trying to stay on top of being a parent and writer and (once again a) student in the midst of a set of systems that no longer work and have to be re-vamped or entirely replaced. Those systems, which allowed me to keep track of what had to be done and kept mine and Karen’s sanity, though, were very, very temporary things, designed for a temporary place that served us during temporary conditions.
For years, we were in holding pattern, wondering “what next?” in our lives.
And, now that we’re moving forward at long last, I’ve had an irrational difficulty letting go of the temporary. That is, the physical has been threatening to overwhelm the spiritual. What placed this into unyielding perspective, though, was two days ago in the back yard, as I pushed our daughter in a swing. As she giggled with delight and glided to and fro, she made extended eye contact with me, all smiles, her deep eyes communicating a wealth of information.
What they told me that afternoon was, “I trust you, Daddy.”
That’s permanent. Very, very permanent. Whatever transient circumstances and events rotate through our lives, my wife and daughter, and the responsibilities that I have to them, are permanent. They are persistent. They are pervasive.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.