Life Unpacked

Three weeks ago, we loaded up a much-too-small Uhaul, three vehicles, 2 kids and a cat for a 500-mile trek across three states. We took 2 days to make the trip, stopping to have a good dinner and sleep in a nice hotel for the night, letting the kids burn some energy in the pool and my parents get some a good night’s sleep since they had driven up the night before only to turn around and help us drive right back.

The first day: five hours. Not a terribly rough five hours, but the hotel couldn’t have come into view at a better time. We were all exhausted, cramped, and tired of being cooped up in a car. Motion sickness was starting to settle into my belly and orneriness was hitting the two-year-old hard and fast. Miss Seven was cranky and full of sassy energy. They needed out of the car to stretch and burn energy. I needed out of the car to not lose my shit.

Day two: five hours. Not nearly as pleasant. The idiot who thought it would be a good idea to have Mister Two, Miss Seven, and Pickles the cat, all in the same car a second day in a row should have known better than to tempt fate. Yes, it was me, I was the “idiot” tempting fate.

It rained. It poured. Miss Seven complained, whined, irritated Pickles and antagonized Mister Two until Pickles was meowing loudly in despair, Mister Two was screaming because Miss Seven wouldn’t let him touch the carrier, and Miss Seven was screeching because Mister Two was crying. And it was all I could do to not slam on my brakes, pull to the side of the road and throw myself over the side of a mountain. Five. Hours.

Motion sickness sat like two tons of jello in my belly while anxiety rumbled in my chest harmoniously with the thunder and rain that seemed to be chasing us to Arkansas. I think I asked a million times for Miss Seven to “please just help Mama keep everyone happy for just a little fucking longer” a million times and probably hours before we were even close to reaching our destination. All I was really asking was for her to stop being an instigator and pain in my ass long enough for us to get out of the damn car.

We made it. Just in time. I did not lose my shit completely, though there may have been a moment I believed a “complete loss of shit” to be the absolute destination. Just when I thought I would not make it another mile, we pulled into the parking lot for our too-small apartment.

The kids were happy to be at the “new home.” And we, the adults who understood the consequences of moving, were all dreading the second phase … unpacking.

It went much smoother than I anticipated with minimal issues. There were no major “which box is this packed in” panic moments, although we did have a few “oh shit, we forgot …” moments.

And that’s the problem with moving states away in comparison to just a couple miles or even a few towns away in a way-too-fucking-small Uhaul. There is no going back for ANYTHING. What has been forgotten has been lost for all time. Like the hardware to put our kitchen table back together.

It took just about a week to unpack and “settle in” to our little apartment.

Miss Seven started her new school and even now, three weeks later, is still claiming it to be the “best school ever.” She is loving being close to cousins and has made a new friend in the apartment complex. She is having fewer nightmares than she has had in a very long time and is slowly adjusting to the new routines.

Mister Two is settling into days home with Mama and loves riding in his stroller to walk Miss Seven to and/or from The Best School Ever, when the weather permits, and with the occasional stop at Grammy & Pa-Paws. He is his normal happy and cheerful self and is growing at an alarming rate.

And then there is My Love, who is currently busting his (very sexy) ass and sacrificing time home with us to pay the bills and give me this opportunity to spend a little more time with our babies. I am so very, very proud (and appreciative) of how well he takes care of us.

And then there is me – learning to be a stay-at-home mama and wife after decades of being a working woman. Trying to find my way in the freelance world and motivate myself to get back to the writing table. And trying to find the routine that fits my little family best and helps each of us thrive in the life we are living. It’s a new adventure all the way around and it’s going to take some time.

We are learning to make our way around our new hometown – finding our favorite restaurants and grocery stores and making note of the ones we will stay far away from. Our too-small apartment has turned out to be not so bad. In fact, it’s quite comfortable. It’s cozy. And, to be blunt, it’s our space HERE, in Arkansas. And that’s all that matters.

We are together and we are home.

Until next time …

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