December has been a bit of an experience; busy, mostly, that’s common, and it helped the time pass, which seems like it should be appreciated but never really is around the holidays.
The Kids have just settled into their new place, and we’ve been putting together boxes of housewarming goodies for them- gifts, warm clothes, home goods, all that. The day after Thanksgiving they took a flight out west to take possession of an apartment in a major southwestern city that Sam and I are pretty fond of. The original plan had been for us to help drive them out, an end-of-year road trip. Work schedules and lease arrangements got in the way, which we are all a little disappointed about, despite the somewhat awful timing for a road trip. The last time Kiddo and I did that run, it was at about the same time of year, and she was far too little to have any fun with it— she was a toddler, the poor kid. I think we took the northern route, that time, too, which— what was I thinking? (I probably wanted to avoid falling asleep as we drove through Texas.) I’m just glad we survived.
We joke that it seems to be a Family Thing, this need to be on the move; I am restless, like my father, like his father before him. Sam and I both left where we were from when we were very young, and we kept moving for most of our twenties; it was Baltimore that settled us down, and only barely, then.
Kiddo had considered college in the UK and Japan, so seeing her move across the country doesn’t come as much of a surprise. There’s a certain level of pride, too, in seeing her take this step; picking up and moving to a strange place takes real brass. There’s a certain amount of confidence you’ve got to have in yourself to make that jump, a hope for the future and some faith in others, too, and we’re happy and proud to see that in both of them. They’re doing this without the comfortable support and backing of the military, or any organization like it- quite a different story from what I and her father did. Holy cats, that’s brave. They left Baltimore with their cat, their belongings, their savings, and the promise of a friend on site to help them find work, and they’re making it happen.
This is both better and worse on our end than when she went off to college; it is harder to get to her location physically should something* happen, but she is also much closer to my parents, Dad and Lily, and my stepsisters, who all live in southern California, as well as our good friend Hallie in Colorado. It’s not as though, should they need help, there isn’t family available. (There has already been much excited talk about a Thanksgiving in 2017 out west. While I do remember California Thanksgivings as weirdly warm, today this is something I would welcome, and wow, do I miss the west coast— it’s been a couple years.)
On their end, though- and really, their end is the important one- things sound good. Exciting, mostly, still; new, different. Broke as hell in that twenty- something way where you live mostly on starches, salt, laughter, friends and love— who remembers that? You don’t forget that. Those people, that time in life still means so much to me, despite perspective and growth. I wouldn’t repeat it- so much chaos and uncertainty!- but it was a good time while I was in it, and I’m glad they’re going out of their way to make an adventure of it.
It’s very strange to think of her out there now, living in that city, in that state, this person who lived with us for the last twenty- something years, who travelled from California to Texas to England to D.C. to Baltimore, that tiny person who grew inside me, gained autonomy, and pretty much never stopped moving afterward. Not strange in a bad way- quite the opposite, really: she’s out there, an independent agent, and that’s always been the entire point. It’s a wonderfully, weirdly liberating thought: she could be doing anything, but I’m pretty sure she’s got this.
* The ever- ominous “something” that could happen: like what, exactly? A burst appendix, or a car accident, or a hundred thousand other things that I cannot control but somehow, like one of Skinner’s pigeons, I believe in my animal brain I could somehow prevent through the power of magical thinking or possibly, my totem-like, mama-bear presence. It is ridiculous, it is how I feel, it is real: I both honor this thing and poke endless fun at it.