“Are you settling in?” I don’t know how to answer that. I understand it is the conversational equivalent of “How are ya’?” when one has just moved to town, and people know you well enough to speak, but not well enough to know what say, exactly. I generally answer in a generally positive way, because the person asking doesn’t really want to know the details of my life, and settling, or not.
How does one define settled? In some ways I am feeling decidedly un-settled. Almost everything I own is stacked in a two car garage and will be until May, most likely. Our van has been parked in Maine for a month, because the United States Postal Service seems to have lost the title so we can’t import it. I went grocery shopping this week and remembered that I can’t buy sherry at the grocery store in Canada. One of the children’s favorite lunches is the Pioneer Woman’s Sherried Tomato Soup, and I had all the ingredients except the sherry, but I couldn’t buy sherry in the grocery store, and the liquor store was closed. I sat in the borrowed Honda Pilot we are driving and said, out loud, to no one in particular, “Why is everything so complicated?”
But those moments, while real, are pretty rare. In the moment to moment I am feeling more settled than I have in years. I haven’t had to rush the children out the door since we got here. I haven’t told anyone to “just hurry up! We are LATE!” Every morning at 8:30 Jonathan sits at the dining room table and begins his day, and the children and I go to the living room and begin school. There is no commute. We can finish up breakfast at 8:15 and have plenty of time to get dressed and make it to our 8:30 start time. I have baked bread, and made petite pain au chocolate for breakfast, and had people in for meals, and been to other peoples’ homes for meals, and I have still been able to keep up with the laundry. We have been to the local public library (twice) and the children go outside to play on most afternoons – weather permitting.
I spent the last year feeling like I was doing everything poorly because I didn’t have the time to do anything well. I felt like I dropped more plates than I kept spinning, and I told the children “No, we don’t have time” more than I was able to make time to say “yes.” Now I feel like I can breathe. In November the mackerdoodle asked me a question and I answered, “Ask me that again when we aren’t in the car, and I can look up the answer for you.” She answered, “We are always in the car.” Today she asked me “What do penguins and polar bears drink, if they live where the water is frozen?” I Googled it. (Penguins drink salt water, and Polar Bears don’t drink at all! Isn’t that interesting?)
So, are we settling in? In all the ways that count. The Lord is teaching me, one minor inconvenience at a time, that settled and unpacked are entirely different things.