The kids and I were discussing our upcoming adventure recently, and as sometimes happens the talk shifted to a melancholy review of all the things they would miss once we leave. In the past I’ve tried to deflect this sort of talk and, playing Pollyanna, get them to focus on all the good things about the move. This time I suggested we make a list – starting with all the things we would miss. Naturally, for the kids, friends topped the list. Friends, their schools and teachers, then after some reflection the beach, scenery, weather and theme parks were added. Never mind that we haven’t been to a theme park in years – my middle school student is headed to Magic Mountain with the other honor students on Tuesday so it’s on her mind!
It might seem odd, but friends don’t top my list of things I’ll miss – at this point our face to face friends have dwindled in number and even those that live nearby we see infrequently. Our situation (and lack of ability to socialize like we used to) has isolated us. Of course I will miss a few special people (Lu ) but at this stage in my life most of my friends are already spread far and wide.
I will miss the ocean. I don’t swim in it (too cold) or surf (never learned) and while I used to sail I don’t do that any longer either. But it isn’t ocean activities that I’ll miss – it’s the presence of the ocean. The mercurial moods, the vast expansive horizon, and the smell, oh the smell of ocean air. That wonderful mix of fresh salty clean open air scent underlain by the faintly rank notes of drying kelp and dead fish! If a scent could be said to effervesce it’s ocean air, popping against your nose like champagne bubbles, enveloping you, threading through your hair so that hours later you can recapture it by closing your eyes and bringing a fistful of locks to your nose. Sun, sand and salt. The shock of cold water on your feet as you stroll along the tide-line. Laughter and seagulls and the splashing of waves ashore. That’s what I’ll miss. If I don’t make it back, ship my ashes west to the Pacific Ocean!
After suitable period of mourning for all the things we will miss I asked the kids – “OK, now what won’t you miss? What will you be glad to leave behind?” I believe they exclaimed “THE TRAILER” in unison! That was quickly followed by small cramped spaces, the RV park, certain neighbors (others we will miss) and the lack of an outdoor area in which to play. Thinking of things we will be glad to leave behind us was a definite mood lifter!
Myself I will be happy to leave behind our entire living situation – the small space (both inside and out), the lack of privacy, the unending noise, having to walk the dogs instead of let them out to run, and the endless anxiety about just how we would be able to manage to stay in this unpleasant living arrangement! You know it’s bad when you hate your living situation but worry that you won’t be able to maintain it! I look forward to more space, privacy, the ability to have more control over my environment and my family’s wellbeing, and having more adult family members in my kids’ lives.
So to top it off I asked the kids – “And what are you looking forward to?” Their list includes lots more space, having their own rooms (we hope) in a bigger house, farm animals, joining 4-H, getting to know our distant family, organic foods, and the forest. My youngest (my son) summed it up for all of us when he said:
“I’m looking forward to having a good life!”