It will be another full month in the hotel. Upon hearing our stay was to be extended another 2-3 weeks, my first thought was gratitude that I’d get my money’s worth out of the crock pot, double burner, George Forman grill, plates, and utensils I’d bought. Well, maybe that was my second thought. The first thought might not have been in gratitude’s realm. But it should have been. We have a place to stay and money to feed ourselves, we are all healthy, Sam has a job of some sort, and we are waiting for a brand spanking new house to be built for us.
Insert Bella quote: “But it’s taking a long tiiiiiime!”
This is her whine for everything lately. And she’s not wrong… The “drive” to Malcolm’s school every morning through Honolulu traffic–a tedious crawl at 5mph for 45 minutes. The wait for her frozen french toast sticks to cook in the microwave–which, incidentally smells less like armpits, but seems to have become less efficient (correlation between BO and power?). Just now–when her My Little Pony show on Netflix freezes to buffer… Things take a long time. Especially when one is waiting for them.
I think the hardest part about the situation is not being able to settle. Not really. We made it here to Hawaii. Good. We are learning our way around; I can drive to school, Target, and the Commissary (even though it is closed indefinitely due to Government Shut Down. Yey.) without a GPS. Excellent. Sam has a job, though no one is clear on what it actually is. We did find a church. I joined a Bible Study. These are all extremely helpful in feeling like I have a life. But when someone says, “Let’s go home,” the kids’ faces flicker confusion. I have taken to qualifying “home” with “hotel.” It’s never one or the other. Because it is neither. I am a creature of habit. I like excitement but I also like knowing what to expect. Routine is good for me. I’m like a 4 year old in that way. Routine makes time pass pleasantly while you wait.
While Sam was deployed I lived hour to hour. The gym will burn a couple of hours. Just make it til lunch. Just til nap time! It’s almost time to make dinner. Almost kids’ bedtime, then you can watch tv! etc. Then we found out we’d be moving overseas again. To somewhere I didn’t want to go. When Sam came home, we had a month to get used to each other again, fly around the east coast to say goodbye to family again, and get ready for PackingPaLooza. Three sets of movers would be coming. And I was pregnant! A “Welcome Home Baby”! I bought maternity clothes fit for a tropical climate. We were put on the housing list! Thank you, little embryo! The kids were excited about a new baby and kept asking how small it was. Everything was working out!
And then it wasn’t. I lost it about an hour after being at the doctor for the test. It was there. And then it wasn’t. It was just gone. I knew more terror and grief in that moment and the days to follow than I’d ever known during three years of deployments. But we had to get on a plane. The movers would be coming soon and we had to get back to El Paso and prepare.
The first wave was for things going back into storage. They were all very nice. They did a good job. I bought them pizza for lunch. That night I went to bed and realized they had stolen all of my favorite gold jewelry. Every piece held precious sentimental value from milestones in my life. Every piece held great monetary value. Every piece was too expensive to replace. They were just gone.
The next week the other movers came and took the rest of our belongings away. We spent the next three weeks on inflatable chairs and mattresses. A few days in a hotel. Then we got on another plane. And went into another hotel. Which brings us to now.
A couple of weeks ago, when I bought the burners, crockpot, grill, etc, I also got some shelves and a stacked drawer contraption. This was the first step in considerably improving my mood. I had realized that part of the reason I was losing my mind in this place was not that the two rooms we live in are small, cramped, and inefficiently arranged, but that because they were so there was no where to put our things. What possessions we had were crammed in corners, spilling over nightstands, stacked in walkways, etc. It felt like were were about to pack up and leave at any moment. But we weren’t.
Hense, the shelving, ceramic dishes, and dispensing of all suitcases from sight. We live here. I have constructed a three tiered metal shelf. I have put down roots.
Now all we need is a house, our stuff, a defined job for Sam, some friends, and we’ll be golden.
First World Problems.
Shouldn’t I be more grateful? More flexible? Have more perspective? I can talk a good game, but when it is reality– this is what I am. What is my contentment measured in? What is it anchored to? A house of my own? My material goods surrounding me in an aesthetically pleasing fashion? A daily routine comprised of activities structured around my entertainment? Basically, it should be all about me.
My roots are showing.
They aren’t attractive.
Bella’s right. It’s taking a long time. I’m thinking now that perhaps I need a long time to get ready. Since finding out six months ago that we were moving here, I’ve done very little to combat the resistance I’ve felt. Writing it that way just made complete sense–I’ve been in a Resistance. Had the beret and everything. On the outside, I was on board. I was going to make it work. Everything was going to be Ok. But when darkness fell, when faces turned from me, I was unfolding maps, digging tunnels under kitchen pantries, and devising secret codes.
But I’ve been made.
And it’s time to get over myself.
I need new roots. And I need to resurface from my bunker. I want to be on board for real. I want to know, not just believe that everything is going to be OK. I don’t want to hide myself, my real self. I want my roots to show and not be ashamed.