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can you go home when you've never been?

Growing up with an abusive parent is a lot like weathering the big ol’ storms we had in DFW this week without the aid of a meteorologist – you might get some warning, but you never know exactly how bad the damage is going to be, how it will disrupt your life, or how bad it will hurt. You don’t know how long you have until the next storm. You don’t know whether to try and hide from it or to try and weather the storm. You have to deal with the fallout (dented cars, power outages, flooded roads) whether you want to or not. You learn to survive from storm to storm, rather than getting to enjoy the sunny days in between. You might be able to escape by going inside but, eventually, you will have to deal with it.

I think the time is coming for me to deal with it.

My mother-in-law arrived yesterday to pick up our son. The two of them will be taking the train down to Louisiana this weekend to attend her 53rd high school reunion. After that, they will visit some extended family (how cool is it for our 6-year-old to meet some great-aunts/uncles and 2nd/3rd cousins for the first time?!?) and then fly up to Seattle, where he will stay with her until we arrive in the moving truck in a couple of weeks. A couple of weeks. I can’t believe how fast the time is going!

Texas #6

Fort Worth Stockyards, one of my favorite tourist-y attractions

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Oregon #6

Tillamook Cheese Factory – I am totally taking our son here this summer!

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Had a long phone conversation with my Dad today, which was nice. He’s been trying to get ahold of me for a few days, but with the lack of voice due to my resident plague, it’s been tough to talk. Even today’s conversation resulted in some quite spectacular bouts of coughing. He was telling me about his plans for growing his business this year (he’s a financial planner) and I shared my still somewhat undefined goal of taking better care of myself this year. I know I’m the weakest link here, health-wise. So. Taking care of me is the challenge. Now I just have to figure out how to do it.

You may be wondering why I don’t know my Dad all that well, considering I’m 30 years old and all. Well, here it is in a nutshell: my parents got divorced when I was 5. I grew up with my older sister and my mom, and the latter was vehemently opposed to us having any sort of relationship with our father. She was also a physically and emotionally abusive parent; my sister and I both bear deep scars from our childhood. It has actually been less than a year since my sister and I told our Dad and Step-Mom about the abuse and have really opened up about it in general. It’s funny, you spend so many years trying to hide this terrible secret, and then once you tell the first people (besides our husbands), it’s like opening a floodgate. Telling is part of the healing, I think. Telling washes some of the memories from your consciousness as it pours out of your mouth. I have spent the past 12 years, since I moved out of my mother’s house, trying to forgive and move on, but I’m not there yet. It’s really hard to forgive someone for something that she won’t admit ever happened. It’s really hard to get over your anger at her for that and for everything that she did to you. It’s really hard to try and have a functional, adult relationship with a woman who lies as easily as she breathes and has no clear sense of reality.

I’m working on it.

Texas #5

Needfire, the awesome Celtic rock band

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Oregon #5

The local music scene, in general – I can’t wait to see the Portland Cello Project live!

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The packing has pretty much hit a standstill this week. I think I’ve nearly reached the end of this sinus infection turned full blown respiratory infection turned irritating asthma cough that keeps me from sleeping at night (did I mention the little case of pink eye I also enjoyed this week?), but there go my only two weeks of semi-vacation this summer. I was talking to some friends this evening and had a revelation: I have not taken care of myself this year. It sounds a little captain obvious, I know, but you know how something becomes much more real when you say it out loud? I have not taken care of myself and I believe that to be the major cause of the many illnesses I have contracted. It’s the sad, cold truth of being an adult: if you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will. So. Now that I’ve had the revelation, I just need to figure out what to do about it.

In the meantime, I have been enjoying late night hours spent on the web site Pinterest – ever been? It’s a place to catalog pictures of things that you love, which you can sort into categories and leave pithy comments about. You “pin” these things to your “boards” – much like a virtual scrapbook or bulletin board. I love it. It is so much fun pinning the things that I love around the internet, uploading photos of my own and perusing the boards of other members. Apparently, there is a waiting list to become a member if you just try to sign up outright, but you can cut to the front of the line (I know – so fancy!) if you receive an invite from someone who’s already a member. Want to check it out? Leave me your e-mail address and I’ll happily help you line-jump. I don’t know if that makes me cool or naughty, you decide.

Texas #4

The stereotypical Texas cowboy

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Oregon #4

The stereotypical Oregon hippie

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I think there was a movie with that name, perhaps. Obviously a very memorable one 😉

I told my husband about this blog yesterday and asked if perhaps he would write a few posts, as well. It sparked an interesting conversation, actually. While I seem to be thinking more about things, places, events having to do with our location, he was talking more about people – friends of the past versus friends who can accompany you into what you want the future to be. I’ll let him fill you in on that, though. Hopefully.

How many times have you moved in your life? Have you ever gotten to the point where you are so tired of going through things, you just want to say, A) “Just throw it all in boxes – we’ll sort it out when we get there!” or B) “Let’s just leave it here – we can start fresh when we get there!” Thankfully, neither of us have hit that point yet, but I am anticipating at least one day of tired-of-purging-and-packing-itis for one or both of us before the big day. In the meantime, our local Freecycle group is definitely reaping the rewards of us paring down our possessions pre-move!

One thing making this particular move more difficult is having multiple destinations for our stuff – and no, I’m not just talking Portland and Tacoma. We have implemented a color-coding system for this move to keep track of what is going where: Pink labels are for my things that are coming to Portland with me (both work and personal); Orange labels are for my husband’s classroom materials that are going to Tacoma – they won’t be unpacked until he moves into his new classroom; Yellow labels are for my husband’s personal things that are going to Tacoma; Green labels are for my son’s personal things that are going to Tacoma (have you ever packed up an entire fleet of Thomas the Tank Engine trains?); Blue labels are for things belonging to all of us that are going into storage. A great example of blue would be our kitchen. Since we’re both living with parents temporarily, we won’t need any kitchenware, but neither do we want to get rid of everything and have to buy all new when we get our own place again. Still to be decided: whether storage will be in my Dad’s basement in Portland or my MIL’s garage in Tacoma. The basement is climate controlled, but the garage doesn’t require carrying boxes down a flight of stairs. Hmm…

Texas #3

The Texas State Fair, held in Dallas every Fall

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Oregon #3

The Portland Rose Festival, held in Portland every Spring

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The plan was to sleep in today. Clearly, that went well. What can I say? I coughed myself awake. Sometimes the will of the body truly is stronger than the will of the mind. Not in the case of dreaming, though. Since the day we made the decision to move, all of my dreams (explicitly or implicitly) have been about the upcoming move, the changes to our lives, the upheaval and renesting. Mind, really? Sometimes I do just want to sleep.

I had one of those despairing moments of packing last night. You know, when you look around and realize that all of your semi-serious packing attempts of the last few weeks really hasn’t done all that much to get things boxed up and ready to go? I had forgotten how much waiting is involved in moving. It reminds me of the unofficial slogan of my college crew team, “hurry up and wait”. As in, hurry up and get to the boathouse on time, dress down, walk the boat down the hill, get on the water and…wait for the coach to come out on the launch and tell us what the workout is. I’m torn between trying to savor these last days in Texas and the desire to hurry up and move so that the thing is over and done with.

Texas #2

Tollways, especially the George Bush Turnpike – Totally worth the money to drive on these awesome roads

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Oregon #2

The bridges of Portland – St. Johns, Fremont, Broadway, Steel, Burnside, Morrison, Hawthorne, Marquam, Ross Island and Sellwood

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They say it takes 30 days to create a new habit, so I figure this is a good time to start getting my thoughts organized on this new chapter in my life. Leaving Texas, bidding farewell to my husband and son, moving in with parents who I hardly know and taking on a new job – 30 days and counting. It’s outrageously cool of them to even offer, of course; I mean, who really wants their 30-year-old daughter moving in? The set up is nice, too. My room is downstairs, in the basement (with big windows, though – the house is built into a hill), spacious, and I have my own full bathroom. I have to admit that I’m looking forward to having my own space for a while. I love my boys, but I’m ready for a break. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that.

We’ve already started packing and I wish I’d taken some pictures of the apartment before the boxes came out. It seemed too messy to document, at the time, but now I’m regretting that twinge of embarrassment over the piles of paper in the office and the toys in the living room. It’s like refusing to let someone take your picture when you’re 15 because you think you’re fat and ugly: you look back at 25 and realize how thin and gorgeous you were. You say a silent prayer of thanks that someone took that picture, that you finally have an accurate impression of how things were. And despite mourning the loss of that time in your life, feeling like you should have enjoyed it more, you have evidence that it happened, that you were there, that it mattered.

I’m going to try and begin each day thinking of one thing I love about Texas as an adult and one thing I loved about Oregon as a child.

Texas #1

The wide, open, bright blue sky that seems to surround all of DFW

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Oregon #1

Day trips to Oceanside, my favorite beach in the world

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