We did it.  We packed our life into nondescript Uhaul boxes, shed all the things we no longer need, and we moved.

Our life looked very neat in carefully labeled, uniform brown boxes.  And then came the chaotic work of unpacking. This adventure has been so much more than moving. It was not a case of simply picking up a life, planting it somewhere new, and letting it continue growing. How we do life has changed entirely. Six weeks in, we’re still finding our new normal.

People have asked how we’ve settled. And I suppose we’ve settled alright – in the way that things in your junk drawer settle after you slam it shut, jumbling all the pieces. Settled.  But not organized and neat and orderly. A few stubborn boxes have refused to unpack themselves.  Mackenzie has only recently fallen into any semblance of routine. And I still wander the aisles at most stores trying to find my way around, forgetting to buy tape in a desperate hunt for pasta.  So while the pieces have fallen into the place, now begins the task of making sure they’re in the right places, so to speak.

I struggle some days.  I miss the stimulation and challenge of my job. And I miss the gratification of achieving tangible goals. Nothing feels better than shredding through a to-do list. But the only thing getting shredded in this house is an unattended roll of paper towel. Made beds are jumped on. A well organized cupboards are compromised by little helping hands. Baskets of pristinely folded laundry are (almost always) unfolded at least once before they are finally put away.  And the last quad venti toffee nut latte I purchased – after a very long and sleepless night –  was unceremoniously dumped on the middle of the living room floor just 3 sips in.  That was a particularly dark day…

Staying home is amazing and challenging and terrifying and wonderful all at once.  I wonder if and how I’ll successfully transition back to the workforce once M is in school.  I struggle with the fact that what I contribute to our family looks entirely different that it used to.  And on rough days when I make chicken nuggets and oven fries, I feel like I should have done better since I’ve been home all day and haven’t really gotten anything else done.

But it’s so rewarding. My days are a blur of twirling and dancing and new words and sticky fingers and baked cookies and colouring pages and giggles and art projects and watching Jungle Book for the third time that day. Even on my most frustrating, exhausting days, M is quick to look at me and say, “Sorry, mommy. A hug?”  And a hug really does make it all better.

For the first time I feel like I know my child.  I know how it looks when she’s getting tired.  I know what she means when she searches for words she can’t yet find and points and babbles.  I know the difference between a scared cry and a sad cry and a tired cry and a hurt cry.   I know how to get her to sit still to have her hair braided.  I know when to draw a line in the sand. And I know when to side step a confrontation. I know what she’s saying when she expresses her self excitedly in a little toddler squeak.  I know I’ve absolutely made the right choice.  And I realize I really haven’t settled at all.