Departure Day looks a little different from my (TACCO’s) perspective. It was a day of frenetic activity from which it took three days (past Detroit) to spool down. In some ways our impending departure was not unlike waiting to give birth. Our three monkeys each made their respective appearances late (Keeper was 8 days late), later (Firebolt was 11 days late) and ridiculous (WoodSprite was 12 days tardy to the party). It felt as though I was not ready to enter into each new phase until I set aside some time to honor the transitional process at hand, to acknowledge what chapter was coming to an end and welcome the new one unfolding.
About two weeks prior to our departure, I was speaking with a dear friend as to whether we should even go on this adventure as the house hadn’t yet sold. I expressed my frustration with not being able to wholly commit to the trip because we weren’t free of our ties to Maryland. She patiently listened to me reiterate what we hoped to do this year and also consider what was keeping us here, namely that we hadn’t sold our house, we have family in the area that we love, and that Keeper had been accepted into the STEM Magnet Program by lottery, which is a fantastic opportunity, and one that he was pretty excited about. She then asked me if I had made it a point to cut ties with the house. Wait, what? I hadn’t thought of that.
On the next morning that our kids were all at summer camp and Flight was away on a trip, I carved out some time to honor the current transitional process. Especially over the summer, solo time in our house is a rare thing. I went into my treatment space, got down on my knees and started to pray. I gave thanks for the house that we’d lived and thrived in for the past nearly four years, and acknowledged that we are ready to move on. I also asked for some discernment about whether we should forego our plans entirely, or only go out to the Grand Tetons to witness the solar eclipse and beat feet back to Maryland in time for our kids to start the new school year, or start this adventure regardless of our house selling, or something else I hadn’t even considered.
Within two hours I got a call from the local STEM Magnet Program Manager to let us know that Keeper was not actually enrolled in the program, but was #142 on the waitlist. And, as there are only 100 seats available, the likelihood he would be offered a seat in the program for this upcoming year was close to zero. ??!?! I had called the middle school earlier in the week expressing concern as to whether or not we were on the appropriate email distribution list because we hadn’t heard anything about the STEM Program. The lovely woman who answered my call assured me she’d have the program director get back to me soonest.
Earlier this in the year, Flight had been tracking what he thought was Keeper’s lottery number and watched this set of digits move from number 7 or 8 on the waitlist to having solidly secured a seat in the program. In an uncharacteristic episode of momentary dyslexia, Flight had transposed two of the digits and had tracked someone else’s 6th grader’s progress. Keeper’s actual lottery number started near #170 on the waitlist and had moved up to #142. The key entering argument for sticking around in Maryland and potentially postponing our adventure for another three years had been Keeper’s acceptance into the STEM Program. Without that tie, even with the house still ours and being around the corner form our cousins, we felt a little freer to wheel about. We being I as Flight was about to land in Florida and had no idea what had transpired in the wake of my prayer.
Needless to say a flurry of texts ensued upon his landing and we were able to briefly discuss “What next?!” Flight was not due home until late that evening, Keeper not until the next day, and I still had to collect WoodSprite and Firebolt from their respective camp experiences that afternoon. We were fortunate enough to spend the evening visiting with some new friends (whom I seem to have known forever) new to our recent neck of the woods. But between now and then I had a brief moment to process this game-changing piece of info and realized, “it’s go time.” It was Friday, 21 July, and, a brief look at the calendar indicated we had a narrow window of opportunity to depart.
Things that have been languishing on the to do list now had 9 days to get done. Or not, meaning those items would wait until Flight and I returned to pack out the house when it sells. The action of saying thank you and good-bye to our house allowed me to mentally and emotionally transition our home to Davista. While flight was doing some heavy lifting to get our massive landcraft operational (check out his work here…), I had some detail work to do to assume residence within. A gaggle of our cousins came over for some pool time and pizza and I was heckled for cutting out fabric on the pool deck. The duvet covers that I had planned to make for the girls weren’t yet
finished started and I was determined to knock them out before we left. I finished sewing them the day before we left – it was really important to me that the girls could make their bunks their own. Flight had already helped Keeper make his space his own.
In logging countless hours of research over the last six months (much of which while sucked into Pinterest…), I had read many full-time RVers emphasize the importance of bringing hobbies with you on the road. Because I left that task to the end, maybe because moving my creative work space made our departure real, I had to comb through the Michael’s-like warehouse in our basement thick with palettes for my various hobbies and determine what was both compact enough and critical for my sanity during our deployment. Jewelry-making, knitting, sewing, skin-care products, scrapbooking, card-making, book-making, not to mention building a traveling apothecary (not including the Varsity and JV First Aid Kits – those had already been built) and acupuncture clinic.
At one point Flight came down into the basement after midnight to see me surrounded by knitting needles and yarn from no less than 12 different projects in various states of completion, a traveling sewing kit half-assembled, and paper crafts littering my desk. Sometimes my creative process is confusing to Flight, sometimes perplexing, but he usually gives me a wide berth so long as he can shut the door and contain the chaos. He didn’t know what to make of my sitting in this advanced state of “not the way we want to leave the house when we depart in ten hours.” I assured him this was just my process and all will be good to go by the time we pull away. And with that assurance (?), he went to bed.
In the following hours, I managed to build a sewing kit (the kids will each learn to sew by hand by the end of our travels – I left my sewing machine in our museum), pack my knitting needles and yarn for a few projects (the kids will each learn to knit as well), pack my acupuncture needles and herbs, collect enough paper and envelopes for making cards on the go, and sew two sets of decorative pillow cases for Davista’s living room/galley/dining room/movie theater space. Although there was no sleeping for me until at least Pennsylvania, I needed some last minute quiet time alone in my creative space to express my gratitude by knocking out a few more projects, and to identify the scaffolding for the year’s creative outlets.
Flight woke up to an inspection ready basement, with the rest of the house almost back to museum state. The morning was dedicated to frenetic cleaning, spreading some of our Cascadian Mountain Dogs’ ashes in the backyard where they romped the last of their days, and gathering and shuttling last minute items to Davista. While we departed Davidsonville without a can opener (fortunately we have a Swiss Army Knife and can open cans old school until we get a new one), Keeper’s flip flops (he’s been wearing a pair of mine for shower shoes), Firebolt’s glasses (“It’s okay, Mom, I don’t really need them.” !!!), and plenty of things we have yet to discover, we’re settling into a new way of living and enjoying our time together. Or will, after I get some sleep.