For 228 days we lived in transition. On day 229 we moved home.
A few months ago, I wrote about how the derecho took our home. How it was traumatic, and sad, and infuriating. We were lucky; our house could be rebuilt and we had insurance to replace our cars. We found a rental to live in and insurance to pay for it. Again, we were very lucky.
Still, seven months of watching our home be torn down to the studs and rebuilt was an emotional experience.
It’s the house we bought as newlyweds. It’s the house we brought our babies home to. The floors caught our children’s first steps, the walls heard our laughter and fights, and the windows were smudged with our dog’s nose prints. Watching those things be torn down was gut-wrenching in ways I was totally unprepared for.
I felt like we were in a holding pattern for that season.
We couldn’t fully let down and enjoy our home, despite having birthdays and holidays in this little rental house. It was lovely.
But it wasn’t ours.
The neighborhood was quiet, we had sidewalks for the first time in our lives and folks were rather friendly.
But it felt so foreign.
I missed my neighborhood; *hood* though it may be. I know that the house across the street is a trap house. I know what kids to look out for. I know when to avoid trying to get out of my driveway on a weekday morning because my street turns into a drag race. I know my neighbors. I longingly awaited the day when we got to go home.
March 26th came and I was like a kid on Christmas morning.
I leaped out of bed at 5 a.m because I was just too excited to sleep! We spent the day with giddy joy as we moved and set up our home. It was more than we could have ever dreamed of. Our girls were ecstatic to come home to their “new” rooms and we gathered with our families to bless the new-old home. I had forgotten how loud my neighborhood was, but I slept like a rock to the hum of loud trucks, motorcycles, and folks in the street.
And yet, I felt empty.
Maybe I was still processing all of what happened in 2020. Maybe it was getting used to a home I should, but don’t know. It could have been seeing the destruction still evident outside of the home. Settling into home will be a process, though one that I am glad I get to experience since so many folks in Cedar Rapids will never get to go home.
So why write about moving home?
Because I’ve learned something about how we tick as humans. We long for a place of our own, that we know and where we can fully let our hair down. We long for community. I used to think I’d only be happy with a white picket fence and a Norman Rockwell existence, but I’ve found that yeeting my small child across the fence to play next door, yelling to my neighbors about where the cops were last night, and watching life happen on my block is just about paradise.
We can bloom where we are planted, friends. Perfection is sometimes a matter of perception. I’ve never been so happy to be home, and I have an appreciation for it that I didn’t have on August 9th, 2020.
Press on, friends.
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