Starting Over (Again)

I knew that I would move to Grand Rapids one day. I knew it as we drove away in 2018, returning to the Detroit airport, after spending our one-year anniversary with his family on a long weekend. The car bounced along, glorious green trees stretching to the sky, long luscious branches extending so I high I had to look straight up to see them. The air was clear, the sky was blue, the water was clean, and the people were utterly kind. I cried and moaned and said “I don’t wanna go!”

It was that weekend that my husband decided to change his PhD focus so he could begin to work with data sets in the medical field. It was that weekend that my mind was made up. I was moving. I was taking my kids. That was that.

Obviously, it wasn’t that simple. That was three years, two bar mitzvahs, a destination wedding, a totaled car, a parent death, a pregnancy and birth, a Supreme Court Justice, and a Pandemic ago. It sure felt like forty years had passed. But I kept the faith; I kept focusing on my dream.

We moved up in March of 2021. We had driven across the country in three days with three cats and our infant son. To say it was challenging is an understatement. I had to leave my two older sons behind; the court rules said so. I told myself I was just paving the way for them, that they would join me shortly. I knew I had an uphill battle but I was up for it. I needed this; we needed this. Our mental health depended on it.

We arrived and slowly began to establish our lives. It was daunting. Even after filling a whole storage container, we still had to leave 90% of our furniture behind. We purged so many things. So we had to start over.

That’s when I fell in love with Wayfair. It was my go-to app for everything I needed to build a better

The scary part is leaving it all behind and stepping into a whole new world with no parachute. It’s terrifying.

As you can tell, it took time to better our home. We slept on our mattress on the floor of our empty bedroom for weeks. Nothing felt real. Everything was new and different and uncomfortable. As Brené Brown puts it: it was a real FFT moment (Fucking First Time). Nothing felt right but I forced myself to hold onto the joy and freedom instead of the shear terror.

As we pieced together our new life, we had a lot to learn. Lawn care is a necessary thing in Michigan. Plumbing is not supposed to knock loudly like a poltergeist coming through the kitchen sink. Windows that open should have screens. Windows that don’t open should not. Why don’t these window open? Old houses in our town typically only have one bathroom upstairs and that means sharing with gross teenagers (BLEH)! Rule number one for our house: Nothing is level. Rule number two: see rule number one. Our new catch phrase these days is “Just add it to the list, honey.” We’ve found so many things we want to repair, adjust, or correct, it’s like that book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.” I’m laugh-crying right now.

Did I mention our center beam in the basement is split and cracked all the way down the middle? That’s normal, right??

The point is, starting over is bananas. There is no right way to do it. Truly. Anyone who tells you THIS is the right way or THAT is the wrong things is full of shit. Yes there are articles out there with tips and tricks. I may write one myself. But that’s not the scary part. The scary part is leaving it all behind and stepping into a whole new world with no parachute. It’s terrifying.

The good news, the blessing in all this, was that I wasn’t alone. My husband, the most incredible human I know, was with me every single step along the way. Through the three day car trip, searching for hotels, tuning out our whining cats, coaxing a crying baby, cracking the windows after a bad truck stop meal, listening to the entire audio book “It’s Never Too Late To Sleep Train” (Thank God for Dr. Craig Canapari) to walking through our first home together, jumping all night long with every new creak and crack in this 101 year old house, learning new street names, new gas stations, new grocery stores, and WEATHER! We never had weather in Arizona. Now, we check it daily. I am so grateful to have gone on this wild adventure.

It’s getting better everyday. No matter what happens, in the great scheme of things, compared to where I started, I know this is true: Life. Is. Good.

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