When I was little, I used to get “The Feeling.” (No, not THAT feeling, Dirty Minds — that one came later.) I was probably around George’s age when I would occasionally look around and think, “I’m not supposed to be here.” It wasn’t just an out-of-sorts kind of feeling — it was an all-out I’m-living-an-altered-existence-and-these-aren’t-my-people kind of feeling. It always unnerved me. Always made me re-examine who I was and what kind of life I wanted to live.
It happened again yesterday.
I was sitting by the Opryland Hotel pool watching my kids swim. I had a Corona Light in hand (in a can, no less) because the hotel pool was out of wine. And I actually had a little light-hearted argument with the pool bartender that went something like this, “You’re out of wine on the ONE NIGHT I’m staying here?! Can I get it at another restaurant and bring it here?” (After all, there are at least 193 restaurants under this roof.) He was not amused or willing to make concessions.
I begrudgingly took my sweaty Corona in my sweaty hand and hunkered down by the pool with my book. The kids were having a blast. They had the place to themselves, there was an evening pool movie on the schedule, and the sun was blazingly hot.
And then came the music. Blaring country music. BLARING. Loud enough to make my head swim. And it wasn’t just some benign Taylor Swift or the Dixie Chicks, it was hard-care, twang-filled, I-just-lost-my-love-and-wrecked-my-truck country.
There were a few tables of people around me laughing and talking and clinking their aluminum cans together in celebratory conversation. Friends hugged friends. They looked like people I might know, but I didn’t.
In my normal state of mind, I would have introduced myself, would have joined them. But I had “The Feeling,” and it rendered me incapable of any kind of movement. I just sat there and thought, “What the hell have I done?”
Halfway in between my old home and my new home, I felt like I’d tumbled into Diagon Alley. I kept waiting for owls to come hooting through the bar, for rats to run across my toes.
And The Feeling this time? It was loneliness. Pure, unadulterated loneliness. Yes, my beloved husband was anxiously waiting for us a mere five hours away. Yes, my children were all safe and sound and happy. But in all honesty, we were on each other’s nerves.
The last few weeks of this journey have been so wonderful… and so painful at the same time. As much as I’ve loved seeing my wonderful family and friends and saying proper goodbyes, it’s also been a bit like ripping a Band-Aid off… slooooooowly.
Now we’re in the In Between. Today, when all my kids wake from their less-than-stellar night of sleep, we’ll make the final push and unload the U-Haul.
And then we’ll have a new home. A new way of life. We’ll make new friends. We’ll miss our old friends. We’ll laugh and we’ll cry. I’ll probably cry more than most. It hits me out of nowhere, the crying. One minute I’ll be fine, and the next minute, I’ve lost it.
But life continues, right? And we’ll make it good. We always do. We’ll get new license plates and drivers’ licenses. We’ll tour the kids’ schools and buy their uniforms. We’ll figure out where the post office is and where our favorite restaurants are. We’ll get library cards and find walking trails and re-arrange our furniture.
Today, we say hello to our new home.