Conventional wisdom says that one should refrain from making any major life changes for a year after the death of a spouse. No moving, no new jobs, no getting remarried. I followed this advice, more or less. I did change jobs, but I'd been actively seeking a new position before John died, so it felt like the completion of a task already begun, not an attempt to run from the circumstances of my widowhood. In any case, as the newly-single mother of two very young children, making radical changes was significantly more difficult than just slogging through the known, so for the most part, I stayed the course.
It was about 18 months after John's death that I dated Mr. Coffee, and it was 20 months in that I put my condo on the market and moved in with CV. I'm glad I waited to date, and I'm glad I waited to move. I had fun dating, although I haven't dated since and really haven't wanted to. The time I spent with Mr. Coffee marked the start of a lot of changes in my life, and for whatever reason served to push me into a realization that I was angry, unhappy, and not nearly as far along in the grief process as I had thought. All of those realizations were very much to the good, and pushed me towards the decision to put the condo on the market, a decision that has always felt totally right to me, but that would not have felt right a moment sooner than it was made.
The move cross-country and the current job fell in my lap, in a way, but also not a moment too soon and not a moment too late, at least as far as my mental state is concerned, and, frankly, as far as the twins are concerned developmentally. They handled the move with grace and aplomb, and we've had this summer to get settled and gear up for their first fall as back-to-schoolers (although I guess that makes them simply "to-schoolers"). Preschool begins the day after Labor Day, three full days a week of Spanish immersion in a Montessori-influenced setting. I'm excited, they seem excited. We're also making forays into the world of classes; Maddie and Riley will both take short sessons (six weeks) of soccer and ballet starting in October. The classes are 30 minutes each, and seem like a good chance to have fun in a low-pressure, community center setting. In principle, I'm adamently against kids being overscheduled and adamently for kids having a lot of free time to explore their own interests, but by the same token, both Maddie and Riley have expressed interest in trying out some new things, so I figure we'll get our feet wet.
Maddie and Riley use words like "ponder" and "tuck" now. Maddie will definatly declare that she's not talking to me right now when I do something to wrong her. Riley is potty trained, a basically painless process that ended up taking about three weeks and tapping of my maternal reserves. We read a crazy number of books and both kids are often found on the couch, paging through their favorite tome from the weekly trip to the library with the nanny.
I feel like all I've said since I've gotten back to Portland is that this is where we're supposed to be, and this post is just more of the same. After two-and-a-half years of feeling bitter and cheated and angry and sad and stalled out, life feels like it's on fast-forward now. I don't feel like I've changed or that I'm changing so much, exactly, but like I've settled into the right spot. Maddie and Riley seem to be taking off, and I am more able to enjoy watching them and helping them along. I still get stressed out and irritated, but most of the time I'm happy. It's a nice. Makes for dull blogging, but it's nice.