Sadness spread like wildfire in my heart. I stared out the plane window as we made the decent home- Fresno California. In April, we visited the place I am proud to call my hometown, the place where I spent my first 25 years of life- St. Louis Missouri. My chest fills with sadness and my eyes with tears.
I haven't lived there for almost as long as I did. I don't remember what is where and which highway is which. I haven't been to a St. Louis Cardinals Game in decades. I feel so removed from the girl who lived there and that makes me so sad.
I felt homesick for a home that doesn’t exist the same anyway. My dad is died three years ago. Being there without him still feels sharp because in California I can still pretend he is just a flight or a phone call away. My numerous (we moved a lot) childhood homes are long gone, filled with other memories and other families. Neighborhoods and shopping Centers are unfamiliar. My Mom moved about an hour away from the city. It's all so different.
People assume moving far away is easy on the mover- it was a choice, so it isn’t hard. That statement lies far from truth. The older I get the more guilt and sadness I feel living so far away from my family. I don't see my niece and nephews grow up, and they miss that time with my boys too. Michael and I have talked about moving there, if all the right stars lined up, (most importantly, a job transfer because he wants to stay with his amazing company.) Moving back home is a thought that fills my heart with excitement and terror. I don't know anything about Special Education and the School Districts there. How do we just pick up and leave our many therapists? How do we start over from scratch?
The truth is, we long for something more than we have here, it's lonely without roots. I pray that God will give me us answers, whatever they might be.There is an amazing shop called The Minifig shop in Kirkwood. A 3,500 square foot showroom featuring new and collector legos that were so much fun to see. You need to check it out if you are in St. Louis!
A year ago now I was struggling with horrible pain in both shoulders, despite arthroscopic surgery, injections, nerve conduction tests, acupuncture, cupping, physical therapy, anti inflammatory supplements, and Advil out the wazoo. I finally found answers, although it wasn’t the answers I was hoping for— I have three herniated discs in my cervical spine. I was crushed, exhausted from pain and so low on hope. Then my lower back started hurting and I knew I was screwed. My primary Doc requested an MRI which then showed two impinged lumbar disks.
I called my friend Wendy because she helps me make sense of the nonsensical. I started working with a personal trainer to strengthen my neck and upper back. You can’t fix joints (which the spine is technically) once they go bad, but you can strengthen surrounding muscles which can take pressure off an angry joint. I realized how extra important it is for me to focus on making health an essential part of my life. It took a few months, but I’m no longer in intense pain. I stopped taking Advil. Most days I’m a 1 or a 2 on a pain scale from 1-10. I can’t raise my arms all the way up too quickly. And although it is probably inevitable, surgery can and should (according to my doc) be put off for now.
Sometimes life changes instantly with horrific news, cancer, death, loss. But sometimes, not usually so fast- life changes for the good. It’s easy to forget to notice. I just realized how much better I feel.
Feeling better after feeling bad gives you a new lease on life. Carpe the freaking diem. I realized the pan-stupid-demic had made us all hermits. I am a capital H homebody- but this was next level, with a toe grazing depression. After focusing on being in pain for so long, life felt so completely unfun. I felt completely unfun. Parker was constantly begging to go away-every day it was somewhere new. Mom- Can we go to Disney Land? Mom, let's go to New York! Mom, we are going to go to Paris!!!
I knew it was time to rip out of my comfort zone, and that's when we booked the trip to St. Louis. It had been three years since I had been back and I missed my family so much.
We also went to Disney Land in January...
And Universal Studios in May.
We are so lucky to live in California with access to so many amazing places just a road trip away. Everything has a season, and I will continue to live the one we are in now with intention. Each time we go somewhere it gets easier and easier. I'm remembering that life is so much more than pain and obligation, and that childhoods are for making magic when possible.