You do things a different way

You find new things that comfort you.

A cup of tea in the perfect spot by the window. The notebooks from the stationary store down the street. Breakfast at that one restaurant with the really good lemon pancakes. You find new ways to breathe, different clothes to wear, new ways to look at people on the street.

You can change. You can see things with eyes that have not seen this before. The sun sets in the sky oddly. It becomes a familiar orb, foreign no longer.

You find the perfect market stall, the one with the piles of glowing fruit and the man with the exaggerated kindness. You make friends with his wife. You find new ways of cooking things. These are the things that I know to be true about traveling, about moving to new places.

It is 3:00 in the morning and I can't sleep. It probably isn't surprising, but what is surprising is that I haven't been all that nervous before now. It began with the packing. I have pared our things down to the very basic, the most special, the smallest things, and yet, as I pack, I see how much we will have to leave behind. We will give more things away, and the most special will be waiting for us, one day, in a box that we will open and exclaim over. They are only things.

I remember my sense of loss when I moved to California from British Columbia. It took me years, and I went through the loops, around and around the culture shock trails, before I came to where I am today. Which is to say that I identify strongly with Joni Mitchell- Canadian born, yet singing of California as home. How amazing, that we can have more than one home.

It is the parenting parts that have empty spaces. I'm not sure exactly how this works, how we adjust together to the new tastes in our mouths. But in a way, it is like every part of parenting; there are always gaps, you are always figuring it out as you go, it is always a different child's month for testing you in ways that make you reach for the farthest bits of strength, pulling them into yourself because you need to be stronger than the days ahead.

You find the paths that everyone loves, the new birds and flowers. You play in the waves. You find new soap, new types of clothing. You color together on paper that feels different than the paper at home. You watch excitedly through the window of the train, counting camels, sheep with long tails, elephants.

You listen to each other, you kiss and hug relentlessly, you write and you draw and you tell stories at night, when everyone is drifting off to sleep under a different night.