I've lived in Montana for four and a half days now.
But we are not in our home just yet, and our moving truck is in a mysterious location somewhere between California and here. They can't promise us the date when it will arrive. If I didn't have people under my care every minute of the day right now, I'd be tempted to seriously LOSE it on the phone to these people. But I'm choosing to flex and make the most of our week.
We are living in the in between: two adults, two children, and an elderly wiener dog living in one room at a hotel. It's getting old. Obviously.
This hotel...well, I'm not a fan, but they took dogs. That should have told us something. Our room has been cleaned once in 4 days. One day, I heard the "girl" went home sick. The next day, there was a handwritten note on one bed saying she was sorry she couldn't make the bed, but there were things on it. I believe it was two stuffed animals and a child's blankie. I guess they violated her bed-making pre-requisites. And glasses. There are no drinking glasses. Wait, I just remembered there was one random white mug in a cabinet. And let's not forget the three large-ish dixie cups next to the coffee maker sized for gnomes.
Cal, our dog, cannot be left in the room, so he comes along everywhere we go. I've made him a bed in the hatchback of the car. Luckily it's not hot here; this scheme would never work in CA. Today, he was getting restless, so I calmly put him in the cart at TJ Maxx and acted like I did not have a dog in my cart. The kids thought it was hilarious, of course, and I had to ask them not to draw attention to him. Poor Cal. We did not get kicked out.
Despite the dog, the exploring has been the best. We landed upon our new library. Our new grocery store with a great salad bar. Our local Baskin Robbins. Moving to a new city means all our favorite spots are exciting discoveries. Maybe I'm the only one who is really excited about most of them, but that's okay.
And between you and I, I'm waiting until the kids are in school next week to even begin to venture out to the real gems I can see from my car...the antique mall near my neighborhood, the sprawling Goodwill, the bead store peeking out next to Safeway...
I also love that I live in a city with areas that look much, much older than anything I was used to in Orange County. We went outside the town yesterday and found this old mill and this abandoned building across the street. I so wished I was a person with a good camera and who took good pictures with it, like so many friends I know. If you have one, you should come here, because there are a multitude of cool spots and amazing barns to photograph. They'd look extra cool with my cute family standing in front.
And I love that tonight, when we went looking for the church we plan to try on Sunday, it was over long, undulating country roads that we drove. When we found it, there were open fields as far as you could see. Black cows dotted one of them, and my California 'tween said skeptically, "Are those even real?"
Yep. They're real. It's all real. We are here.
But the fact remains that we're in the in between. No one is really sleeping, unless I am the nicest mommy who lets the kids swim in the indoor pool until bedtime. But I'm not the nicest every day. Just some of the days.
And on others, like tonight, I'm needed for stroking backs, playing quiet music on my phone for them, and rubbing hair off foreheads. My little guy looked more like three, not nearly eight, when he reached his skinny arms up around my neck to pull me into himself, trying so hard to get comfortable.
We are all trying to get comfortable. And what we're all needing right now is just a bit of comfort.
Whether it's extra snuggles, a familiar scoop of ice cream at Baskin Robbins, or a quick read out of Psalms like I grabbed in two minutes this morning, we are clinging to these bits of comfort.
The in between has its own lessons too, I believe. We are reminded that this world is not our true home. The Bible says that Jesus had no place to rest His head. We long for comfort here that ends up feeling so transient, so fleeting. But it's never truly comfortable. Not for me, anyway.
Even after the last box is unpacked, the last flower bed is planted, and the last shelf in the pantry is stocked, I won't feel fully at home. Because we're still here, on this broken earth, still making mistakes and getting hurt and desperately needing love.
It's good to remember that all of life itself is truly just the in between.