Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pain and Doubt

We signed the lease for the new tenants. Yesterday, I spoke with LeAnn, the wife of the couple, and I felt somewhat reassured, but reviewing the lease with the real estate agent today did not feel comfortable. Why should I trust her or the tenants? Eric is so eager to get things moving forward, he appears to have no hesitation and is clearly relieved that we have a suitable renter. This is all new to me, and I ought to feel energized by moving forward on renting the house. In truth, all has gone quite well. The house has been 'for rent' for a few weeks, a renter has come through, and they appear reasonable. Everything is on track; why do I not feel better?

After two weeks of frustration with my angry teenager, she has taken the bus to New York for a few days before her flight to Nice for two months in Europe. And I miss her and regret all the wasted moments while we avoided each other. I have to remind myself that I did the same at her age, that I could not wait to get away from my parents and start my own life. And in the end, everything worked out just fine. Tara is truly long gone from the daily ins and outs of my life. But her life is moving in a different direction from that of ours, and there is a finality about her departure. When she is with us, she does not want to follow the rules or limits of the household, which creates all sorts of tension and heated words, but when she is gone, the house feels empty and I am bereft. Do all parents feel this way? Alternately relieved when the children leave and missing them terribly.

We are leaving for Canada tomorrow. My parents and sisters will be meeting us in Ottawa for a celebration of my niece's graduation from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. It will be an opportunity for all the family to be together for the first time since my parents' 50th wedding anniversary in the spring of 2006. Eric is going to meet colleagues and collaborators in Ottawa and Montreal. Interestingly there is quite a concentration of 'electric fish' scientists in both cities. Our purpose, however, is to see the family. When we are in Ecuador we most likely will not have opportunities to return to Canada or France or the US to see family. That will be difficult for me; usually I see my parents three or four times a year, most recently only in their home in Edmonton. At 89 and 76, they are not eager to travel or disrupt the routine of their lives. I see each of my sisters at least once or twice yearly. I am expecting at least Monica and her husband, who live in Boston and San Francisco, to come to Ecuador for a visit. I will try to convince Karen to as well.

For all the adventure and excitement of our move to Ecuador, losing regular contact with my family is an unacceptable price to pay. Eric and I will be bringing a computer to my parents. We will drive it to Ottawa and my nephew will transport it to my parents' house in Edmonton and set it up. Karen has been there to organize for internet service and Eric has set up my iMac to provide them with internet, skype and videochat. They will be able to see us and call us daily if they wish. Maya will play the violin for them over the internet ( she does it over the phone for them from Baltimore to Edmonton at least once or twice a week). I look forward to seeing them daily! I hope they will be open and skilled enough to make it work for them. Of course, if there are any glitches, they will be paralyzed (as am I when my computer stops working for me, but Eric is always available to fix any problem with it!) I will have to arrange for someone to help them out if necessary. The likelihood of this venture working is less than 50-50, but well worth the effort.

We will return in a week and the movers will be here to empty the house on June 15. We will keep one bed, which belongs in the trash when we leave permanently. And personal effects. Initially I thought it would be fun to have an empty house, devoid of furniture and 'stuff'. Once I made the decision, I have doubts again. Yikes! What did I agree to? Why in the world did I go along with all this? Eric will be in Cape Cod for his summer work at the Marine Biological Laboratory. Maya and I will stay in our house, traveling back and forth to Woods Hole to visit Eric every weekend. I will continue to gradually close down my practice, and Maya will attend the ballet camp she regularly attends each summer. She is pushing for a more intense ballet program in Pennsylvania in August, but I expect we will be in Ecuador by then.

The preparation for the move feels endless. I remind myself that we started mid March, so that is not quite three months, so it is a finite amount of time. Not endless, not intolerable, not an impossible struggle. And all the pieces are coming together and working just as they were meant to happen. Why does every step of the way present me with pain and doubt? Eric keeps expecting me to be joyous with every turn. He reminds me that in weeks we will be in Ecuador having our adventure. Why am I not relieved? The house is rented, the movers are coming, we are seeing my family, closing my office is generally going well, Maya is registered for her school, Tara is happy with her summer plans in Europe this summer; things are going well!

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