We have been stable for so long. In our beloved San Francisco home in our perfect neighborhood. Spending winter and summer weekends at our place in Tahoe. Sure, jobs have changed, kids have grown, we have made new friends, but fundamentally we have been grounded for a long time now.
This year things are changing. Really changing profoundly for the first time since I got on flight VS019 with my two suitcases and headed out from Heathrow into the unknown that was San Francisco.
Part of this change means that this weekend we are preparing our Tahoe home for sale. Last night, just like countless Friday nights past, we packed up the car, picked up burritos and headed west on I80. We arrived at the house late and I carried the sleeping children into the house. This act of lifting first Geekygirl, then Geekyboy from their car seats, carrying them into the waiting house and lowering them into their beds is one which never fails to trigger the "poignancy of the passage of time" button in me. "How did you get so big?" I think to myself every single time. The weight of each child gets greater and greater as the weekends have built into years while my arms still vividly remember both of them as featherweight babies.
Today we drove over the mountains to Reno to pick up a U-haul truck. I still remember the first time I saw the Sierra Nevada range. My English country sensibilities quite flabbergasted by the vastness, by the sheer scale of this edge of California. Today every curve of the road is familiar, the mountains still breathtaking but now part of the fabric of my world. I have watched the seasons pass over them year after year. I always think, when I coast up and down the freeway in my powerful car, of the pioneers who navigated here in horse drawn wagons. People who left everything behind in search of a new and better life. I like to imagine that I would have done that, had I been born there and then, instead of now. That I was always destined to be a Californian.
The realtor brought people to look at the house as we were filling bags and boxes for relocation, recycling and rubbish. It seems so very recent still, the day that Geekydaddy and I went house hunting with this same realtor. So many moments in our lives get lost in time, but the day we saw this place first, back in 2004, sticks brightly in my memory. We knew, the minute we walked in, that despite the walls decorated with stuffed animal heads and pelts, and the table devoted to fishing lure construction, that the place was meant to be ours. So many happy times, and a few hard ones too, if I"m being honest, have passed since then. I've been re-reading my old posts, and have linked a few Tahoe related ones here, here and here.
Mountain weather is a good analogy for life. We have desires, hopes and plans but can't rely on many of them actually coming to fruition quite the way we pictured them. Last weekend we basked on our sunny deck, all bikinis and paddling pools, but this weekend we awoke to snow, and steady flakes have been falling all day putting pay to our desire for a farewell barbeque. Our lives are changing. We're taking a path that we didn't plan for or choose, but that nevertheless will offer opportunity.
Analogies have been filling my head. Through the whirling storm against the windshield wipers I considered the analogy of life as a snow globe. We have been given a good shake up over the last few weeks. But when a snow globe restores itself after an upending, the scene returns to where it was before. Perhaps a better analogy is a kaleidoscope. The basic components of our family and life remain the same but they are being twisted and shaken into a new form. Our life will be new, it will be different, but it will still be beautiful.