Since a friend sent this quote from John Lennon to me in April, a few days after I was in a serious car accident, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. We are always planning. Kids school, demonstrations, travel, food festivals, waitressing, bedtimes, dinner, recipes, business & more business, family time, exercise, deadlines for everything… it NEVER slows down. Then on April 4th THIS happened:
I was just driving home from a hair appointment. I hadn’t had my hair done in over 2 years. It’s the only reason I didn’t have children with me. As I entered an ‘uncontrolled intersection’ I was clipped on my back side and it sent me rolling twice. I hit a parked car on a roll and spun facing the way I’d just come. I ended up suspended from my seat belt. I unbuckled and lowered myself to the ground and began to kick out the front window. Within minutes the place was swarming with police and firefighters. I was so stunned that such a violent wreck had happened on such a mundane trip as one to the hair salon, on a side street, about a mile from my house. Looking at what remained of our only family car, I was in utter disbelief that I only had a sore head. After a battery of tests at the hospital I was released to my very sweet, and very unnerved husband. Like I said, a bump to the head and that’s it.
That night Bill and I sat in the living room until 3:00am. We were completely high on adrenaline and the fact that life as we know it could have been taken in a moment. I saw the ground come up and slap my drivers side window. If there had been an object there, it would have come through the window. So many different outcomes to this scenario. We talked and talked and listened to music and drank some really nice wine. Dawndra came over with a huge bag of groceries and we laughed and talked all together. Together. It could have been gone. We were filled with the joy of being alive and the knowledge of what could have been, what was so close. Without saying it, we couldn’t go to bed because we didn’t want the night to end, ever.
So we slowed down, without realizing it. We cleared our demo schedule. I cut down dramatically on waitressing. We worked really hard on the boys science fair, baseball, and finally got hockey started. These things that matter more than the constant pursuit of MORE production.
Bill and I went to a Mariners game and out for sushi. Without the kids. It was heavenly.
I generally stopped wringing my hands about Kroger, Whole Foods, blogs, Facebook, whole grains and on and on. I turned a lot of it out…out of my constantly spinning head.
Then, just a few weeks ago we decided to sell our home. It is an absurd seller’s market. We could instantly become debt free. We could fund the next growth stage of Gretchen’s Grains without worry. So we put it up for sale by owner. It sold in 1 day. ONE DAY. This was our first home. We’ve raised our babies into good little boys here. We love our neighbors like family. This was not an easy decision. But it was the only decision. And we are all alive, all together, moving on to the next phase of our incredibly lucky, blessed, exhausting, beautiful lives.
I loved that house. We brought it back to life over the course of 5 years. I transformed the garden into a vibrant urban vegetable-herb-flower heaven. I can picture the boys crawling in diapers on the beautiful hardwood. I see myself in hard labor on my hands and knees on those same floors. That house was a friend to us. It kept us warm. It hosted our dear friends and family. So much love went through that place. My youngest, Thomas, took this picture as we drove away. Right now, I am overwhelmed with sadness. Goodbye little home.
But we had to go. When I called my grandma upset about our decision she told me, “It’s not about the house, but what goes on it in. Have some friends over and make a delicious meal, you’ll feel better”. I felt better instantly just hearing those words. We have to say good bye to some things knowing it means hello to another. We must stay grateful. We cannot forget that our time around this place is brief and it’s so good to be together. So good.
So on we go. Our rental will suffice for the next year. Summer is upon us. I put down some tomatoes, squash, peas and sunflowers in the small garden bed we have now. I dug up and transplanted the potatoes we planted on St. Patrick’s day with all the neighbor kids. Couldn’t resist. They make me happy to see their blooms in our new place. They are a symbol that we can take our past into our present, if we want. That the good will stay with us while we make new paths, if we just take it with us. That life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.