This will probably be a long post, but I promise to get to the chickens eventually!
The last few months have been rocky, to say the least. I had a blast on my Orlando vacation, but coming back to Texas left me feeling… off. You know that feeling when you have the highest hopes for something and for reasons unknown, once you finally get *there*, it just doesn’t fulfill you like you thought it would? That’s what visiting Orlando felt like. It used to feel like home, but after just a few hours I realized that it had become a vacation. An excellent vacation, but I lost that feeling for it. Not the love or the adventure or the incredible friends that I have there… just that this-is-where-I-belong feeling.
I came back and the depression cloud (Is that a thing because that’s what it feels like to me. It feels like a giant, stormy, black cloud that you can see coming from miles away and the only thing to do about it is to close the windows and hope for minimal damage) started to drift into my life.
It was rough. I just… kind of… existed for about a month.
And then it built up to a giant hours-long anxiety attack. I cried and stomped and puked and screamed at the sky and kept asking no one in particular, “Why can’t I figure this out? Why do I keep messing up? Why is it all so hard?”. I’m a planner. Orlando was the plan and then it was gone. Losing your place in life is hard and I let it build up for too long.
Towards the end of this attack (seriously, y’all. HOURS.) I found myself at my Meemaw’s apartment. I’m sobbing on the floor and she is holding me and I was rambling about how I felt that I mess everything up, that I’m not where I’m supposed to be in life. I guess I was feeling old because I kept saying, “I mean – I’m 25! I’m 25 and I live with my parents and it isn’t supposed to be that way!”
I cried about money and I cried about loneliness and she sat on the floor with me and just listened. I stopped for a breath. Blotchy-faced, unwashed hair and having to concentrate on getting air into my lungs.
And my grandmother, my Meemaw, one of my best friends in the world said, “Marcie. Who says that you have to be in a certain place by a certain age? Who gets to decide where YOU are supposed to be in life?”
I, mistakenly thinking that I could win an argument with her, started listing names of friends that I assume are doing really well in life. People that I graduated with that have earned their Masters Degree, people that are younger than me and married with children, people that are homeowners, people that can, you know, afford dog food.
She stopped me again and said, “Okay. But they’re not you.”
It’s amazing how something as simple as “they’re not you” calmed me down.
She was right.
Success and happiness do not have simple definitions.
Long before I existed, Meemaw was giving her incredible advice to countless other people that were feeling lost.
After having my uncle and mother, my grandparents decided that they wanted to grow their family through foster care and adoption. Judy and Jim (Meemaw and Pawpaw) were foster parents to over 50 children between 1980 and 2010. They made a fairly modest living but it is amazing what two big hearts can do. In 1984, they moved to “the country” to have more space for more kids. My grandfather attached two single-wide mobile homes together with a family room and deck, built a giant carport, and it became their eclectic, 7-bedroom home.
Their home was full of love for years and years. Some of my earliest memories are staying with my grandparents in the summer. They always had a LOUD house full of kids and I vividly remember having competitions where we would run the property to see who could catch the most grasshoppers. We stuffed them in wet-wipe containers and the older kids would fishing bait later in the afternoon.
In 2004, they moved to a different house. The mobile homes were rented out for a while, but in the last few years, they just sat. After my grandfather’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis and the difficult decision to move him into a nursing home, my grandmother moved to a retirement community with her special needs son, Dion. The property in the country got overgrown, the homes were broken into and vandalized and it somehow became a giant… well, we call it a shit pile and there’s not much candy-coating I can do to that.
You could tell that it saddened Meemaw. It had always felt like “home” to her and she missed having a space that was her own.
Still with me? Go get a snack, we’re not finished yet. I’ll wait.
A few months ago, opportunity knocked. Actually – it kind of kicked the door down and said, “HEY I’M HERE AND THINGS ARE ABOUT TO CHANGE.”
Remember the house in the country? The foster care? The grasshoppers?
At that time, Meemaw and Pawpaw made friends with a lady that lived just a few blocks away who had ALSO opened her home to many children. Susan (Mimi) and Meemaw became fast friends. Her children are my aunts, uncles, and cousins. She considers all of Meemaw’s children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren her own.
Mimi moved to California in 1987. She and Meemaw kept contact as well as they could. Distance was nothing for a friendship like theirs. Recently, she decided that she wanted to move back home to Texas. After some talking, she decided that she wanted to purchase a NEW mobile home to place on the property that she and Meemaw had made a lifetime of memories on. She boarded a plane and moved into Meemaw’s apartment while the arrangements were being made… are still being made.
The land needs a lot of work, but the gears are all in motion and barring any complications, the beautiful new mobile home will be placed on the land around the first of May.
And the most exciting part of all of this?! Meemaw and Mimi have asked me to be a roommate and take their extra bedroom. This again, put me in the, “But living with my grandparents at 25 – seriously, why am I obsessed with being 25?! – is not where I’m supposed to be!”
Meemaw expertly responded, “Well, why not? We need you and you need us!”
We’re a strange bunch and I’ve always been SO fascinated by sustainable living, which we will be attempting to the best of our abilities on this giant piece of land that is SO full of promise (though still kind of a shit-pile at the moment).
Meemaw will teach us how to make canned jams and jellies, Mimi will share her gardening knowledge, and Dion will show us the steps to becoming a proper Dog Whisperer. And I? I’ll be the resident grocery-shopper, errand-runner, meal-prepper and… CHICKEN WRANGLER.
That’s right. You KNEW that I’d find a way to get birds involved. My biggest project for the new place will be building a chicken coop in the ample amount of space that we have and filling it with feathered friends that will eventually provide DELICIOUS eggs for us.
Is my future predictable? No. Will I have the time of my life? Hell. Freaking. Yes.
A bit of uncertainty is always going to follow you around, I guess. For now, I’m letting the excitement lead the way.
I’m right where I’m supposed to be.