The 17 days of waiting turned into five and a half weeks.
I have been a one note Nellie. I couldn't imagine sitting down to write anything besides the sentence: I THINK WE ARE MOVING TO CALIFORNIA.
My brain's been humming this sentence for weeks. Sometimes it bounced the words like a ball again and again and again. Sometimes it spoke through an overwhelming tangle of logistics. Sometimes it whispered over an achy pressure in my chest. Sometimes it nearly sang them with excitement. But never, night nor day these weeks, has my brain been quiet.
In fact, I think I've been operating with about 7% of my attention; I've left my keys everywhere; lost my wallet incessantly; lost my train of thought mid-sentence, mid-thought, mid-drive.
I thought we'd know for sure after a week and a half. Then by the following Friday. Then, definitely, by the next. Then surely before the last week of school, so the kids could prepare and say their goodbyes. But we didn't.
Excruciating, really, is the word for all that wondering.
What the process gave us was weeks of conversation. A lot comes up when you re-imagine life together. (thanks Imago for some tools). It's not easy to be the adults. This decision, in particular, felt far beyond me -- the career questions, where to raise our kids -- how to know what's "best"? A friend called it weighting between "a good and a good." It was that, which may have made the choice harder.
After weighing, waiting, praying for the decision to be clear, we decided not to move.
We're slowly settling into this fact. I've stopped waking up at 4AM and got rid of the moving boxes I've been harboring in the shed (I picked up at least 70 boxes from the side of the road impromptu, had to fold down all the seats in the car and put Eden up front, telling her, you just never know when you'll need a box. She agreed and didn't question me). We're no longer house hunting online.
There's a bittersweet side to it, some grieving that feels similar to a miscarriage, the slow revelation of imagined things that now won't be.
AND there is relief: Silas will be here for his last year of elementary school, patrolling the kindergartners on the bus, and Eden will carry on with her sweet friends. Maeve will return to her happy school, and Ben and I will snatch daytime dates because he'll still be working from home. Family will remain up the street, around the beltway, on the same coast; we aren't leaving.
It's done. We made a decision like mature adults (surprising every time!) and picked a good. When we were still in limbo Ben said, "I know there'll be regrets either way, so once I decide, I can't look back; I have to be all in." He's a smart man, that one.
Onward and upward!