Another family stood at the front, preparing to leave us. Answering a calling that, to me, seemed pretty rude for even existing in the first place because letting go sucks. I sat in the audience watching this goodbye unfold through tears and broken voices, tears in my own eyes. And because self-pity is one of my favorite motivators, my anger and tears were for me too, knowing that we will likely be up there soon, one in a long line of our own goodbyes. That night, The Sis texted that The Niece (OG version) had heard her discussing the potential move, so the whole story came out. “WHY?!” The Niece OG asked through tears. “Why?”
I spent the day feeling angry and sad–and Sundays are supposed to be my re-centering days.
I do yoga on Sunday mornings, in my room in front of the TV while “watching” one of the Sunday morning political shows–not a good mix, sure, but Sex and the City usually isn’t on that early. I throw in the laundry, take a shower without listening for children fighting or falling off the bed, and when the boys get back we head to church. I pray the prayers, hear the law and then hear the gospel answer it, accept the bread and wine. I feel shifted back to where I’m meant to be, reminded of what’s important. The million moments of the week each cause their own imperceptible shift, pushing me into myself and away from grace, and I am always hovering somewhere between what I know to be true and what I’m afraid of. Sundays are for pulling me back into the current that leads home; for opening my eyes to the glory that has been hinted at in the mundanity of weekly life. For reminding me of all the ways I’ve missed it.
I remember being pregnant with both the boys, and how, especially the first time around, I had to adjust all my movements to this new center of gravity growing larger and larger at my middle. I had to carry myself differently so I wouldn’t fall over. I had to sleep differently, when I did sleep. I had to re-center. And now that they’re here, everything still changes. There were the early days, when I cradled them in my arms–even one arm–the way I do The Niece, Part Two now; feathery little things more noticeable by their warmth than their weight. Then they moved to my shoulder, tiny heads they’d just learned to lift peeking out at the world. Next they sat atop my hip, holding themselves up entirely. Now they’re both more often at my side, my hand reaching down as theirs reach up. One day, God willing, I’ll reach up to them, centers always changing.
We’re headed to Sydney soon to see what life might look like there. To look for the resources we have here: house, schools, therapists, liquor stores. To find out if this whole thing is doable. Fourteen hours ahead of home, over twenty hours in the air, half a world away, and I’m overwhelmed. Centers keep changing, and sometimes I can’t stand the way grace chooses to give gifts: through both hellos and goodbyes, through uncertainty and tears, through distance and time. It’s all very exciting and very awful and very everything, and it occurs to me that I need a center that doesn’t change.
Last week I started the first of my Thursday mornings at the indoor pool, swimming laps with my new one-piece and swim cap and goggles and ear plugs, hearkening back to a time in my childhood when gliding through the water was natural and easy. I show up among the other swimmers and pick a lane, pretend that I belong here, that I know what I’m doing. I do a lap and don’t drown. Along the way, through the cool clear water, I relearn how to move on its surface. How to turn my head, paddle my arms, kick my feet. How to breathe, differently. It’s quiet here, the underwater sounds replacing music and podcasts and even thinking, just the water shifting around me, making space for me, and images flash through my mind: The Kid a year ago and now, the words that have taken root and the complete sentences, the conversations, the way his teacher told me he updates the visual class schedule when she falls behind, how he loves center time. So many gifts, and I still doubt the ones wrapped in paper I wouldn’t have chosen.
Maybe Thursdays are also for re-centering now. Maybe every moment, actually, is quietly re-centering me, bringing me home: the anger in the night when Little Brother decides it’s time to replace sleep with screams, the boys playing together with the train set on the floor, the way they climb into my lap–another center–for a story, the laps around an indoor track, the rushed prayers on the way to school. Maybe it’s all re-centering me because it’s all leading me home, to the true center that, unlike me, never moves.