Maybe it's the meditation. Maybe that's why I'm finally figuring some stuff out.
I had a lovely time in Asheville. Willa is beyond precious, and Supergirl Adelaide is the bestest of big sisters.
I basked in my time with them, and loved watching their interaction. At one point, I was holding Willa and she became a bit fussy. Supergirl came over and asked if she could give her a hug and a kiss. I held the fussy baby down where she could reach, and she gently kissed her on the forehead and talked to her - and Willa instantly stopped fussing. Willa already knows her big sister, and was calmed by her voice. Supergirl takes her role of big sister very seriously, and loves to assist at diaper changes (she unfolds the diaper and helps position it and tape it).
Watching the hourly changes in a near newborn is one of the best things about a new baby, and the reason I wanted to visit. When I arrived on Friday night, she was squinty, sleepy, red-faced and grumpy. By Sunday night, she was awake, alert, looking around, and definitely prefers to be held up over a shoulder so she can practice lifting her head and looking around.
I had a great visit. I went on my son's beer tour, and it was so awesome to watch him do his thing - damn, he's good, if I do say so myself. It's not just a proud mama talking; his tours are in the top 5 activities in Asheville on TripAdvisor. He's an educator, not a "let's go stagger from brewery to brewery and get drunk" tour, and works local stories, history, current events, and a host of other topics into his three hours of laid-back education. His tour group was engaged, interested, asked questions, laughed, and really enjoyed it. I did too.
Sunday night the in-laws came over to watch the Super Bowl, we ate too much junk, drank the excellent beer my son brewed in honor of Willa's birth (it's really, really good, like, should be entered in competition good) passed the baby around, watched the game, it was a very good time.
I finally finished Supergirl's sweater, and it fits!
Front and rear view. Not exactly posed, but this girl never stopped moving all weekend.
At some point in the blur that was the weekend, I happened to see my friend Bess online on Facebook, so we chatted a bit. She asked me a question out of the blue: did I still see myself retiring to Asheville? And I didn't even think about it. I answered: "No."
No, I really don't see myself living in Asheville year round. I definitely would like to have enough money to be a seasonal renter in the mountains to get out of the Florida summer heat, but for better or for worse, Florida is home. And I think I had to move away for a year, and live in the place I thought was my dream, to realize this. It was an expensive lesson (meaning, it cost me a lot of my savings to indulge that whim) but I don't regret it. It was worth it. It taught me many lessons.
I have bitched about where I live for so long it's just what I DO, and don't expect me to suddenly wax romantic about the traffic, humidity, heat, mosquitoes, etc., because those things truly do suck. But it's HOME.
I left Asheville in a chilly rain, very early in the morning, getting out of town before the really COLD front hit and the roads got icy. I left gray skies and bare trees, that dreary, sucky, February winter, and came home to blue skies, budding trees, and azaleas starting to bloom. A friend texted me about meeting for a drink tomorrow night, and I'm going to suggest maybe going to lunch in St. Augustine, or the Mount Dora Art Festival this weekend. We have festivals every weekend here too. My daughter wants to do the Florida Strawberry Festival this year. 30 years in Florida before I went to the Manatee Festival, and I've never been to the Strawberry Festival.
This is more than simply deciding to "Bloom where I am planted," which I've always thought is one of those passive sappy, "The way to be happy is to eat that shit sandwich and pretend it's just delicious and just what you always WANTED!!!" platitudes that does nobody any good at all. This is me, waking up and realizing I haven't been taking advantage of all the fun outside my door. I haven't been fully present, fully living, and that's something I can change, now that I'm aware. Expensive lesson learned. It was worth it.
P.S: Baby the Subaru is just fine. It was just the gas cap. Disconnecting/reconnecting the battery cleared the check engine and cruise lights, and all is back to normal. In nine years of ownership, Baby has cost me regular oil changes, a set of tires, a battery, and a nine dollar gas cap. Why yes, my next car will be a Subaru - in another 100K miles or so, maybe.