Laying Down Arms

(I wrote this post two days before the Paris attacks, and it’s a nice reminder of how warm and grounded life can feel.)

I keep hearing about the deluge of rain that has descended upon Atlanta in recent weeks, not good for folks trying to sell a house down that way. Eric and I have exhausted any and all extra funds painting, weeding, clearing, fixing, removing, replacing, and so on. There have been so many stops and starts in this whole house-selling process. A couple of hopeful offers made. Needed repairs. Needed renovations. Needed touch-ups. We’re broke, and we’re tired, but we’re here. Finally. No more work to be done (or at least that we’re gonna do.)

Just in time for the rain to dissipate down South.

We had our own deluge up here in Maryland – of work, financial stress, and decisions. We spent weeks of deliberating potential new jobs for Eric, trying to decide upon which direction to go (a fortunate place to be, when the decision is yours). Recently, I spent many days with a miserable lingering hairy cold (the tail end of a flu-like beast), and just yesterday, the sun broke, inside me that is. A clearing inside my head, just one day after Eric’s official job offer came for a promotion within his company, about the time Atlanta began to dry off.

Don’t you just love those moments when the clouds part, and you can take a sun break again (a nod to my Seattle friends)? Sometimes we have to wait for long months or years, as a friend in Atlanta reminds me, but those moments come. If we look back in history, November 11th was the day of Armistice during the First World War, when a peace treaty was signed between the Allies and Germany on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. I only know this thanks to my obsession with NPR. But it seems timely and relevant in that this very same day, I felt that sense of retreat, as if the troops who’d been surrounding me for months, just decided to lay down their arms.

Yesterday, I was given an offer to teach yet another new course next semester as well. And given a couple of verbal affirmations about my job performance.

My head cold is still hanging on a bit, however, but I can feel the light entering. The Newdom family is reaping a bit of harvest. And I can smile and sit back on this moment, soaking in the rewards for hard work. My house is full of color, love, and warmth.

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It took me a long while to consider the title for this blog. I wanted something that defined me both as a person and a writer. A name that would also perhaps speak to a particular audience. Why “The Astronaut Wife?” Since my early days of blogging, I have leaned toward more of a confessional style of writing, to some degree. I write as much truth as I can muster at each phase of life. In addition, I also come from a conservative Southern family, and I have grown very far from those roots. You could say I have rocketed to the moon in terms of my upbringing. I have rocketed away from debilitating family dynamics, from worldviews that held me beneath a rock. In my thirties, and now my early to mid-forties, I have learned to live more comfortably with both sides of the moon and write just as much about the raw, dark places as the light ones. Don’t quote me on that, though. It’s quite likely I will lean more heavily toward one or the other depending on which way the wind is blowing. Then, we get to the wife part, and quite frankly, this is where the feminist in me bucked and brayed. Identifying myself as “wife” has felt simply stymieing, particularly since becoming a mother six and a half years ago. But if the truth is going to be told, being a wife to my particular husband has altered my entire shape and has given voice to much of the inner deep. So in fact, becoming a wife was the singular most life-changing moment for me in my journey to the moon and back. Fellow travelers, you can feel safe and comfortable here. What matters more than what you might “get” about me is what you might take for yourself.

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