On Easter Sunday, we had been in our new home for 2 weeks. We had a lovely day. The Easter Bunny DID find the kids, we had an egg hunt with the boys in the campsite adjacent to ours and that evening we had Easter dinner with friends of ours and their parents, who are also full-timers and were coincidentally camped at Santee State Park at the same time. We were strangely comforted by their stories of what they messed up when they were new to this lifestyle and appreciated their travel tips.
So, let me back up a couple of weeks. I wish I had a picture of all of our friends who came to our RV “housewarming” back in Morgantown! It was our last night there and I am quite sure that at one point in time we had about 30 people crowded in to our Excel Winslow 34IKE! We were exhausted; physically, mentally and emotionally and were so touched by the love we felt from our friends that evening! We spent the last night in our house of 14 years, sleeping on the floor of our bedroom with the kids, the house almost empty.
The next morning we packed up the remaining few things (which turned out to be way more than we thought) organized the things we could in the RV, and by about 2 in the afternoon drove away from Morgantown, headed for my Mom’s driveway. This transition period turned out to be more valuable to us than we expected. Her driveway turned out to be a wonderful place for us to gather our wits about us, shed the last bits of unwanted possessions, and store away those things that we just couldn’t bare to part with yet, while spending some meaningful time with loved ones. And, thank goodness she has a big basement! Granted, half of what we stored away there belongs to the kids, BUT we had to give ourselves a big fail on the becoming minimalists idea. More on that process in another post. Thank you, Mom for storing all the stuff we just couldn’t get rid of yet.
That first evening at her house, friends and family came to visit us there, see our new home and wish us well. Again, we were exhausted but so happy to receive the support. All that week we spent organizing our stuff, playing outside, visiting with friends and family, installing solar panels and generally just living as neighbors with my Mom with my brother just a few minutes down the road. I had a lovely afternoon spent with my brother and his wife visiting Bloomery Plantation Distillary near Charles Town, WV, and Village Winery and Hiddencroft Vineyards in Loudon County, VA. The next day Willa and I went to the flea market with my Mom and her boyfriend. We haven’t spent so much time together in I can’t remember how long, and it was so nice.
So, after 3 weeks of full-time living now, we can say that now we have mastered the art of dumping our wastewater and sewage holding tanks (which would be really funny if you were a 5 year old boy). The somewhat nerve-racking process of closing up our home, driving it down the road for 5 or 6 hours and setting it up again is becoming more comfortable and efficient. We are Good Sam’s Club members (although we are still on the fence about Camping World). We have had one child with the croup already and were able to handle that just fine. All of us have had to readjust our ideas of what boundaries there are. The kids have (mostly) stopped arguing over the top bunk bed. We have had to adjust our rhythm of school – we really are parkschooling now, not without its challenges, but fun! The kids are so incredibly resilient and I couldn’t be more proud of them.
Yes, we miss our garden. Yes, we miss our friends and family, but we look forward to sharing more meaningful times ahead with them. The kids have played outside all day, nearly everyday (practically ignoring all those toys we agonized over – except for the Legos!), have eaten great and slept even better. We have made more friends in the past 2 weeks and spent more time socializing with other kids and families than I thought we would. We enjoy the pitter-patter of the rain on the roof and slow pace that this lifestyle demands. We have been riding our bikes together and maintaining a higher level of physical activity.
There was one point in time when Jon, our little guy, said, “So this is home now?” Yes, Jon, this is our new home. “O.K.”, he said. Yes, Jon, it is O.K. Home is where we park it.