June 27, 2014: 14 days pre-off-the-grid: Hello and thoughts on packing

Here I am.  The first official blog post of my whole life.  I feel shy!  I am many voices, many parts…I know this shows up in my writing, as it does in my daily life.  I was wondering who would show up here, and I can’t say that the shy voice Me is the best one to represent a first official blog post.  Hmmm.  Well, this is what it is.  There’s no time to wait for another Voice to manifest right now, because my hubby and I are about to go and pick up Sofia and Michelle  from their summer program.

I have a huge list of  “Reasons We Are Moving To The Dominican Republic” to tell you, and some will be connected to the list called “Why I Am Creating A Blog”.  Here is one of the reasons I am creating a blog:  We are packing, sorting, selling, donating…letting go…letting go…Ultimately, we are leaving a 5 x 10 foot storage room full of our most important  belongings.   What a process!!  So good for me to do – not that I am a hoarder, but let’s say, one year ago, I would never have let go of my mother’s hand carved coconut round  table, or the white dresser that has moved at least ten times with me, or my beloved books. Our cars are listed on craigslist and soon, the house that fit us so well back in Virginia Beach will go on the market.

The letting go worked on me until it really came down to what’s most important.  You know what is mostly going into the storage room?  Boxes and boxes of letters from my parents – letters my Dad and Mom wrote each other during their dating period, letters my Mom wrote to her Mom when we moved to New York in the 60’s – a chronicle of my life as a little kid before I remember much.  There are cards and letters I wrote to them from summer camps, college, from India, from Romania.  There are letters written to and from my closest friends from as far back as age twelve or thirteen, with silly drawings, dreams, secrets shared.  There are love letters, some written for me, some written by me, yet never sent.  There are piles of poems and parts of stories.  I just found a poem my mom wrote that I’ve never seen before – it revealed a huge missing piece in the puzzle of my life.  Dad wrote prolifically – he wrote plays, songs, short stories, long stories.  There is the raw and painful journal he wrote during the year following my sister’s death – I still can’t get through it.  I can’t toss it out.  I’m keeping it in the box with the 500 plus page memoir I wrote during the same period.

There are a few boxes of crystal stemware, a complete set of ostentatious, ridiculously not-me Chancellor-Cobalt Blue (gold) pattern by Spode China (Look it up, it’s like something a Duchess of England would serve dinner on!  SO not-me of today!  It’s from a time in my life that is wedged between being a hippy and now:  Off-The-Grid Mama!  Off-The-Grid Mama does not serve dinner on Spode China:))  (By the way, it’s totally okay with me if you serve with Spode, I don’t mean to say it’s wrong for anyone else – it’s just absolutely not where I’m at right now.  Notice I didn’t toss it:)).  We are also keeping a safety deposit box at a bank for a few priceless items to be locked away.

But the bulk of the stuff is family history, in pictures and in words.  The words, stories, confessions, inner thoughts, letters written by my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, sister, friends – my own journals that go back to age thirteen – these I save. These words matter deeply to me now.  They matter in a way that makes giving away my favorite lamp not such a biggie at all.

So:  One reason I will have a blog:  I want a record in words that can somehow be traced.   It’s time to record and live our family story.  For you, my angel baby Sofia from Baby Heaven.  For you, my angel baby Michelle from Baby Heaven.  Sofia, you’re five. You’ll vaguely remember this moment.  It will be rimmed with magic and some tears and confusion and excitement.  Michelle, you’re two.  There won’t be much in your mind’s memory, but in your heart there will be an imprint.  How I hope so much that my heart hurts as I write this – how I hope that your heart soars in the rainforest off-the-grid.  It’s not that you’re unhappy here, not at all.  I just believe we will all be more alive.

There will be many reasons for my blog, many reasons we leap off-the-grid.  Yet always, behind every story and reason and details, I will be writing – and living and loving – for you, my two precious Angels.  And years and years from now, if you find yourselves sitting here reading my blog:  Believe what I have always told you.  I’m here – don’t you feel me?  I’m here, right here in your hearts, right here in these words.

15 thoughts on “June 27, 2014: 14 days pre-off-the-grid: Hello and thoughts on packing

  1. Love, love, LOVE this, Cheryl. Thank you so much for including us in your journey. I remember you as quite a writer back in high school. I’m thinking it may have been from Liz Foster’s class. That class was very meaningful to me because people seemed so authentic and vulnerable within the sacred space of her classroom. I feel the same vibe here. Write on……and Right On!!!

    • Mary Beth, you have an amazing memory! You’re right, my favorite subject in high school was writing. I’m embarrassed to say I don’t remember all of the teacher’s names, but one, Mr. Tom Feiertag, was especially encouraging of my writing and I will always be grateful for that (since I under-excelled in EVERY other topic:( ) I may not be the best at writing in a perfect way, but my strength is that I do write from my heart. Your love touches my heart, thank you so much.

      • Cheryl,
        I, too, had Mr. Feiertag in 10th grade and I remember him as one of the best teachers I ever had; rigorous, interested and kind. I am trying to remember if you were in Liz Foster’s Creative Writing class with Mary Beth and me. I think I would have remembered your writing. Your blog posts are so interesting partly because you are “showing us, not just telling us”, something Mr. Messer used to say. I can feel the expectancy of the move, the letting go of dear friends and places, the rush of memory when having to decide what to keep and what to take. Your writing feels authentic. Because you spare us no small detail, either in what you are feeling or observing, your writing is clear and real. I am new to the post and trying to navigate my way through the paragraphs in chronological order. Each one leaves me wanting to read more. You have a gift. Thank you for sharing it. I’m so glad you are recording your experiences. I think you will have the makings of a book at some point. You already have a title. If you sketch, date them so you can include them in the future. I’m sure a book is the last thing you are thinking about right now, given all the things you are contending with. But this is clearly your passion and you are very good at entertaining your audience. This could even be a series (Book One: Year One, etc…). Cheryl it was wonderful being able to spend a short snippet of time with you in Washington at the inauguration. Hopefully our paths will cross again some day. With much love and aloha,
        robin

      • Robin, So much love to you, thank you for all of your beautiful thoughts and appreciation of my writing. I don’t think I was in Liz Foster’s class, but those days are foggy:) Maybe we were together with Mr. Feiertag? So glad you are hanging out with me in the rainforest:) And yes, writing has always been a source of self-reflection, understanding, joy for me – so I’m very happy to share! I, too, am so glad for our time together at the Inauguration! My first real reunion, what a great place to meet up again. Much love back to you.

  2. What an amazing adventure you are embarking upon! I have heard that letting go of our “stuff” is perhaps the hardest and bravest parts about moving. But the wonderful knowledge you discovered about your father and their literary treasure is priceless Cheryl. More so than the Spode China, which I will be googling later 😉 Proud of you mama! Thanks for sharing!

    • Christine, thank you for sharing, too! I know you know about letting go of “stuff”! Yeah, think of me, how you know me, and then google the Spode — worlds in collision, Mommy! LOL

  3. Off-the-Grid but definitely not Off-Your-Rocker Mama. There are times in life when taking the leap feels right even if you don’t know why, and even sometimes when it makes no sense that you can explain. This time you DO seem to know why, and you have good reasons, which is very encouraging, but still, it seems to be mostly about the heart, and that’s a great thing. I hope Sofia and Michelle grow up not only to approve but also to admire this decision, and that you and Marin never have the least cause for second thoughts.

    PS: See if Marin can find an add-in to your blog to allow people to subscribe to it, so we automatically get your posts.

    • Chuck, thank you so much! You KNOW there’s just a teensy, tiny bit of Off-Your-Rocker Mama in all of this, right? And thank you re. helpful suggestion for Marin, I’ll ask him to look into it. Love you always, no matter how close or how far xoxo

  4. I started blogging about my sewing projects, the hits and misses, 2 years ago. It has been an interesting process. I find that less is more . My entries are much shorter now than 2 years ago. Good luck Cheryl & family on the new adventure and happy blogging!

    • Sandy, I love your art projects and awesome that you share via FB, blog, website. I would bet you are right that less is more. One of my weaknesses in writing. I’ll be learning as I go, and hopefully people will be able to slog thru my blog as I become more seasoned! See you soon, I hope, sitting together in a circle:)

  5. Beautiful, brave, heartfelt, deeply moving… you are going to WRITE this, Cheryl, and leave a record for your children! Much, much love to you as you make your transition. I do hope our real-world paths cross again, one day.

    • Mari: Wow. Huge gratitude for your support of my writing. You are one of my favorite Poets. It means so much to know that you are moved by my ramblings, thank you. I do believe our real-world paths will cross again. It sure was a wild ride the first time around at JFK! wheeee!

    • Sue-Bon!! Yes!! You know it, girl-fren — one of the most memorable moments of our mini-reunion a few years ago was reading old letters to the group, that many of us had somehow saved and found. Yours are going in my 5 x 10, never to be thrown away. I love you, too. I’ll be thinking of you climbing Mt. K in Africa about the time I land off-the-grid. Enjoy and be careful. I will too.

  6. We TCKs always hold hope of reconnection, no matter the years or distance. JFKU feels like lifetimes ago, but I remember our wild ride with much fondness! xoxo

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