A book I read to the kids fairly often (we don’t have a big selection) is called The Best Nest. It’s a tale of a little owl who leaves his family’s nest as he feels too cramped, and tries a series of different homes, none of which suit him for obvious reasons; a frog’s pond, a hedgehog’s den, a bat’s cave, etc. What’s the end result? The little owl (named, in a stroke of brilliance, Little Owl) finds himself alone and homeless – until he hears the hoots of his brothers and sister, at which point he returns home. The nest is no bigger, and is just as hot and crowded as before, and yet he feels comfortable and happy. “This is the best nest,” he says as the penultimate line – the ultimate line being “Hoot!”
Is it a very good book? No. Its only appeal would be that Little Owl is simultaneously glittery and soft, and that’s certainly enough to sell a book to kids. It’s one I’ve usually felt more annoyed to read as opposed to happy. It’s no “Goodnight Moon,” let’s just say that.
Today, it actually caused me a moment of clarity.
A week ago, I sat down to write a Father’s Day card to my own dad, who I haven’t seen since Christmas. In case you somehow haven’t noticed this through many other posts, but I love my dad a great deal, and he loves me. When I was a baby, he made up a song for me (I’ll put it up here if there’s a demand for it). He’s one of the most important people in my life, and I poured my heart into the card. In fact, I poured tears into it, too. That’s right, I’m so vain, my own card made me cry.
And I thought, “I need to go home.”
This may seem like a sudden, snap decision. It’s not: it’s one that’s been on the table since March as finances ballooned and collapsed, and housing possibilities blossomed and crumbled. Here’s what it comes down to.
“Emily, I thought you loved your job?” I did. Boy did I love it. But despite everything I was told when hired and the weeks that followed, everything I worked so hard on got tossed to the side without a moment’s discussion or consideration, and I am so FRUSTRATED I can’t stand it anymore. So now I’m laboring in a job that I am unhappy with, and cannot make enough to live on. Why on earth would I stay?
“Emily, I thought you were about to get an apartment?” Hanna’s not ready to move out. My other potential roommate is not ready to move out. Even if either of them were, our finances would be so impossibly tight, it makes little sense. I came to Virginia to get my own place, but all the reasons I came have collapsed. Why am I staying?
“Didn’t you want to get away from your family?” I did. And I did. And yet…I have grown so completely in the last nine months that I am amazed at myself – I may be rather vainly smitten, to be blunt. So calm compared to the girl before, so confident and graceful. Oh, I still suffer from all my old problems: anxiety and nervousness and nagging and whatever else you want to pin on me. But I grew up into – if I may say so myself – a rather wonderful woman; a young woman I’m proud of, and I have noticed it’s attracted others around me as well. What’s more, my family grew without me, too. We understand each other now better than we ever did, and I pray that continues. There is a chance for love and happiness that few families can truly boast, and I think moving away did that. Not having to waste time being bitter and feeling cramped, I could grow and so could they.
….so the nest is just as small, just as crowded as before, but it’s the best nest – for the new bird that goes back. Corny, huh?
Oh, I’m nervous to leave Virginia; I’ll be driving back across the country, and there’s a LOT to do before I leave. With my anxiety, of course it stresses me out. But I’m able to handle myself, to navigate, to get through in ways I couldn’t before. It’s a beautiful thing. I’ll make it just fine.
And I’ll be applying for graduate school, as I mentioned before, so I might as well go home so I can afford to live AND go to school. An exciting world is opening back up to me. And I get to see my dog again.
I also better know how to avoid some of the problems that bothered me before; I think if I don’t live IN Portland, a lot of its problems won’t be in the fore, to say nothing of how much cheaper it will be. Obviously, that’s a matter of getting a job first. It can wait.
This was an announcement I had planned to make when I gave my two week’s notice at work, but here it is.
I’m coming home.