I live in Maine now.
Mostly, I’ve been listening to Alison Krauss, Brandi Carlisle and Kenny Rogers, which is what I picture people like me should do in Maine. I listened to them before, but it feels more appropriate here than it did in Newton. I also bought new winter boots and a flannel jacket and put logs on the fire.
I do keep waiting for something other than heaveneverymoment to happen, though, because it’s like – amazing here. I mean – super, allthetime nothing but awesome. Everyone is nice and warm and welcoming and everything is close to us and you can buy liquor at the Rite Aid.
Okay, the last part isn’t really why we love it, but I still find it FASCINATING. Toothpaste, and Jim Beam and prescription meds and sweatshirts and movies and Christmas decorations and Jim Beam again. All a mile from my house. In a Rite Aid.
In other words, Maine is both ‘vacationland’ and ‘the way life should be’.
Other things I’ve learned over the past 7 days:
Teeth are disposable: After almost an entire year of dealing with what began as undeterminable pain, Anna is back to Anna – we had an appointment at Children’s last Friday and they gave her replacement teeth, and although she never complained about her missing tooth – when we put them in, she relaxed in a way I haven’t seen her relax in a long time. And she looks beautiful.
We spent about 20 minutes with the dentist talking through how to care for them – and about 10 of those minutes were around making sure we didn’t throw away the retainer. Because kids always do it. And we were both listening, it would seem. And then we went to the mall to eat lunch, all happy-like, and when we finished, Anna said, “I’ll grab this and throw it away Mama” and I thought I would take a minute to post this picture of happy-Anna. And when I looked back up, the table was empty.
There is a positive, though, to your daughter accidentally dropping her teeth in a trash can in the middle of the food court in the busiest shopping season of the year – that both the janitor that gets down on the floor with you to dig through the garbage, and the grandparent community sitting on the tables surrounding you are just as warm and welcoming and lovely as everyone else you’ve encountered.
Soap is soap is not dishwasher soap: My sister came over when we got here to help unpack, along with my parents and brother-in-law. Upon getting here, my mother said, about 10 times, “I BOUGHT YOU DETERGENT FOR THE DISHWASHER IT’S ON THE COUNTER” (the all caps is meant to communicate the VOLUME OF MY MOTHERS VOICE). When she moved to another room, Amy and I looked for the detergent forever. (like 3 to 4 minutes.) Sure, we could have asked her where it was. But, she had told us no less than 10 times. LOUDLY. So when we couldn’t find it, instead of asking, we thought maybe she just meant regular dish detergent, like Palmolive, which we COULD find. And then we thought, soap is soap, right?
I know you guys, I know. Soap is not soap – which we didn’t fully realize until it started emerging from the dishwasher, like a bad Brady Bunch episode. With women that are much older than the Brady Bunch.
The name of the guy that runs the ACE Hardware store down the street from me is Mike and he’s really nice: That’s it. I just feel like it’s important to note.
We’re home: I would not have chosen to uproot our lives two weeks before Christmas, in the middle of the school year, and haul to Maine. But having my family descend on us to assist on Saturday morning, knowing they’re closeby, and watching Anna put up Christmas lights outside our new house on Saturday afternoon – the first time she’s ever been able to do that in her young life – and having her hug me on Sunday night, after coming around the corner to the lights she’d put up earlier that day, and say, “Mama, I’m starting to like it here…” makes me think that 9 years in for her, we have finally found our home.
And since our Newton-folk are only an hour away, we don’t really have to leave them – which is good – because after having to leave them multiple times over the past two weeks during our transition, I don’t think I really ever want to.
Even if it’s really difficult to look at a fake-tooth retainer while you’re eating your subway food, resist the urge to put it in a napkin. Even if you can’t find the dishwasher detergent, resist the urge to grab the Palmolive. And if your building sells unexpectedly, in the middle of the school year, and you’re without a place to go, come over. We have a cup for your teeth, and plenty of Jim Beam.