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Seasons of Home: on Endings, Beginnings, and the Plot Twists of Life

I just spent three out of the last five weekends helping my daughter move back to Sacramento. Let me just say I'm exhausted. She lived on her own when Covid-19 came to CA, and the governor shut down the state. At that time, I asked her to come home. I didn't want her living alone socially isolating with a sick older dog, for god knows how long. As it turns out, it was the right call. (It was also an ending of independence and a return to collective living for her.) Weeks turned into months. Surprisingly, she got a new job in the midst of the Covid chaos. (A new, much-welcomed beginning.) She had applied for it months earlier, and the new office was now teleworking full-time. Perfect. Now, after some 20 months of covid isolating, her telework is reclaiming two days per week in the office. So, it's time to go back to Sacramento. Back home? Former home? She was living with us at home, her family/childhood home, but maybe not her home? She had spread her wings early, going away to college and then to law school, and she had not lived "at home" for years.

I remember dropping her off at UCSB on move-in-day. She's my firstborn, and I was leaving her, leaving my baby. There were tears, all mine. If you have children and have endured empty-nest, you know the potent mixture of emotions that such a day brings, sadness, grief, longing, pride, happiness, hope, anticipation, and worry. It's a liminal space, a threshold for both mother and child. (An ending and a new beginning, for both.)

Now she's moved into her cool new apartment, where many hip young folks live, in Midtown Sacramento. She is launched, once again, into her own life. It's a new beginning and ending for both of us. I find these cycles to be stressful on the psyche and exhausting to negotiate. The reorganization and leveling out of family dynamics affects everyone, mother, sister, father, and brother. Covid was the rogue wave that left us with new, deeper waters to level out and navigate. Who knew that charting a course of family dynamics could still be so hard after everyone is "grown!"

Once again, I'm reminded that this is learning to live in the tension between what was and what is, what is and what will be, including everyone's personalities, old patterns, and triggered complexes. Relationships can be exhausting, especially for a co-dependent who wants everyone to be happy, support each other, be positive and grateful, and for peace to reign supreme.

I can dream.

To add icing to my over-baked cake, Mercury has been in retrograde in the past week or so, along with a host of other heavenly orbs. OY!

Mercury, or Hermes as the Greeks would call him, is the god of communication, speech, and travel. He's a trickster, a psychopomp (guide), and he's the only god who can travel between Hades and the upper world of the living. He's the messenger of the gods, patron of travelers and thieves, and the master of boundaries and liminal spaces. He is the ruler of the space between here and there, between waking and dreaming, the master of transformation and synchronicity. Hermes has ruled my world during the past month, and now as the trickster, he is wreaking havoc on my life! Communication, miscommunications, familial resentments, misunderstandings, lack of boundaries, and lack of compassion have all been visitors that have overstayed their welcome. My plans were to refocus on my business and writing once I had helped complete my daughter's move, but Hermes had other plans. Want to make the gods laugh? Make plans. A bathroom remodel that was moving at a snail's pace over the past six months has left the house and yard covered with construction mess. This week, while waiting for the ceiling plaster to cure, the construction crew decided to do next month's project – interior painting– that we had put off for ten years. They decided to do it yesterday and today. Now my house is completely torn apart. Every room is covered with plastic, every piece of furniture is moved into another place or room. My daughter's room, messy from the move, needs to be cleaned and reorganized, but it's now full of the living room. It's complete chaos. My husband, who set up all this work, knows that I'm exhausted and on the edge of holding it all together. He had no idea they would show up to paint; he's thrown off-kilter too. Bless his heart; he's trying to spare me the worst of it. Everything has conspired to keep me from working on my priorities because I cannot live and work effectively when surrounded by chaos. Call it a fault, or what you will; it's just who I am. (I guess it's a good thing I'm not a war correspondent.) I'm not a neat nick by any means, but I do like my home to be in order and clean. Lived-in is fine, but not destroyed and dirty. Sigh. Hermes is laughing, loud and long; so is Aphrodite. They are sharing a big bottle of Dionysus' wine and laughing until they cry. My aphroditic sense of a beautiful and harmonious home, yard, and dwelling place are in pieces, literally. My schedule doesn't matter. My plans don't matter. The gods have decided that this is a period of change that will have its way, whether I like it or not. So, my job is to live in the tension of what is, in the most balanced way possible, while preserving my sanity and not driving anyone else over the edge. Girlfriends remind me. "It will be nice when it's done." Yes, that's true. I just have to wrap my head around it and surrender to the amount of work I have to do on the heels of just moving and setting up another house. Being exhausted doesn't help. So, this is a season of change, again, in the middle of an actual seasonal change, Autumn. It's also a personal season of my time, sacrificed, surrendered to helping family, and dealing with my expectations that haven't been fulfilled and all plans have gone awry. I'm choosing to try to look at all of this as a fresh start for our home, our family, our relationships, and the next step to growing into the best version of ourselves. I hope that this Fall, and the Holiday Season ahead, offer you opportunities to connect, communicate, travel, create, and share love with your family and friends. May Hermes grease the skids of your life! I hope that we can all remain open, hopeful, and generous during the swerves and plot twists of our lives, taking each as an opportunity to better understand ourselves and others, with compassion for all.


Dr. A.

Let me know how your season of change is going. Please drop a comment below or shoot me an email!

Louis-Michel van Loo, Venus, Mercurio y Amor (Venus with Mercury and Cupid/ Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros), 1748. (partial image).

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