Limbo

September 6, 2006 @ 11:50 am | Filed under: Family Adventures

I’m sitting here waiting for the phone to ring. A realtor called
shortly after noon, just as I was starting to make lunch for the kids.
She asked if she could show the house between one and three, with the
time frame somewhat flexible. Of course I said sure, even as the voices
in my head commenced their panicky clamor: The upstairs is a mess!
Rug needs vacuuming! Toothpaste spatters on bathroom mirror! Unfolded
laundry on bed! Dishes! Lunch! Baby’s nap! Oh look she just spit up on
the floor AGAIN!

But I’ve learned to ignore those voices. They never shut up, and you
could drive yourself (or more to the point, your kids) crazy by paying
too much attention to the pressure those strident little nitpicking
mind-voices love to heap upon you.

So I told the kids lunch would have to wait, assigned each of the
girls a job, and called pal Lisa to ask if we could barge our noisy
selves right into the middle of her day. Because Lisa is an absolute
peach, she said of course, and asked if I wanted to send any of the
kids ahead while I did the cleaning.

I decided to keep them here until the realtor called back (she had
promised to give me a heads-up when they were ten minutes away, so that
I wouldn’t have to keep the kids out of the house for a big long
window), and I’m glad I did. Because here it is a little after two, and
there’s been no heads-up call yet. I gave everyone a snack on the front
porch, but no one’s had a real lunch. At least I had time to get the
place presentable. Now the waaaaaiiiiiiting.

But I know this is part of the place we’re in. Limbo. I’ve spent a
lot of my adult life in one kind of limbo or another: in a state of "as
soon as we get through THIS, life can go back to normal." Somewhere
along the line it dawned on me that this IS our normal. There will
always be some factor turning life upside down: a new baby, a book
deadline, an illness, a new job. If I sat around waiting to JUST GET
THROUGH THIS, my kids would spend their entire childhood waiting.
Instead, I have tried to embrace limbo, to make it a place for real
living, not getting-through.

So we go on with our read-alouds and our nature walks, our silly sing-alongs and our bean feasts. We try—

Hey, the phone’s ringing! Maybe it’s the realtor!

***

It was. Calling to say: they aren’t coming. Someone locked her keys
in the car. This ate up all the buyer’s time and he’ll have to
reschedule.

I just called Lisa, cracking up. "I don’t know how you can laugh
about this stuff," she said. But she was laughing too because it really
is funny. As usual, life makes my point far more eloquently than I ever
could. You can’t let Limbo get you down. You have to put up your tent
and make your little ring of campfire stones and get busy roasting your
marshmallows right there in limbo, or else one day you’ll look around
and say hey, we finally got through it!, and you’ll discover that your kids are grown and they never got to try s’mores.


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Comments

8 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. Oh, Lissa! How well I remember those days. And some people were so rude! I guess most people aren’t home during the day? To get that call was always the most inoportune time!

  2. You have a great attitude. So positive! I was doing what you’re doing 7 months ago. I remember picking up the house and going out to the park in windy March with my newborn and 3 littles for a house showing. Then the realtor called and asked to postpone the showing for another 2 hours. (one of many of those calls) It’s great that you can laugh about it and not let limbo get you down.

  3. It’s such a trap–the whole ‘when things slow down’ mentality. I love how you’re determined to keep living life through all the craziness that is perpetual now.

  4. Everybody LIMBO!

    Because it’s the journey, not the destination….

  5. Amen! I think this all goes along with what the Apostle Paul syas about being content whatever the circumstance. I, too have struggled with enjoying everyday, regardless of circumstances. Haven’t been through such difficult times as you have, but have experienced 2 rounds of graduate school, deaths in the family, new babies, 3 interstate moves,and the life of a pastor’s wife… I pray that God continues to help me find joy in the midst of this, as you call it, “Limbo”. And yes, life does have a way of marching on, my baby is 9 months today (can’t believe it!)

  6. Soooo well said (as usual)!

  7. I have no idea how you do this. We don’t even technically *have* to sell our house and it’s only been on the market for one week and my husband is in town, and I’m already set just to abandon the whole idea.

    S’mores, huh?

  8. Oh, dear. We just went thru this on our move from Mississippi back to Virginia. The worst night was when people actually came to the house, so we went to a neighbor’s house. They stayed and they stayed and they stayed. I had my son ride his bike past to see what was up, and he reported that the potential buyer’s kids were playing on the swings and entrenched in the sandbox, and the buyers were sitting in the front porch chairs chatting with the (he guessed)realtor and EATING! It was well past dark when they finally left and I could get Youngest in bed and leave the neighbors – who USUALLY go to bed very early because of their very early work schedule. Wowie zowie. But yes, you guessed it — these were the people who bought the house. They quite literally made themselves at home for several HOURS. I guess being displaced was worth it because of the sale, but at the time, with all the emotions roiling around with children who were not anxious to move and the pressure of doing the house showings myself without DH in town — WHEW!!!

    But – it is just like they always say, it only takes ONE right family to come along!!!

    Best of luck to you. I was sorry to hear you’re moving just as I’m making it back to the East Coast, but I wish you the very best.