3 years. The latest installment.

My life seems to be broken into interesting pieces… There is the first 13ish years of my life when I lived in Woodhull.  My best friend was (is) Jodie Jordan.  I was a cheerleader.  I got into lots of trouble.  My dad was the Principal.  Mr. Griffin.  Then there was the section of time in Galesburg.  Where I did a lot of plays and also graduated.  Next is the 1 year at Monmouth.  That I hated.  And then I moved to California.  Then there begins a new classification – the time with LBM.  The time before kids.  Then the time of having kids.  Birth and Breastfeeding and Littles.  And then there was the Bells Palsy Time which corresponded with the time when my Pops died.  And then time of Depression.

And then there was 3 years ago last summer was when I was in Woodhull, walking with my kids, and I looked around and thought “Why can’t I buy food in this town?  WHY?  This is stupid.  Someone should open up a store in this place.”  And a new time began.

I came back to my California life and my very struggling marriage.  I wrote my husband a letter saying I wanted to try one more time.  He said he wanted a divorce.  I thought maybe I better wait for the store.  I had enough going on.

3 years ago we moved into Bird Avenue.  The finances were scary and uncertain.  I was scared for my babies.  I didn’t want to accidently break them because we couldn’t make our marriage work.  I wanted them to feel at home at our Duplex and at their dad’s house.

2 years ago I was home again in Illinois.  And still… STILL couldn’t stop thinking about the store.  My poor Mom.  Grandma.  Cheyanna.  Mary.  This is all I could talk about.  This store.

1 year ago I bought the property that the store would be built on.  And Charlie started building.

All those years I kept teaching, and signing up for classes to continue my education.  I got my motorcycle license.   I drank a lot of wine.  I did a lot of yoga but stopped running.  I attended some wonderful births.  I cried a lot.  I realized how lucky I was that I had a handful of people who really, truly loved me, but how everyday friendships were a mystery to me.  I attended a funeral of baby.   And so many people that I loved died these last 3 years.

Now tonight.

Tonight I started packing.  Because we are moving again.  And I started to take down the little things that we placed to make this place a home.  The pictures on the wall.  The Window Sill Society (Corner Kitchen Chapter).  And because I’m so particular, there isn’t an overwhelming amount to pack, everything has some meaning though.  Artwork by my friend Lori who shares a birthday with me.  Artwork by my bestie Sara who tells me she loves me in so many different little ways.  (Sometimes by making mixed-media about The Jefferson’s!  Jealous?  You should be) My pull-toy frog that I bought when I was 18 at the Chicago Water Towers where my uncle Mark had a shoe store.  He’s been dead for years now.  A pickle ornament from StaceyFish and an alligator bead that I know came from either JaneyMac or Janna.  My jar full of Little Chicken feathers that now get used for quill pens on very crafty occasions.

And on and on and on.

And I’m packing because we’re starting a new life.  One that includes a man who at one point thought it would be less painful for us to break up then to admit that he was already in love.  He was wrong.  And we remedied the things that needed remedied.  We’re moving in together and get the keys this week.  Oh god.  It’s a terrible and wonderful mess.   I don’t really want to admit that I need him.  I have a tendency to do things that scare the shit out of me though, and this seems to be the next thing.

It’s so bittersweet.  Leaving this place that we made into home.

I think I’ve been really broken most of my life.  I was broken, deeply broken in my marriage.  The depression that I fought with and against for years, that broke me in ways I still am scared of.  I was broken moving into the duplex.  Broken feels more normal to me than anything else.

I’m not sure that I’m broken right now though.

I am a little scared of the future.  I’m scared about the store.  What if I was wrong…  And people would actually rather drive 30 minutes to a box store than support their local business?  Or would like to see it fail because we all like a good train wreck and they can say “I told you so”?

I’m scared about this relationship.  What if it’s a flaming disaster and I’ve failed at yet another relationship?  What if we move into together and I get sick and he can’t deal with it?

These things though – those aren’t broken things – those are scared things.

My Grandma had a smallish stroke last week.   My mom really wanted me be able to talk to her on the phone (my mom is scared right now even though she won’t say so that it might be the last time, everytime, that we talk to Grandma) but the phone kept cutting out.  I have no idea what my Grandma was saying.  Finally I just said “Grandma.  I can’t hear you at all.  I’ll be in Illinois next week.  You can’t die until you tell me the story in person.”  I was laughing, but shit.  Let’s be honest.  This is not a mystery story.  My Grandma is not going to live forever.  We know the ending.  And how wonderful – I mean – it’s probably not going to be a car accident or a weird murder or something terrible.  It’s going to be because she’s lived a good, long life.  Full of love and kids, grandkids, great-grandkids.  Full of dancing with my Pops.  Full of good loving.  Full of tears, and good food, and the angst that makes life real.

She could still outlive us all, but I doubt it because she’s not mean enough.  Bitter people live longer, but she’s a sweet one.  And I know she doesn’t want to outlive the rest of us.  Don’t dust off your funeral clothes yet though – it could be several years.  (thankgod)

My Grandma in the store

But all of this weighs heavy tonight.  As I put away more little things that have made the Duplex home.  We transition again.  My Grandma is transitioning now that her body has changed again.  And I’m getting ready to be in Illinois next week.  Another transition.  I’ll be seeing The Butter Churn for the first time in 6 weeks.  And it’s been like sending a kid to school – turns out The Butter Churn doesn’t really need me.  Which is good.  That is the way it’s supposed to be.    Thank god!   Because if The Butter Churn did really need me…. it would fail.  I can’t be there.  It was never about me.  But like sending a kid to school – there is a part of you that hopes that your baby needs you.  But the bigger part of you knows your baby has to go beyond you.  You’re still responsible (and how!) but it’s not the same.

And tomorrow I make another list.  I have more to-do things.  Some for moving.  Some for The Butter Churn.  Some for my teaching.  Some for my Birth Clients.  I have a car to rent and papers to sign and an order to place and a bill to pay.

Tonight though.  I get to touch the artwork my kids put on the wall.  And take out the nails.  I put pictures into boxes.  And I pack for Illinois.  And I pray my Grandma will be okay even though I’m not exactly sure what “okay” means in my hope, and that the store is okay, and ditto, I’m a little too ambiguous to know what that means.  And I share this on our blog even though it’s not exactly about the store.  But it is about the people behind the store.  And it’s too personal.  I know that.  But it’s what’s happening tonight.

And lastly – I get to post this.  And Know that Roxi will be there tomorrow.  Cooking and Opening and Making it all Happen.  Because that’s how we roll.  People each ask us independently “How does this all work?”  And it works because we trust each other.  And we’re doing this for the right reasons.

~ Stephanie

And just because: Grandma Great, MeMaw, Mom, and MeIMG_5265

One thought on “3 years. The latest installment.

  1. I’m so proud of you, not only for being brave enough to open this store but also for being brave enough for being so transparent and authentic. I love you.


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