In October of 2000 (maybe September) my cousin Michelle and I moved into the first floor of a two family home. The two family belongs to my parents Carl and Susan Pauli.
I remember Michelle and I us scheming to move in together when I graduated from college. Upstairs, in my old bedroom, talking on the futon of my parents home, the home I grew up in (for clarity, not the two family). I remember the conversation I had with my dad. He said, practically, "well, check back in with Michelle, make sure she wants to do it, and then we will ask the downstairs tenants to move out." I told him, I did, it was done and we were moving in together. So exciting! We moved in and we lived together for 6 years. Those were an awesome 6 years. We talked and talked, laughed and knew how to take care of each other in small ways, that others may not notice. We supported each other through stress, sadness and tough days. I loved our mornings, Saturday or Sunday. Chatting at the kitchen table. It was awesome. I even had pet names for her. I call her "cousin" or "favorite" (short for favorite cousin, of course). When I got married, I did not move out - I moved up! Jeremy and I took up residence on the second floor. Michelle stayed down. We visited often. We fed Michelle (as she only has soup, smart ones and diet coke in her fridge - lets not forget the kashi!) and we still saw one another lots. When Elliott was born, of course, we were spoiled, Michelle came up even more - and we loved it. All three of us. Because Michelle is awesome.
Early this summer Michelle bought a house. It is a great house about 10 minutes away (and very close to an ice cream show and bakery with good pizza). She has been looking at houses for years - waiting for the perfect fit. I, of course, poked around many houses with her, sharing thoughts, offering support. She found one. It is awesome. It IS perfect for her. I love it. I love being in it. It is SO her! I am so proud of Michelle for saving her money, living wise, working hard, and achieving her goal of becoming a homeowner. She is a true example to me in this regard and in so many others...because, like I said, she is awesome.
About 3 weeks ago, The moving started, the packing, the paper passing, it was all a whirlwind really. A very exciting time of change. Around that same time, I developed a twitch. I squinted my nose, kind of like when you squint your eyes in the sun, but minus the eyes. I noticed it when I was working with my clients. I was concerned that they would think I was making a funny face at them. I did not know what was going on but I was concerned. I had a twitch, how bizarre! The past two days, emotionally, I have been going down hill, I have been worried about myself: stressed, anxious, shortness of breath, depressed. I have been thinking about how maybe I needed to get away, get a facial, do something to try and fix this funk I am in. I was trying to rack my brain to figure out what was wrong - and what is with this twitch?! Today in the car, on the way home from a mini celebration of Elliott's first birthday (of which Michelle was a guest) I figured it out! I was sad. I MISSED MICHELLE. Now I can finally cry. I know what to cry about. I miss my sweet cousin who I love so much. She is close by - so I will get used to it, I know, but for now, I finally know what is "wrong". Change is hard. As exciting as it is - it is hard. As much as I am happy for Michelle, I miss her downstairs and it will take some adjustment. Maybe I will still get the facial (although Michelle may not approve :) to be nice to myself as I adjust. Because, really, it is hard not having that much awesomeness so close. Her neighbors better know how lucky they are - (even if her grass is brown!)
I love my favorite cousin, Michelle.
Now I am in this weird place, where, as a therapist, I know I just "have to feel" and allow my feelings to exist and healing can naturally occur. There is no quick fix. I am just hopeful this silly twitch will go away in due time.