My life of leisure came to a dramatic halt Thursday night.
Oodgie and Cheeky, who had been putting off their arrival after reading too many Austin weather reports, finally arrived. Fresh from a summer at the pool in NoFo, Oodgie looked like she could pose for Ebony magazine, and was visibly relieved that the wait was over. Cheeky, blissfully ignorant of the significance of the move, was her normal perky, talkative self, more interested in trying to break the world record for continuous repetition of the "No you listen to ME!" (as if we had a choice).
Watching her run and jump into my arms at the airport will be one of my favorite memories for years to come.
Trailing behind them were a pair of heartbroken grandparents gamely putting on a brave face while the worst scenes from The Road and Where the Red Fern Grows played out in their heads. They had come to help smooth the transition to the Lone Star state for the ladies and to confirm that we weren't secretly joining a hippie commune or a rodeo tour.
...and likely to be one of the most emotionally exhausting weekends of our collective lives.
For three days, we had a crash course on Austin culture. We swam at Barton Springs, had barbecue at Lambert's, shopped at Whole Foods and watched the bats. We determined that just because something was "walking distance" by our New York standards didn't mean that hoofing it on an August afternoon was a good idea. We got caught in returning student traffic on Guadalupe and drank a lot of Shinerbock.
The apartment went instantly from a relatively tidy bachelor pad to what looked like a garage sale after a bear attack. Cheeky immediately chose the bedroom closet as her designated sleeping area, and Oodgie spent a little too much timing checking out the hot bodies in the pool downstairs (which is unnecessary when you consider the look I've been going for).
The chaos and angst about the future was a heavy counter-balance to our happiness at being together again. We found ourselves snapping at each other at times, knowing full well this was a cause for joy but being too spent and anxious to behave any other way. Cheeky, thankfully, didn't give a crap about any of that, and would conveniently insist on playing hide and seek or drawing pictures whenever it looked like the some grapefruit-sized boil of frustration was about to burst out of someones temple.
So this morning, when we dropped Cheeky off at her new school for the first time, it was a moment of catharsis. Our four-year old walked casually into the room, found her cubby, and promptly found the dress up section of the playroom. She gave us all hugs and told us she'd see us later, leaving the the adults to lose control of all voluntary motor functions once the door closed behind us.
The door of opportunity lay wide open before her and she casually walked through it. As usual she was braver than all of us.
So now we're officially on our own in Austin. The ECG's are on their way back to NYC, and tomorrow officially marks the first day of the rest of our lives. The hard part is over, and we can focus on building something freakin' awesome here in Mexico Austin.
Here's hoping we've got enough liquor in the cabinet to get through it.