Sunday, November 2, 2014

Nostalgia

   Fall is coming in our part of the world, and with fall has come lots of memories. I'll be driving
Winter in NY
down the road and something- one tiny little thing- whether it be a smell, a color, a falling leaf or any number of things trigger enormous waves of nostalgia. This past year has been full of immense change. It's been a lot of good change, and a lot of testing. We're so thankful for it all and we wouldn't change any of it. We moved from far up north- if Sarah Palin could see Russia, I could see Canada from my house!- to calling home closer to the Gulf of Mexico than Montreal. There's been more change than I can possibly describe in moving from the wilderness with bobcats and foxes in our yard to densely-packed suburbs with strange neighborhood kids in our yard. We went from 20 minutes drive to anything, to 10 minutes from everything we could imagine and multiple locations to choose from. We went from no church community(though a couple friends from the church we left before we moved) to an instant church family of several hundred who genuinely welcomed us, hugged me and the kids with, "Welcome, y'all"s and "Bless yours hearts, we've been praying for you!" at the church my husband had attended for the five months before the kids and I moved down after him.
Winter in southern VA
From almost our entire immediate family anywhere from 10 to 90 minutes away, to the closest family member being 3 to 12 hours away. From feet of snow and temperatures in the single digits and below zero, to the mid-40's in the dead of winter.
   Possibly the most notable changes have been my family members themselves. As a whole, we've drawn so close together. Just before we moved, my sweet friend Hilary said to me on Facebook that our move was going to do amazing things for our family. She said it would make us pull together and love each other even more because all we had was each other. She was absolutely right. 
Last year my husband was worried about leaving me in NY with a newborn with health issues, a 2.5-
Moving Day, November 2013
year-old, special needs 4-year-old, and 6-year-old, a house to purge and pack, a garden and an acre of lawns to tend by myself while recovering from a difficult pregnancy while he moved and settled at our new home, but that is exactly what we needed to do. It was definitely difficult. It brought us to our rock-bottoms, and left us with two choices: come together and work together in a long-distance marriage with extreme stress and make it through, or tear apart and stay apart. We had a lot of trouble, but we never wavered from the former. we developed a whole new appreciation for each other, ourselves, and our God.
Me and my soul's other half
 My husband has worked hard, changed shifts, been rewarded for his immense efforts at work with a promotion in less than a year with the company. I have been blessed with a close neighbor who just happened to be an acquaintance from my childhood and teen years who has become a sweet friend in our time here, as well as a homeschool and MOPS group unlike anything that was available to me in New York. 
   All the kids went through various stages of acting-out during their adjustment to all the changes like our then-3-year-old who insisting on being held by my husband literally every waking hour that he was home from work, and crying almost every night she was in bed, praying to God that Daddy would stay with us and not leave again, but my precious oldest child, my sweet, compliant, helpful angel had the toughest transition of all. After the move I realized just how much I had depended on her and had come to expect her to act much older than her mere six years, because she took on the sass, stubbornness, and inappropriate independence of a teenager accustomed to both the responsibility and self-governance that comes with the age. It took several months, but by March I felt like I had my girl back again. In the mean time there was much grace, love, maintaining a daily routine so there was predictability and stability for everyone, retraining in who was in charge, and expressing appreciation for her help while simultaneously reminding her that I was Mama. 
All my loves, the day Daddy left and this adventure began
   Now it's been almost a year, and as I reflect on the last year, I'm struck hardest by two things: I am so thankful those trials are over- seriously, I think I have PTSD from the trauma of those five months spent apart- and I am amazed about how much we've all changed. 
   Before we moved, there was a mix of responses. Some friends and family were sad and said, "I will miss you so very much, but I am SO happy for you and your family, and this great opportunity in front of you," and others were sad and consumed only by how our move affected them, and were a constant source of emotional drain with their constant, "I don't want you to move! I'm so sad! I'll miss you too much! Can't he find a good job closer to home?" In the end, I distanced myself from those that brought me down because I needed every ounce of energy and more to keep myself and my family afloat. I kept my heart and mind focused on the end goal: Getting to the end of November, to my husband, to our new home in Virginia. At one point I broke down in tears on the telephone with my older sister and said, "I'm sorry if this sounds awful, but I am not sad about leaving you guys and the family. Not one bit. I am only happy about being with my husband again." She got it.
   Before we moved I had a newborn, two toddlers, and a new elementary-schoolers. Now I have a mature-beyond-her-years, yet sweet and nurturing beyond belief 3rd-grader, brilliant and incredibly well-adjust first-grader no longer in need of special needs services for the first time in his life, a precocious, sassy, independent, and still in love with her daddy kindergartner, and a fast, genius, half-monkey climber, independent, tech-savvy toddler who thinks he's five. And I have gratefulness beyond words for every single bit of it. Words cannot express how blessed I am for this past year of trial, blessing, growth, and change. 
Precious big girl
Big Girl and Baby Boy- Sweet buddies

Ninja Boy


 
Sweet Sassafrass

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