My husband got a new job! At one of the departments he was most excited for! To say I was proud and thankful would be an understatement but we didn’t have much time to dwell on those sentiments. My husband’s new department was 3 hours away and he was moving in with a friend two days after receiving an official offer of employment. We had decided a month prior to renovate our kitchen – to be ready in the event we ever had to move – and it was still in a state of insanity. Unfinished drywall still needed to get mudded and textured, light fixtures and appliances had to get installed. CABINETS WERE STILL MISSING. Countertops were a few weeks away. I was also working full time, I had client events coming up soon, I suddenly needed a nanny. Our condo was in closing and needed some repairs. I was suddenly that one needing to handle that. And the person who helped me with all of these decisions was suddenly…gone.
The next few weeks were a blur. We had talked about me staying with the kids in the house until my husband finished his 17 weeks of academy in mid-July but as soon as he left that Sunday to start his job we wanted to be with him and he wanted us. Our temporary nanny was not a good fit and my kids were in tears everyday when I left for work. We decided to up our move to 3 weeks instead of 4 months. I put in my notice and prayed.
Our friends helped as they could. One set up meals for us. Neighbors came over and spent hours helping us install cabinetry, handle small repairs and get our home in good shape. Women would stop by in the evenings when their own babies went down for the night and help me paint. Still another group came and helped me clean. My friend Sarah spent evenings by my side keeping me company while I packed. Some of my co-workers helped me clean out the garage. I never had more hands than I needed, but I always had enough. We found a rental that fit our budget. It ended up being a few miles from my son’s new co-op. Despite the insanity of those 3 weeks, things came together and bit by bit our lives were packed up and ready to move. The day before we drove away, the new kitchen countertops were finally installed.
We moved the evening of Easter. Our neighbors came out and hugged us goodbye (we loved our neighbors!). I drove our car with our three kids and followed my husband driving the trailer. Between traffic, and stops (at one point, all three of the kids were screaming in the backseat), we arrived just before midnight to our new home. The next morning, my husband went to academy and I hunkered down with the kids to begin unpacking and figuring out how to make this new place into “home”.
It took a few weeks (probably months if I’m being honest) for the dust to settle. It took a few weeks to really realize that I was done working outside of my home. It took weeks to embrace the stillness and not find it stifling. It looks weeks to adjust to the constant chatter of my children being around all the time. All good things that were so foreign and counterintuitive to how our lives had been lived these last 6 years.
And then, when I finally had time to think I realized I was miserable. And from this misery I felt the heavy weight of guilt. How dare I feel this way when we’ve worked so hard for my husband to reach this point?! How dare I not be anything but grateful that life has finally slowed down?! I wanted to be. And I am. But the human brain is a funny and fickle thing and I realized that it was ok to be miserable for a time because the months prior had been crazy and we’d really had no time to process all the changes. God didn’t give us an easy transition. He ripped the bandaid of our old life right off and it hurt. I was lonely and homesick. I felt trapped in a house that just isn’t a great fit for how with live that has virtually no yard for my outdoor loving children. We’re off a busy road and it’s noisy. There’s no where to go for walks. And traffic is so bad it took me 45 minutes to go 4 miles to the store.
I decided, in all of my new found free time, to mourn and to give myself the grace to own that, accept that, pray about it and to ask God to use it to shape me and my life into what he is calling it to be. I loved my old house. I loved that it was right by trails leading to a lake and that my son learned to ride a bike on them. I loved our neighbors. We had amazing neighbors that became our friends. I missed our church that we were just beginning to know. I missed our friends. I missed not having to deal with traffic. I missed my co-workers. I missed a vision of my life in our old town that I didn’t realize already lived in my head. And I needed to learn how to let that go. Thankfully, I have the time to slowly do that.
Now what is our life? Most days my husband and I admit that we still can’t believe we’re here. We still feel like we’re going to wake up, I’m going to work, we’ll have a quick dinner before my husband heads to the station. It still feels that way after 4 months. When we are able to reflect on our current reality, the word we think of the most is stillness. We’ve never had life move at such a slow pace and while that might feel like stagnancy to others, for us it’s admittedly like landing in an oasis. It’s let us start to live again. We’ve had time to be a family again. We can think of doing things like camping or hiking or days to the zoo again. My 3 year-old daughter joyfully yells each morning we sit down to breakfast “Mama! Daddy! YOU’RE STILL HERE!!”. We are little one. We’re not going anywhere. And right now in this space, despite mourning our old lives, despite all of the transitions to the new, that’s a beautiful thing.