Moving Away but Keeping You Close…

Gosh, moving is hard. I’ve done it enough times that you would think I’d remember the physical and emotional strain of leaving the familiar for the unknown.

I’m not sure what I expected to feel, apart from sadness… I’ve mostly been forging ahead, surviving till we moved. Andy’s been living in the Tri-Cities already and life has been more than busy with end of school year, birthdays, packing, purging and goodbyes.

I actually have a minute right now to think about what’s going on, and while emotions are running high, the most noticeable one is gratitude.

It’s hard not to sound like a braggart as I think and write about this last week. It was filled with goodbye parties, surprise Ladies Nights, birthday parties, and friend after friend reaching out to say goodbye…to offer help.

As a small, prime example: I’m writing this from a friend’s house who let us stay (all 6 of us!) for a few nights as our house was packed and cleaned… even though they themselves were packing up for an extended vacation. Inviting us to anything during this transition is like inviting a circus of emotional elephants to parade through the space. And then there’s the kids! 😉

And yet, people keep showing up. Keep offering a hand. Keep inviting and loving. Keep asking and inquiring and caring.

But! Rather than point at me, at our family, these blessings and this generosity instead point right back to the community we have. It speaks to the kindness and beauty and security that can be found when a family is genuinely loved by a village of one-time strangers turned indispensable-friends.

They are the reason it has taken us so long to intentionally seek a new job closer to family. Without the love and support of all these people (and many others who weren’t there!)

Friends-2

we would have left Vancouver long, long ago (photo kept small for their privacy and also because I’m not very good at splicing iPhone photos together…there’s got to be an app for that, right?).

Several people, myself included, have noted that it is a wonderful thing to be sad to leave a place. Instead of throwing off our caps, letting our hair blow in the wind and yelling “good riddance” at the rear-view mirror, we are crying silent (and not so silent) tears of loss and sadness. We are holding necks and kissing cheeks. We are laughing till we cry and crying till we laugh.

We are leaving with full, breaking hearts.

It is so obvious and so truthful that we are going to a good and beautiful place. Our hearts will be filled and smiles will be genuine and love will abound. But it is ok to feel both sadness and happiness. Being sad and a little lost about leaving friends doesn’t diminish the joy we will experience living close to family. In fact, it will be such a balm to see the kids hugging grandparents and kissing cousins.

I know, even, that we will build new community. We will make new friends. But when I think that (and even typing that now) it makes my stomach clench; it feels like a kind of betrayal. I want to stand before the vast universe and yell “I have friends! I don’t need more friends! Why stretch my heart to break it again?! Can’t you please just move everyone next door…?” fist shaking at the sky till my head hangs low, spent. It looks a little bit like a grown up hissy fit.

Then the Universe replies with a truth about love that my mom once told me: “Love doesn’t divide. It multiplies.”

She counseled me with that phrase as we transitioned from one kiddo to two. Just as we moved to Vancouver. Just as we left one community in Utah for another in Washington. Just as everything was changing.

Here we are, 4 babies and a whole new community later. Life keeps changing. Time keeps passing. And the love keeps multiplying.

Thank you, Friends, for hugging my kids, giving them snack after snack, patiently answering all their questions and marveling with me at the wonder of them.

Thank you for opening your arms to encircle me during moms group, ladies night, so much wine, and so many walks… but also, especially, thank you for holding my hand and my heart during the hard times- losing Lucas, The Beach, PPD, work/parenting balance and so many mom-fails.

Thank you for supporting our marriage, for the date nights, baby showers, meal trains, beer recommendations, Bible studies and board games.

Thank you for the million things that helped our lives but went un-noted.

You are forever a part of the love story of our lives.

We are the lucky ones.

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