I find it hard to believe that it was 4 weeks ago today that family was arriving in Corvallis to help us move into our new home.
So much has transpired in 4 short weeks. Some days it has felt like 4 LONG weeks. Transition is like that—–Sprint. Crawl. Rush. Slog. Some days it feels like the clock has ground to a halt. Other moments, the hands are spinning out of control.
We have unpacked boxes. Boxes have been passed on to others in transition. We have explored parks, the library, figured out some of the ins and outs of our new house. Alex started swim lessons. We have worked on our toddlers’ inability to stay in his crib or sleep past 4:30am. Oregon driver’s licences were obtained (took two tries for me….yikes!). We had a wonderful 36 hour visit from my friend Becky and she helped us plant our fall garden. Matt has been working like a mad man on our house and has officially started his new job.
It has been full. It has been rich. But it has been hard too. Lacking rest and peace due to Drew’s current sleep issues has been tough. I find that my best intentions and hopes for each day are often off to a very rocky 4:30am start. Even on the rare days he isn’t up by then, MY body has acclimated to waking at that time. It’s one thing to have a child wake up and cry or have challenging sleep, but in our current age, developmentally and physically, he is also leaving me super nervous.
Today, he came in at 5am. I watched him stand at our door for awhile, stretching and looking in and out. Finally he came in and touched me. His hands were FREEZING. He excitedly reported, “I see the TRAIN!” Mister had opened our side door and been standing outside on the picnic table, on the deck, monitoring Amtrak’s progress. AT FIVE AM. Alone. So moral of the story, even when I am sleeping, I not fully resting. Because scary things like that happen.
Previously, in these phases, I have had support in person, often at my fingertips. Following this recent move, however, logically…..it isn’t quite the same. I find myself putting pressure on myself to be adjusted. To be perfect. To be fine. To exude, “Energized”. And realistically? Moving is hard. Leaving community is tough. Not knowing the new community well or having your people, your “home team”, as one of my patron saints, Shauna Niequist, coins them.
“Everybody has a home team: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.”
― Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way
I still have this home team. They just are a little further away. Your “home team” becomes a lot more localized after a move. As in your HOME team—in my case….my immediate family that resides IN MY HOME.
Like with marriage, family is one of God’s most direct ways to show us God’s self. And also, to mirror back the parts of our selves that we may want to hide. It is not always pretty. Polished or not, family is something that must endure and live in and push through hard moments. I have walked away into hidden corners of the garage or our master bathroom to be alone many times over the last few weeks to make it through challenging interchanges with the boys. I have texted friends. Sent raw emails. Received phone calls of grace and listening ears. Found postcards, letters and care packages from friends. All have allowed for walking forward, even when it is hard.
Some of the growing pains are ones we would have experienced move or not. We have two “highly spirited” children. So California or Oregon? We STILL would have faced these moments. Maybe we would have had some more in person support to survive day-to-day prior to the move or enough on our schedules to brush over the nastier moments. But the hard and ugly would still have been there.
A dear friend sent me a letter a week ago that I still haven’t completely read because I cry every time I pick it up. But, she included a quote that has been resonating and sitting with me:
“Every experience God gives and every person He places in our lives is perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”
Deep down, I know that to be true. God’s promise—-in the midst of flood and rain and buffeting waves of change—-is trustworthy. The other night, as Drew and I traveled home from a dinner party, we were given a visual reminder of this promise. It was muggy and clouds full of rain hung low. Suddenly, after popping out from a tree-filled neighborhood the sky filled with light, rain and….a HUGE rainbow. The biggest I have ever seen. We sped home to catch a glimpse from our porch.
Drew was exclaiming, “Mommy! I love the blue!!!! Alex likes the green and Mommy likes RED! Look at all of the colors of the rainbow!!!!!” I had no words. It was one of the most beautiful, magical moments I have EVER experienced. I will always remember seeing this with Drew. He was mesmerized and then climbed in my lap, snuggled and said, “Rainbow went for a nap. It’s gone. I want to go take a nap with the rainbow.” It was truly a moment when I felt God’s presence reminding me that indeed, God is preparing me for this new adventure and that God doesn’t leave me in it alone.
As each day unfolds, there is screaming and fighting, negotiating and bargaining between the boys. We have to navigate schedules and try and balance the needs of the kids. We are counting down to a visit from Grandparents and 1st grade and preschool starting. But for now, we take it a moment at a time—trying to be awake enough to see the meaning in the experiences unfolding in the here and now. All the while trusting God’s promise to us.
We remember that even in the unknowns…
Even in new communities…..
Even in new relationships and friendships….
Even in lonely days….
Even as we miss tried & true, long term friends….
Even as we walk kids into new schools and explore unknown neighborhoods….
Even in all of that….we are held.