Its been almost six months of processing some heavy stuff I never saw coming at me. Cancer in my family, a job loss, a new job with more travel (read as: more time as a faux single parent), learning to daily outlast the antics of an almost threenager - you get the idea. In the midst of it all, writing seemed pointless because well .... priorities. And just when I felt like things were starting to improve and we could go back on cruise control - I got sideswiped.
As a kid I remember being asked time and again if my dad was in the military because of how often we moved. But he was just the world's most upward moving accountant in the late eighties/early nineties. But with each move seemingly came leaving someone behind I truly loved as we headed off to our new home in a car full of heartbreak.
With move number one, I didn't speak for the 4 hour ride between the old and new house. For the dramatic five year old that I was, that was a miracle in itself. My parent's have recounted more times than I can tell the story of when I finally broke my silence - an incredibly dramatic outburst of "you took me away from my Grama". We were tight. I remember those tears like it was yesterday, not three decades ago.
With move number three, I left behind the closest friend from my whole childhood. One last hug in a Taco Bell parking lot in small-town North Carolina on our last drive out of town. To this day I can't see a cinnamon twist without waxing bittersweet about that day.
When I headed off to college, I was torn between choosing a campus full of high school friends or one that was a better choice for my career path. Thanks to the practical part of my personality, off I went to another state where I knew not a soul. I cried like a baby for hours when my parents pulled away that August afternoon.
Sure in each situation I eventually acclimated to my new normal and made new friends. But it was never easy.
But today it's not me leaving. It's my friend. My mom friend. The one who has been by my side after I learned I was pregnant. Who hugged, encouraged, and prayed with me when we thought we might loose our kiddo at the end of the first trimester. Who surprised us & showed up with breakfast on a Saturday morning to help paint the nursery. Whose kids feel like my own. Who I dared to show my unorganized junk room at its worst. Who has a listening ear for everything from theology to thoughts on the latest BigBoo Podcast. Who would give her right arm to serve someone in need.
Despite my seemingly constant prayers for a road to open up for her family to stay, God has a bigger plan. I've spent too much time the last few weeks selfishly thinking about myself. You know - how she won't be here to pick blueberries next year, or watch fireworks in July, or attend birthday parties, or share coffee over Bible study. I've thought about me.
But this week I started to think about things differently. Sure I'm losing my closest friend to a few hundred miles. But she's the one entering a stage of constant newness. Of meeting new friends. Of figuring out the best grocery store. Of finding a new church home. And she will. And I want her too. Because the years ahead will be full of God ordained moments because she was willing to step away from all that she (& I) held dear.
So all of this has got me starting to think back to my mom. All those times we moved - she did too. But I honestly never really thought about what she gave up each time. Now that I'm a mom, I feel like I can finally comprehend the weight of each move. She had to pack a whole household. Learn her way around a new town. Support three kids in their own transitions. And she left her friends too. Mom friends are so important - and sometimes not the easiest to come by. So hold on tight to the good ones, my friends.
And praise the good Lord for FaceTime & texting! Keeping long-distance relationships strong is so much easier than they were decades ago for my own mom. But it all still doesn't make today easier. By the time she reads this I'll have given that one last hug (for now), waved the Denali and moving truck goodbye, and then certainly have filled a few buckets full of tears.
Jaci - never did I expect this day to come but as thankful as I am for every memory I have that intertwined with you and your family, I'm pumped for the ones we have yet to make. Even if they are in Florida!