Julie Lyles Carr: Monday Musings...You're Gonna Miss This...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday Musings...You're Gonna Miss This...

You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this

Trace Adkins from the album

Summer of 2004 was just.not.fun.  It was the summer we moved.

In stages.

It was not fun.

And I was not happy.

My husband had been courted by several firms for years to not only continue to run his own book of business but to manage and coach others in the same industry.  But we were happily settled, living in the same city as many members of our extended family, the city where M had grown up and the roots run deep.  We had lived in this community as a married couple for 15 years, had birthed 6 of our kids there, enjoyed lots of MiMi and PaPa sleep overs and football game days with a full compliment of aunts and uncles and cousins.  I had my phenomenal group of girlfriends, going for coffee, meeting for bookclub, studying for Bible study.  The kids had dear friends, lots of activities and a great homeschool network.  It was all I wanted.

I moved a lot as a kid, ultimately attending three different high schools as the pace of my dad's career picked up in my teens.  I hated it.  I hated saying goodbye, I hated being the new kid.  I hated that when M and I got married, I had no hometown in which to plan my nuptials.  It was a lifestyle I didn't want to repeat for my children.

But M had already done the hometown thing.  M had plumbed the depths of Mayberry and was ready for new challenges and new climes.  And perhaps, deep down, M needed to know that he could make a success of things away from the familiar streets and faces of the community in which he had spent his whole life.

Another opportunity knocked.  And this time, M felt it was for him.  He opened the door, and beckoned us to walk through with him.

I was sort of frozen at the threshold.  This was not what I wanted.

We moved in stages.  We put our home on the market and headed down for a two-week hotel stay in our new city.  M stayed in the new town while I went back to the old.  He flew home every other weekend, and I often loaded 6 kids in the car and drove 12 hours to be with him.  We badly wanted our house to sell so we could move directly into what would be our new home in our new city.

But the market was sluggish in our hometown and it took a while.  M rented a small one bedroom apartment, unfurnished.  The kids and I would head to the coast to be with him, carting sleeping bags and pillows.

And I was just miserable.

M was working long hours and  I was cooped up in an unfurnished, tiny apartment with six bored kids.  The first three or four trips down, the kids all got some kind of tummy bug...each time.  I was hauling huge baskets of pukey sleeping bags and clothing across the apartment parking lot to the laundry facilities.  The new city was hot and humid.  I didn't know anyone.  And kids kept throwing up.

We spent four long months juggling life back in our home and hometown and our new life in an empty apartment.  While I missed M horribly when I was away from him, I was struggling with a vicious anger that his decision had brought us to this place, this place up upheaval and separation and change and vomit. I engaged in heavy crying jags.  I despised that little nasty apartment, was terribly homesick and spent far too much time ready trashy detective novels and missing my previous life.

And now I kind of miss it.

I miss that time because that was when a baby 6 of 8 learned to walk.  I miss that time because 5 of 8 was at that adorable stage of being three years old and chatting about his life and revealing to us all his little quirks and oddities.  I miss that time because 1 of 8 turned thirteen and now we had our first teenager.  I look back at the pictures and I can't believe how little the kids were.  I can't believe we weathered this adventure as a family.  And I love how these challenges, the change and the time away from Daddy and the endless road trips and yes, even the endless vomiting, somehow solidified our bond as a family.  And I can look with goofy love at the man who would beam at me when he would get back to that little apartment and say, "Isn't this great?  We're all together..."

I don't wish to go back to that crummy little apartment.  I don't wish to peel back the scabs and stare again into the red hot lava of my emotions during that time.  I hope that M and I never again are at such opposite poles on a major decision.

And yet, we can now laugh at the tight quarters, the piles of kids sleeping in sleeping bags, the way they turned carpet fibers into toys and the week-long stint in which we watched the same DVD over and over because it was the only one we brought from home.  We ultimately leased a house on the island while still waiting for our home to sell.  We moved our furniture down, set up housekeeping, and got back to the daily business of living as a family.  But those apartment days held some sparkling treasures.  They held little gems of my children's childhood days.  And I do miss those dazzling moments, the first step, the first day as a teenager, the giggles, the Thanksgiving dinner cooked in the tiny kitchen.

It wasn't life playing out as I hoped.  It wasn't a circumstance I wanted to endure.  But it was the stage upon which important moments in our family life were played.  The heavy fog of conflict and challenge and emotion often obscured my vision, but when I look back now from clearer vistas, some very sweet things took place there, sprinkled in like tiny kisses of glitter amongst a field of sharp stones.  

So what about you?  What retrospective do you hold about a season of challenge, the job that you hated, the school year you wanted to end, the emotional time that you couldn't wait to be over?  What treasure do you find there when you look back?  Or are you in the middle of such a season?  Feel free to tell your experience in the comment box or write your own post on this topic and place your name and the url of that post in the Mister Linky's box below. 

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