Wednesday, Sep 28
It’s difficult for me to believe that we have lived here in Carmel for five months. It’s impossible for me to believe that just one year ago, The Hubs and I flew out here sans kids to tour four schools, attend Mass at three parishes, and look at ten houses all over Hamilton County.
But here we are. It’s official. We are registered to vote. We have our Indiana driver’s licenses, and our Indiana plates. Heck, we even have return address stickers and checks! It’s easy for me to sit here in my favorite blogging spot and post photos and Instagram videos of our home. What’s difficult is putting into words how we are, and especially how I’m doing.
Just to re-cap, four of our five children had their last day at our parish school in Virginia on Friday, April 29th. On Monday, May 2nd, they had their first day at our parish school in Indiana. We lived in a hotel for four days, three nights, and then moved into our new home in the middle of their first week at their new school. Four weeks later, school was out for the summer.
Now to share all the feels.
The kids are fantastic. The Hubs is great. I am …… I’m good.
Let me rewind a little bit. When we left Northern Virginia, I was fantastic. The Hubs was great. The kids were not good. I was so excited about this new adventure, filled with optimism and excitement at all that God had in store for our family. The Hubs was, as always, Mr. Steady. We made this decision after tons of prayer, conversations, seeking the opinions of those who had moved out here before us, etc. On paper, he knew this would be so good for our family. The kids, in particular the oldest two, Smarty Pants and Dimples, were very upset. They were doing their best to put on a good face for us and everyone else, but they kept probing and asking questions, most of which had to do with just, “Why?” Bright Eyes, our middle child, didn’t get upset about anything regarding the move until the day before we arrived in Carmel. He curled up in a ball on his dad’s lap and just cried and cried. Social Butterfly was game for anything. She was upset and cried every time we said good-bye’s, especially the hotel. She asked several times after moving into our new home if we could go back to the hotel for a swim in the indoor pool. Little One’s transition was absolutely seamless. She didn’t have any trouble sleeping. Her eating habits didn’t change. She was her usual vivacious, happy self.
The first two weeks were pure insanity. There were all sorts of people from our parish stopping by, some were bringing us dinner, some were dropping off cookies, others were picking kids up to go play at a park or go to a movie with their families. The older two kids were celebrities at school those first two weeks. Everyone wanted to sit with them at lunch and play with them at recess. The younger two were given excellent care by their teachers and were checked in on by our principal. It was truly overwhelming how much people were reaching out to us from the parish and school. But it ended before it began, it seemed, since we arrived just four school weeks before the end of the academic year. It could have been, and probably was perceived as absurd both by those we left and those we joined, but hind sight is always twenty-twenty, so here is my opinion on it now: God’s plan was perfect. He opened all the doors and gave us the guts to walk through them, blessing our every step along the way. It was meant to happen the way it did, as difficult as it was at times. Why? Well, by the time summer was here, the children had school friends. They learned enough about the building itself, the rules, lunch time, recess, etc. They didn’t sit around all summer worrying or being anxious about their new school. They knew what they were headed into and could just enjoy relaxing in our new home and traveling to visit friends. When August rolled around and we started getting ready, their first day jitters were just that. I would imagine if we had finished out the school year in Virginia and moved over the summer, the story would have been different.
I feel like I spent the summer just living one moment at a time. Most days I would spend focused on the morning, and then focusing on making it until The Hubs got home. We did very little during the week and then when the weekends came, we would get out and do stuff with Dad. I had a long list of things I wanted to accomplish in the house, and really just allowed myself every opportunity to enjoy doing projects. What do I mean by that? Well, the kids watched a lot of movies and TV this summer. I didn’t spend time arranging a thousand play dates. We only went to the pool a handful of times. I got babysitters to come for a couple of hours each week so that I could go run errands alone. We went on a ton of dates. I guess you could say that I needed to just do whatever I needed to do to make myself feel at home here. And for someone like me, who puts a lot of stock in my environment, that meant spending an inordinate amount of time on decorating our house so it would feel more like home.
But a house isn’t the only thing that makes a new place feel like home. Family coming to stay really brought a sense of settling in for all of us. Hosting friends did too. Fireworks on the driveway and roasting marshmallows on the patio, attending our parish’s Corpus Christi procession and a Triple A baseball game downtown, it all helped.
But making memories in a new place doesn’t seal the deal either. Making friends, not just new acquaintances is key. The kids have done it, and to be honest that was my sole focus when we first arrived. I wanted to do whatever I could to encourage them to make new memories with new friends. It’s taking a lot longer for me. I’m still in the beginnings of the long process of laying the groundwork for true Christian friendships. As any mom would know, or anyone who’s moved to a new place for that matter, it just takes time and energy, two things I don’t have much of lately.
The moving process is exhausting, there’s no question about that. Beginning with the sale of the old house all the way to unpacking the last box in the new house, it takes a lot out of a person. But what also takes a lot out of you is the letting go and the attaching too. I miss my friends in Virginia. Like a lot. I think of them often, wondering how they’re doing, especially as it relates to the things we used to do together: dance carpooling, Back to School activities, standing on the sidelines at games, running into each other at Mass or at the grocery store.
But you know what happened? I met new dance moms. I sat with a new friend at Back to School night. I met new soccer moms. I see new friends after Mass. I even ran into someone I know at the grocery store a few weeks ago. I guess that’s the biggest blessing about moving: My mom life requires me to keep on doing all the same things I did each day and each week no matter where I live. It’s about taking those everyday moments and looking up. Who is around me. Have I met her/him yet? Introducing myself and asking what grades the person’s children are in at the school. Sharing with perfect strangers that I just moved here recently and having the usual, “Where did you move from and how do you like Indiana so far?” conversations over and over again. It all helps. It takes energy, but in the end, it’s worth it. It’s worth going outside of my comfort zone into the unknown. And then, after a few weeks or even days of stepping out, I step back in to the comfortable and loving arms of my family. It’s true what so many people told me about moving: Relocating a family draws you closer. It’s true for our clan, that’s for certain.
I have days when I get emotional about what just happened. I have days when I feel so distant from people. But at the end of the day, deep down to the tips of my toes up to the top of my head, I feel peace. I know that God had this in his plan for each one of the members of our family, as individuals and as a group. So when the bad days or the uncertain moments of being here in a new place bubble up to the surface and cause me to doubt, I cling to the knowledge that only heaven is the perfect home. Only heaven.
If you’d like to hear more about our relocation to Indiana, here are the first four parts to the story!
And to get little snaps of life here in Indy, follow me on Snapchat! You know you wanna try it!!!