Sunday, June 10, 2012

New Beginnings

Hello there! It has been quite some time since my thoughts have found their way to the pages of my journal here, but I knew that they would eventually find their way back. Somehow they always do. Life just seems more celebrated when it is recorded, and I suppose that tonight is as good a night as any to do a little bit of life celebrating! In our family, we are currently celebrating new beginnings. Actually, our family has been celebrating a new beginning for the past couple of weeks, because two weeks ago we moved. We really did. We didn't move far, but we did leave behind our home in the country sunshine and we have now settled into our new (to us) little cottage on Fieldcrest Lane. We have just gone a bit up the road to a new town, but it is a brand new beginning for us all the same.

For the last five years we have called the property of the children's home campus where we worked home. And it was. It was home to our little family of five. The first home we had ever really known together. We had lived several different places in our four years of marriage prior to coming to the campus of the children's home in 2007, but none of those other places were home. Those other places held adventures, some of them fun and some of them not so fun, but the grass always seemed to be greener somewhere else in those early days, so we never landed anywhere for long. We often joked that we were nomadic. Our parents didn't think the joke was quite so funny and sometimes questioned when we were going to settle down. I remember telling my mom that we would stop moving and settle down when we finally found our home. Our place in this world, if you will. And to tell you the truth, not for one second did I ever believe that the children's home campus would become home. I thought it would wind up being just another stop along the way. Maybe we would stay for one year, or maybe two. But never for one second did I ever imagine that we would live there for five happy years. That is because I never counted on us falling in love. But that is exactly what happened. We fell head over heels in love with the people, the property, and the purpose that we found there.

On that campus, my oldest daughter experienced her childhood, and I do believe that it was a happy one. On that campus, my youngest daughter went from being a chubby little one year old to a beautiful Kindergartner. We brought our son home from the hospital to that campus. We laughed, and we cried, and we experienced life together there. And there were many days, seasons, years where I imagined that our lives would always be that way. I believed that would be our forever home. That no matter how hard it got, or what challenges we faced while raising our children amidst teenagers who needed us, we would somehow find a way to make our life there work. But last year, things began to change. We began to notice some problems with the way our beloved daily lives were being played out.

Basically, what happened, what I hadn't counted on after falling in love, was that my own children started growing up. Slowly, but surely, I witnessed all of my little people growing and maturing. I saw it most especially in my oldest. For several years she was by my side as I worked with the teenage girls. She would sit quietly and color while I had meetings or dealt with behaviors. She was my little shadow, and for many years I did not believe that our work with the teenagers was having a negative impact on her or her siblings in any way. We just went about our lives as a regular family, even if our family looked a little bit different than most. When Emma reached school age we decided to keep her home for her education. It was something we had thought about, but hadn't necessarily planned on until we just did it. Homeschooling has turned into so much more for us, but it started simply because I worked with the teenagers after school and in the evenings, so I wanted all of my babies home with me during the day so that I could give them the time and attention that they deserved and needed. My little ones would get Mama during the day, and the teenagers would get Mama at night. (And Boss? Well, he seemed to get whatever was left over, but that's another post for another day.) And I sort of thought that trade off would be enough.

But over time, it proved that it wasn't, in fact,enough. My children didn't just need Mama during the day. They needed me to be their most important person all of the time. And I began to feel like there was not enough of me to go around. That was the first problem.The second problem was that as my children grew in stature, they also grew in understanding about things I did not want them to have an understanding about at their tender ages. I was not ready for my almost eight year old daughter to understand deeps things about drug addiction, abuse of every kind, or sexual promiscuity. I was not ready for her to encounter foul language on a regular basis, and I didn't want her witnessing teenagers she loved and admired be disrespectful towards authority. So the days of my children coloring by my side as I worked began to fade, and in their place came days where I had to ask my children to leave the room. Too many evenings went by where they were asked to leave Mama's side so that I could have a private conversation. And slowly, over time, our house began to feel a little bit less like a home, with our children in one room and Boss and I dealing with an issue (or two, or three) in another. Not every night was like this, but enough of them were. So eventually we began to discuss the fact that things might need to change.

At first, all we did was talk about possible changes. That was the most I could bring myself to do, because the thought of us actually leaving made me feel like I could not catch my breath. My heart hurt just thinking about it. And then last November, quite by accident, Boss and I found a charming little cottage home that we both loved. And it just happened to be for sale for a super great price. It was the very first place, other than our then current home, that we could actually see ourselves possibly living. So we prayed like crazy. And then we bought it. And a few months after that we decided that it would in fact be the next place that our family would call home. We put in our resignation at the children's home for the end of the school year, right around the time that two of our Seniors would be graduating. And then two weeks ago, over Memorial Day weekend, we loaded up a uhaul and headed up the road to our new beginning.

All I can really say now is that I feel blessed. I feel blessed that our paths crossed with Mid-Western and I feel blessed that we called the campus there home. There is not a thing about the past five years that I would change. I feel blessed because Boss will still work there. I feel blessed that the friends we made there became like family, and I feel blessed that they will continue to be a part of our lives. But I also feel blessed to call this new place we find ourselves in home. We have already spent more quality family time together in the last two weeks than we had in the past five years. It is a beautiful thing to get to know the four people that I love most in this world on an entirely new level, and I am excited to see our relationships with each other blossom and grow. This entire experience has been bittersweet. I am deeply thankful both for what was, and now for what is. And I am excited to see where this new beginning is going to take us.