So often I post on tips and how-tos and simple information. And then there are those posts that come straight from my heart. I have to share a secret: These are the posts I like to write best. Hopefully, some of you can still relate to them. I have a feeling some of you are kindred spirits. You’re the type of readers I would love to spend hours chatting together over coffee or chai if we had the time. Can you reminisce a little with me today?
Thornton Wilder once said: “If you write to impress it will always be bad, but if you write to express it will be good.” I’m not writing to impress today. So, I hope he’s right!
This morning I woke up in a different home…a new home…a home that is not quite home yet.
For, you see, my home is still at 124 Kallie–in a little townhouse 10 minutes down the road.
It’s a home that I never wanted to become home, a home that I never expected or planned.
It’s a home that took me a year to hang curtains…because we wouldn’t be staying long.
Part of me didn’t want to move…because moving means moving on, and I’m not quite sure I’m ready to move on yet.
Oh, I’ll be OK. I always am. I remember crying all the way home from college. Because, then, college was home. But when I went back for my first visit, it wasn’t. It was just never the same again.
And 10 years later college is just a distant memory.
And so, today, we leave our home. Our home that we never wanted to be our home but became just that.
Four years ago my heart was shattered and bleeding. In an abrupt move of over 3,000 miles, we left the mission field and our small family of three settled into a two-bedroom townhouse in my home town.
It was supposed to be temporary. We signed a one-year lease. And then another.
Before we knew it, we had lived at 124 Kallie Loop for four whole years.
And then, in June, the landlord called and said he was selling.
Oh, we had already been thinking about moving. And, so, this was, in a sense, some confirmation.
And part of me brimmed with excitement. With any move comes the prospect of starting over–whether it be a move to another continent or a move just down the street.
124 Kallie has seen us through many hardships, toils and snares–to quote the old hymn.
But on 124 Kallie, we’ve experienced God’s amazing grace.
Somehow, leaving this place…and moving a mere 10 minutes away, is like closing a book–or at least a chapter. And it’s a chapter we can never re-read again.
That 13-month-old baby? She’s now 5. Five! And with tears of joy my mind’s eye takes me to the moment she stopped “walking” on her knees and mustered up enough bravery to try it out on her two feet and took off running through the kitchen on 124 Kallie.
I see her two-year-old verbal self singing and dancing in her princess clothes: “Tap, tap my shoe! One and two and three. Tap, tap my shoe. Mommy and Daddy and Me!”
Even at 5, she still makes up songs. I hope she does for a long, long time.
I see me nursing her in the recliner and incredulously thinking to how she breastfed until we could carry on complete conversations–something I would have never imagined myself doing.
I see my first baby handing my husband the pregnancy test that would announce to him that baby #2 was on her way.
I think back to the summer of 2010, when my very pregnant self could barely take the heat. I wish I had savored that time more. I’m so glad I took my oldest baby to the park for one last memory of just the two of us before baby girl #2 arrived because, truly, it’s hard to imagine life now when it was just the three of us.
I’m seeing my second labor. I woke up in that bedroom on 124 Kallie, and my water had broken. “Oh no!” I think. “Here we go again.” Yet, my labor progressed fine those four hours at home with my husband and my doula. And then we made our way to the hospital.
Before getting into our car, I stole one last glance at the full moon just over the trees. It whispered: “I told you she would come tonight.”
Oh the rest of 2010 and 2011 are such a blur. I had the baby blues and that second baby was high maintenance. On 124 Kallie, I rocked her through pneumonia, breathing treatments and croup.
I relive that frightful night when I awoke to my husband telling me he thought he was having a heart attack. It felt as if a 700-pound man were sitting on his chest. We called 911, my dad rushed over to stay with the baby, and I watched as they placed my husband on a stretcher.
I see myself fumbling over cookbooks and internet recipes, learning how to prepare meals void of gluten, dairy, eggs and nuts.
That night I thought I had thyroid cancer…when I pulled the baby from her crib and crawled into the toddler bed and slept with them both, amid tear-stained blankets, all night.
I see that December morning my husband reached down to kiss me goodbye as he left for work, and I whispered: “She has conceived and will bear a child.”
I think about the fretful 12 days I wondered if baby #3 would ever decide to come on her own. And I see myself bolting from the bed, holding my back and grasping the corner of the bathroom counter. And telling my husband: “I think this is it!”
And I see my doula coaching me through the labor pains as I soaked in the tub. And me telling her: “I need to push!” And us rushing to the hospital just in time to meet our 3rd little redhead.
I think about opportunities lost–the widow across the street who sold her house and moved a few months ago, the single dad, the Egyptian couple expecting a baby and the countless neighbors in dire need of Jesus.
Did they see Him in me? Even a glimpse? I fear not.
Because those four years on 124 Kallie were hard. Years of pregnancy and depression and trials and sometimes wondering how in the world we’d be able to afford to eat and…of being so wrapped up in my own world that I let so many people just pass me by.
I want to remember the good from 124 Kallie, leave behind the bad and live more intentionally in our new home, in our new neighborhood.
I want to realize life while I’m living it.
So I’m saying goodbye, 124 Kallie. You served us well. You served us well.
“Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?” ~Thornton Wilder, Our Town