Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Things We Leave Behind

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” -A. A. Milne
I've been mostly really excited about NYC lately. Honestly, just the other day I told Peyton that when I flip back through pictures of the city on my phone, it stirs something inside me and I truly can't wait to get back to it. He was about as shocked by those feelings as I was. It's just nothing I expected and I totally attribute it to the Holy Spirit being at work in my life.

That said, this week I've allowed myself to really sit and think on all the things I'm going to miss next year. I know that next year will be such a fun year for our family, but I also know it will challenge me. Likely beyond anything I've ever known. This post is going to sound whiny and I'm sure also ungrateful for such a wonderful opportunity, but just like on my regular blog I want to strive to be true to my feelings.

Here are some things I know I'll miss. The shallow stuff first:
- having a Target basically in my backyard
- having easy accessibility to really anything, for that matter
- the comforts of a relatively small house (as opposed to those of a relatively small apartment)
- a yard (okay, I actually don't think that's shallow, but it's more so than the stuff to follow)

Now onto the important stuff (which is basically all relational):

1. My parents. I'm sure I'll write a whole post on this at some point, but it's just hard. Except for one month when I was a Summer missionary (one of the worst- and most growing- months of my life), I've never lived more than half an hour from home. It's hard to think about. It's hard to think not only about my heart but also about my parents' and our childrens'-- they are so wrapped up in one another's lives.

2. Peyton's parents. We see them less, but we appreciate and adore them so much. I'm going to miss my in-laws. After a conversation with some friends a while back, I realized it was a blessing I took for granted that I really enjoy living in the same town with my husband's parents. I do and we'll miss them greatly.

3. Our friends. We are hugely blessed to have a handful of close couple friends. The wives in these couple are so dear to me and are truly a support system for me. I was thinking last night about Carrie and how they'll likely bring home their fourth baby after we move. That's really hard for me, y'all. Aubrey and AP were tiny when Carrie and I got to be friends. Aubrey is literally one of those friends Annie doesn't remember her life not including. That's hard in and of itself. And then there's the three other children we have between us. Carrie and I have visited each other in the hospital with each of those three children. I remember Carrie and I having a good laugh when I had Graves in a PAPER SHIRT because he spit up on/pooped on the MULTITUDE of delicate gowns and bubbles I had brought for him. I know she was thinking "Oh, SD, already figuring out the ropes of being a round two momma". I remember how terribly insecure I was during Graves's first few months that were difficult to say the least and how in some ways I felt like I was doing it for the first time. I remember being worried about Annie's behavior at one of her kid's birthday parties and her reassuring me that we were all doing our best and no one was judging me or my parenting. I remember bringing her and David food in the hospital and I remember delivering chili on a particularly rough week one time. I remember analyzing schooling choices for our big girls and not being one bit surprised when they winded up in the same place. I remember the couple dates that though SO infrequent seemed SO natural. And I remember the first few times we talked about adoption. I remember us packing up our entire families and driving eight hours to greet one of dearest friends when she brought her adopted son home. It's really hard for me that I won't be here to welcome this baby home and to offer Carrie a hand when I otherwise could have. It's also painful knowing we could be going through the same journey at the same time were it not for this adventure. Of course, as I've said, I have a peace about waiting. Most days.

4. Trips south. We've tried to get down to see Granny more often lately and (who knows why it took us so long?) we've had the foresight to coordinate these trips so we could see El and Minda. I HATE being morbid, but we only have so long to this as far Granny is concerned. As far the other friendship with El has gotten stronger and richer than it's ever been and I've come to view Minda as a really close friend, too. It's going to be rough to say goodbye to those visits.

5. Annie's school. This one is really associated with a lot of fear. I've grown to love Annie's school more than I can truly articulate. I feel like it's the perfect fit for us and I've had such a peace about sending her there. So it's really sad to leave. But the most difficult part is that space is sort of limited and by leaving we're essentially giving up her spot. It's one of those things that is so hard for me to realize I'm not in control  of, but I really never was.

6. Our church. We've made amazing friendships there and in the last couple of years, Peyton especially has really poured his heart into service for this community. It's going to be hard to leave it. Also, and I want to be careful how I say this, because like I said we've been blessed so much by so many relationships, but...our church went through a time of intense dryness over the past few years. I think there were several factors, but it became a cyclical thing and one thing lead to another and vice versa. Peyton was/is over Adult Discipleship and over those years, he saw little fruit from his efforts, I think in large part because of the lack of support he received. And it really took a toll on him.  It was disheartening to see him so discouraged at times. There were times we even considered that we might should be worshiping at a different place. But ultimately, we felt God leading us to stay. And there WERE times, at least for me, of great confirmation of this- Sunday nights, my Wednesday mom's group, and just various interactions with people dear to us. Anyway, fast forward to this Summer. Appointments went out and our church received two new pastors. It was a time of transition, but it went so well. Change is always hard for me and I adored our old associate pastor so much, so I didn't exactly look forward to it. But, it's been such a blessing. Both our new pastors are men of great integrity and they are both really genuine. Also, they both came into their roles and almost immediately jumped into community life with a level of strong transparency. I think all those things really helped our church grow as a body, and where needed, heal as a body. Additionally, they are both incredibly passionate about their faith. I put it on Facebook but one of my favorite things our new senior pastor, Brother Mitchell does this Welcome! To! The! House! Of! The! Lord!" greeting. He comes in from the back, walks about half way down the aisle and happy-hollers at us about being filled with the light of Christ and shining it into the world. I will never, ever take for granted having a pastor who is passionate for the Gospel and enthusiastic about service to Christ and the world. He's also really active in involving children. Last time we had a baptism, he invited all the kids up front and when Annie put her bread in her mouth and then remembered to dip at communion he was so gracious. He and our associate pastor both sit down on the floor during the children's sermon. Of course, that blesses my heart. And Peyton has already formed a sort of special connection with Owen, our associate pastor. They are both "thinkers", both sort of analytical, and while all our pastors have been (are were being in the case of our last associate) seminary trained, Owen is by far the most "academic" pastor we've had. Of course, that is the kind of spiritual leader that really encourages Peyton in his faith. It's just awesome, the way things have been happening. I'd even go so far as to say (and I do NOT say this kind of thing flippantly) that there's a spirit of revival in the air. I leave the place in tears as often as not and I can see it in other people's faces. Even the music seems different. I honestly didn't expect this to be something I'd miss so much, but I think it may be one of the things I miss the most. It's hard to leave something you just found when it's something you've been longing for and praying over for years.

7. Junior League and the CPC. That may sound weird to y'all, but volunteering and going to League meetings and activities has been a big part of my life this year. I've grown to love serving in these areas and I've made real relationships though both. These two organizations are dedicated to serving children and women and I've found my place in both. It's going to be hard to let go of that. Sitting in our first Junior League meeting this year, I felt such a sense of pride in being part of such an amazing organization that accomplishes SO much for the community. Also, there's something sort of abstract that's really not specific to the two organizations. Namely, they provide me with something I do for me. They give me a purpose outside mothering. I love mothering and  it is the highest calling on my life right now outside the general calling of the Great Commission. But. It's nice to invest my energy in something unrelated to taking care of my children. I realized just recently that in NYC our family will take priority in a way it literally never has. From when Ann Peyton was tiny, I worked at our church's Mother's Day Out program two days a week. Last year was my first not to do that, I tried to involve myself in these other ministries/organizations. While they neither one filled the void MDO left, they do provide adult interaction and an opportunity to serve, both things I'm immensely grateful for. When we're in NYC, there won't be an abundance of babysitters and Peyton's schedule will likely be less flexible and so I know I'll be more limited. Honestly, even if we did have a plethora of babysitters, we need to spend this special year(s) focused on getting the most we can out of the city. I don't want to waste a minute of it, but there are sacrifices to be made. Quite honestly, I'm afraid. One of the hardest things in this parenting journey so far has been the loneliness and isolation. Of course, I know the main contributes to that will be items one through six, but this compounds it.

So those are the things I'm going to miss the most. I'm sure there are others that I haven't even begun to think of. Truthfully, there's a lot I'm scared about in regards to this adventure. My biggest fears aren't what awaits in the big city, though. What I'm most afraid of is the hurt that comes from letting go of the things we'll leave behind.