We changed our life (Part 1)

Hey ya’ll. Here I am, in TEXAS.
TEXAS, ya’ll!

June was one of the craziest, most life-changing months of my life (minus when we brought home newborn twins. Nothing tops that).

We closed on our house of 9 years.

A gift from our amazing, thoughtful realtor

I packed up the majority of our stuff, all while solo-parenting 4 kids, because Aaron got orders so late in the game that we didn’t have time to schedule the Air Force movers before the buyers wanted to move in.

And on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, we left Virginia.

The goal was to leave by 7:30am but LOL. Last minute packing, loading the car with kid stuff, plus kids, plus dog, locking the u-haul trailer I was pulling (and unlocking and adding stuff, and relocking) all added up.

I was doing surprisingly well emotionally. I didn’t really know how I would feel that morning. I anticipated lots of exhaustion from a sleepless night but, blessedly, I slept well the night before (due to packing exhaustion and running around like a crazy woman the day before).

But emotions ran high for the kids. Benji had a meltdown. He refused to get in the car. Then once he did get in the car, he pulled out all the DVD cords from the DVD player that our neighbor, Tyler, was graciously trying to hook up for me.

Benji screamed and bawled his eyes out.

I don’t think it was about leaving our home, not on the surface, but underneath, of course, of course, it had everything to do with leaving.

It was the unknown, the lack of routine, being stuck in the back of a cramped car with too much stuff.
It was leaving the only home he had ever known.

I wanted to be kind, and understanding, and loving, and comforting.

I also wanted to be able to shut the hatch on the Durango without crap falling out the back. I wanted my four year old and two year old to BE STILL so I could buckle them in their carseats.
I wanted Micah, my other 9 year old, to stop saying he “wasn’t going!,” all while sitting like a balled up turtle on the porch, and just GET IN THE CAR!

But all I felt was completely helpless. And my tears came too.

But by the grace of God (and the prayers of so many friends that day), I was able to climb over that helpless hurdle, hug my dear friend Amanda (who was crying), get the kids buckled in, and pull away from our home into our new life.

We got McDonalds and everyone felt better (even the dog, who ate Micah’s Egg and Sausage biscuit. We had to get Second McDonald’s after that, because DEAR GOD we had had enough meltdowns for one morning).

I was not alone on this crazy journey with 4 kids. My friend (and former student/babysitter) Savannah traveled with me to be my “wife” for the next 5 days. She was indispensible to me as we drove, mostly by handing out snacks, breaking up fights, and dousing a paper towel stuffed in the air vent with lavender oil every 15 minutes (“Anxiety, be gone!!!”).
The GPS said 9 hours.

Around hour 79, I said to Savannah, “You know how, when you’re going through something awful, you think, ‘tomorrow, all of this will be over. Tomorrow.’ That’s what I’m holding on to right now.”

(It took us 13 hours and overall, it went really, really well. But. It was 13 hours. In the car. With 4 kids. And an anxious dog. OMG.)

I had never driven more than 2 hours by myself with the kids before this day.
(Hang on. I’m taking a moment of silence to commemorate this feat).
Okay. I’m back.

We arrived in Montgomery AL, all in one piece (smelling powerfully of essential oils), at 9:30pm Central Time (10:30 Eastern).

I had been talking to Aaron off and on all day and the anticipation to see my husband after 9 weeks apart was killing me. In fact, when I missed the turn for the hotel (it was SO DARK!), I may have uttered several 4 letter words as I circled around to find the damn entrance.

He was in our hotel room. He was so close. I smoothed my 13 hour hair by squinting in the rearview mirror and put on some chapstick. (Whatever. Just whatever…)

My heart was pounding as I stepped out of the car, telling the kids that I’d be back in a few minutes, and double-timed it to the hotel desk.

I slid the key card into the lock and turned the doorknob.

And there he was.

“Hey beautiful.”
“…hey.”
“You’re here!”
“I’m here.”
We were there. We.

Together.

We didn’t get any pictures of our reunion, and honestly, it wasn’t as “magical” as I thought it would be (exhaustion and 13 hour hair, remember?).

But it was us. And it was real.
And it was very, very special.

  To be continued…

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

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