Putting aside all other thoughts and focuses for the moment, I get butterflies in my stomach when I realize that a year ago right now, we were packing up our townhome in Cary, counting down the days to our planned-for closing date of March 29th. It was one of the most stressful few weeks of my life. I kept waiting for something to go wrong and us to find out we'd packed up our home in North Carolina for nothing, that something had fallen through with the house in Dayton, and all the upheaval and turmoil was for nothing.
Right when we put the formal offer in on the house in Dayton, we found out from Andrew's work that things had changed and the permission he had to move to TN anytime after Nov 2020 was revoked, and if he moved he'd have to resign. Talk about incredibly stressful news when we're working to move states and buy our first home!
We didn't know where he'd be working once we moved. I was stressed out of my mind that we'd spend all the money moving and renting a uhaul truck and driving to Tennessee only for the house to fall through and then what would we do? We didn't tell most friends because we weren't moving to Dayton on its own-- it was the house that was making it possible to move, and if the house fell through, presumably we wouldn't be moving after all. Covid numbers were also up, North Carolina regulations were strict again, and it was just a challenging time and situation to be trying to move in.
On top of that, I was pregnant and my fatigue and chronic anemia were worse, meaning some days I got out of bed and walked to the kids room and had to sit down because I was just so tired. Packing up a home for the eight of us while Andrew worked full time? Packing up a home for the eight of us while pregnant and throwing up? Packing up a home for the eight of us while continuing to homeschool and work my business? Packing up a home without much outside help and wondering if it was all going to fall apart because of some unforeseen circumstances or something we did wrong or who even knows what?? I was a ball of stress and chaos and more anxiety than I think I've ever felt in my life.
I remember packing one night in the kids room while Marius (then 11 months) played nearby, and I turned around and realized his quiet play had moved from stacking blocks to pulling things out of the boxes I'd just packed up. Insert facepalm here.
It was hard figuring out steps of things to do, hard not processing things on Facebook since we weren't announcing until things were settled (because... if you haven't figured it out yet... I like to write and process and put my thoughts on paper).
It was hard getting rid of things and saying goodbye to a whole era of our life and getting ready to make a drastic move not as an individual, but as a family with kids old enough to feel it.
It was hard packing.
It was hard loading!
It was hard giving grace to the kids' big emotions.
It was hard finding room for OUR big emotions.
It was hard not saying goodbye to everyone we wanted to say goodbye to-- because of all the sickness going around and us not able to afford getting sick ourselves, because of not wanting to say anything until things were *for sure*, because I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, because I had zero margin and we were so.dang.tired.
Looking back, I think there are things we would have done differently if we'd known how they would play out, but we didn't, and it's possible I might be thinking more rosey now that I'm no longer in the thick of the sheer energy drain I was living in. Looking back, I can also see how things in isolation wouldn't have been that big of a deal (the electrical surge that hit our row of townhouses and sparked an electrical fire behind our house, shooting sparks and catching our bushes and fence on fire before the fire department was able to contain it) hit much, much harder: without electricity in the hours following the fire, in addition to the stress of the fire and helping our kids through it, I remember feeling beyond frazzled and stressed trying to pack in the dark. In hindsight, I wish I'd called in friends and just said HELP!!! Because we needed it.
It was exciting. It was terrifying. It was bittersweet. It was hard.
When I think back to a year ago today, I remember a lot of stress, very little sleep, so much uncertainty, and a disorienting mix of excitement and grief. It was strange to be choosing something, to be looking forward to possibilities, to be the agent deciding on a ginormous change in my life, and then to spend days comforting sad kids...and evenings crying myself to sleep. Leaving friends behind in North Carolina was HARD and the loss of easily being able to go out for drinks or over to a friend's house to hang out still catches me off guard some days. We were blessed with a solid community and good friends over the course of our almost-decade in NC.
It's crazy to believe all that's happened in the year since March 23, 2021. I'll share more on the anniversary of us closing on our house, but for now, suffice to say it has been a year of dreaming and choosing contentment and growing and gratitude. It's been a year of giving ourselves grace in settling in and making a new home for ourselves. We had no idea what life could or would look like with moving back to Tennessee, and it's been different in some ways, but it's been exactly what I hoped for in so many ways.
North Carolina was good to us and for us and will always hold a part of all of our hearts.
Tennessee has been good in a whole new season, adjustments included.
Here's to change and to dreams, to figuring things out as we go, and to choosing joy and growth through it all.
Andrew and Melanie fell in love over late night snacks, dozing off in the middle of studying for exams, words, and a shared love for stories. We see stories everywhere: in the little day to day incidents and in the bigger sagas over days, months, and years of our time. We cherish the stories that root us and we rest in the Story that gives our lives meaning. We love seeing the threads of stories come together in gut-busting, belly-laugh-inducing, choke-on-your spit ways, and we love the gentle, quiet, easily missed stories that ultimately can play a bigger part in our lives than many other more obvious stories. We're young, we're old, we're growing, we're learning. We make a lot of mistakes, fall down a lot, struggle with life, sometimes sit in our sadness, but ultimately we pick ourselves back up again and keep on trekking. We're on a journey of parenthood now and have been for over ten years, learning and growing into it right along with our six children.