I am sitting in the living room of my mom and dad's beautiful new home, cozy in my dad's recliner with Phill sitting in front at my feet. The kids are peacefully sleeping in the basement, and all is quiet while we occupy ourselves with silent Sunday-ish activities.
I'm finding it a little difficult to put into words all the things I'm feeling. First, because I'm feeling many different things--rather emotion-full in general. And second, because I am feeling so loved, so watched-over, so cared-for, blessed, and grateful.
Tuesday was a day when I absolutely embodied the vivid phrase "running around like a chicken with its head cut off". All Monday, after my visiting family left, I sat around. I did nothing. I knew I had a mile-long list to attend to, and, although my conscience yelled at my the entire time, I worked very hard to stay cozy in my spot on the couch.
You can imagine that when I woke up on Tuesday morning, the day the movers were to come and pack us up, I felt the full weight of my Monday negligence. I cried, I panicked, and I flew around getting next-to-nothing done in my frazzled state. Although I felt hypocritical in doing so, I dared to utter a prayer that went something like this: I know I was really dumb yesterday and didn't do anything while I still had loads of time. But please forgive me, and please help me to do all I can today. Then I did my best. I sorted laundry, trying to pack a couple suitcases and simultaneously set aside other things that would be necessary for the next two weeks. And--oh yes--I cried. Then we got a phone call from the movers, and I could hardly believe what they said. They would not come today, they would come tomorrow.
Which meant--miracle of all miracles--that I had one full day to do all I could to be prepared (like I should have been) for the packing-up.
So after sending up an ecstatic prayer of thanks, I settled into an organized plan of action, and was able to clean the house and pack us up for our time out of home. I didn't do nearly all I had dreamed of doing, such as deep organizing or other time-consuming errands, but when I finally sat down that evening, I felt a sense of comfort in knowing that I had done all I could to prepare.
After we got the kids in bed, several friends of ours came over and helped us mop the floors, wipe down the walls, and just deep-clean in general to save us some work. I watched them moving around my house and was moved to tears by their willingness to help. In their smiling faces I saw the love of God. I felt as if He were right there, whispering that it would all turn out right, that He would take care of us.
Moving day, another friend volunteered to take the kids for the day so that they wouldn't be bored. When they decided to go on a little outing to the school library, Jaxon was somehow lost from the group of kids going into the library, and went looking for Reed. When he couldn't find Reed, he decided he wanted to go home. He knows the way, and started to walk home. At precisely the same time that my friend and Reed were near panic and praying to find Jaxon, my Sarah--my beloved Sarah!--drove past Jaxon, picked him up, and called me. She said calmly, "Hey, I have Jaxon. He said he was looking for Reed, couldn't find him, and is now wanting to come home." Somehow I was calm myself when I explained that my friend was babysitting the kids, and he was supposed to be with her. Somehow I knew, too, that this was a simple accident, an oversight, and nothing that warranted my being offended, angry, or fearful. Sarah drove up to the school right as my friend and Reed were coming out of the school, and Jaxon was safely back where he was supposed to be. After a brief time at home for him to regain his equilibrium, and after reassuring my friend that we were all fine and all was forgiven and understood, Jaxon went back to her house and continued to play happily.
I say "somehow" when speaking of these surprising "coincidences" that occurred just within that small event, but I can't deny God's hand in the entire thing. All throughout, He was comforting me and helping me, and showing me that He was watching over my children. Through the rest of that day, and through the next day, too, I was given a sense of peace, a strength I can't claim to be entirely mine, and little signs everywhere that we are being guided carefully through this time.
The movers were cheerful, efficient, personable, professional, skilled, and clean.
Friends came over and helped, gave us uplifting goodbye letters, cleaned, and helped us pack the last of things.
Errands that were time-sensitive were accomplished with ease, no complications, and no interference with our plans.
When we were done packing and it was a little too late in the day to make the 5-hour trip up to my parents' house, my grandparents (2 hours away) happily put us up for the night, where we slept unusually sound, and the children were able to play for a couple of hours.
The drive up to SLC was remarkably without incident, and the kids were absolute angels. No exaggeration here, and no sarcasm. It was really nothing short of a miracle.
Having been here for a couple of days now, the kids have definitely experienced some meltdowns, some sad and some maddening--all to be patiently born and carefully navigated, as I know this is the way they're dealing with the stress. One day after we got here, we were driving back to my parents' after an outing to the park (and an awesome photo shoot that I can't wait to post). The boys started crying, and when we asked them why, they wailed, "We want to go hooome..." Savvy keeps asking, "Are we in Texas yet?" and "We will bring our house to Texas, right?" and asking our dear friend Ciera, "When are you packing your house?" I have explained more than once that we won't be taking our friends or our house with us, each time with a re-broken heart and ill-concealed tears.
But even with the stress, the sadness, the loneliness and the challenges I'm facing in trying to be patient and understanding of my kids' sometimes-extreme behaviors, I am feeling peace and I am feeling relatively strong. That is no small thing, and I keep whispering prayers under my breath for the beauty I see Him orchestrating around me.
Phill remains a constant source of security and safety to me, and every time he hugs me I know that we will be okay--happy, thriving, even--because we are together. I already feel that I've learned one lesson from this move, and that is to draw closer to my family. I treasure them, I need them. I may tell my friends that they have my heart, but my family is what makes that heart even beat.
Lastly, to close on an utterly joyful note, my other prayers (amongst my many layers of prayers, it seems) were answered--I was able to be there for the birth of my niece, who was born remarkably fast in the wee hours of yesterday morning, healthy and with a full head of thick, dark hair. My mother and I held each other and sobbed with joy while we watched Qait roar her baby into the world, her faithful husband Michael at her side. Before we left for home, we stood at the windows of the newborn nursery, looking at twelve newly-arrived babies in their blanket cocoons, a name and a place for each one. "There is hope in the world," my mom whispered, and she is right. There is nothing like a birth--or a rebirth--to remind us: We have everything to hope for.