It’s with the best intentions I write to you. Less of a good-bye letter, more of a thank-you-from-the-bottom-of-my-heart note. We’ve had our ups and downs, you and I. Like summer days with blue skies that stretched to the tips of the mountains in my backyard, barely hitting 85 degrees but feeling like it was 100. Sitting on the deck soaking in the whirrr of the hummingbirds, the swoop of the hawks, coyotes at dusk, grass as green as a velvet blanket. But you had to blow it when summer came to a screeching halt, short lived, ending practically overnight as temperatures plummeted and daylight ran. Okay, okay. I’m not here to tell you what I’m angry about. This is a litany of thoughts as we pack our bags and move on.
When we arrived, Regi and I were running on empty in some ways. The opportunity to move hit us out of the blue–but at the best time. You may or may not know this, Wyoming, but parenting is difficult. It’s messy, nothing like they (whoever they are) promised. It’s like being handed the fanciest, priciest, most technologically savvy vehicle, then being deprived of the key, let alone the instruction manual. Quite frankly, it sucks at times. And so we left Nashville with our parent tank nearing empty, in agreement with our little family that moving meant refocusing, reorganizing, restarting.
I’ll never forget packing up the stuff, all our stuff, and making that cross country move. While we were drained emotionally and mentally, at least we had a semi truck full of things we held dear. Like furniture we’d collected over the years but never used, boxes of Grandma’s china and our barely used wedding china, baseball cards and various collectibles I won’t acknowledge, photos –triplicates, blurry ones, the ones of people we chose not to acknowledge anymore. Once we moved in, we still couldn’t bare to part with much of our stuff so it never made it to the living room. I’d held on to Christmas decorations that never should’ve crossed state lines, plastic bins stuffed with yellowed Kindergarten papers from my school days, dozens of Rolling Stone Magazines from the 70s, scary looking collectible dolls, passed down stuff that I couldn’t even remember who did the passing down. Luckily this move brought us a nice basement which became the perfect place to store our best intentions of sorting through the boxes one day, some day, maybe never day.
Then life happened. Instead of the emptiness getting filled, the hole grew. So much occurred, so much screaming, wringing of hands, so many tears of anger and hurt. Like we’d been side swiped by a Mack truck and were waiting on road side service–who never showed up. You know what I’m talking about, Wyoming. You know the sleepless nights, fits of rage, the unrest, the slamming of doors, the ultimatums, the fear. I thought moving to this bubble was going to shield us. It didn’t.
I have to say, you stood strong, Wyoming. Never let me down. You challenged me–that’s putting it mildly–and taught me more in this four years than any other time in my life. Among other things, like how to drive in driving snow, how to shovel and plow all that snow, and how to laugh after running into snow banks, completely buried, because I refused to believe ice was that slippery. I dusted off my rusty skis and learned to enjoy the mess in front of me. You gave me friends who kept calling and pushing me to new limits, like hiking through mountains so high and so difficult on hot summer days just to enjoy the view. All for a new perspective I’d otherwise never experience had I not dared myself to go a little further.
You know what hit me recently? For the times I felt like an utter failure, all I had to do was look out any window of our home and catch a sunrise that was more beautiful than any I’ve ever experienced. Those towering mountains capped with snow filled evergreens, the sun shining her morning light as she peeked over the tips. Sunsets that plunged those green mountains with bold purples and pink. Words cannot describe the beauty that prodded us with the gentle reminder that no matter what, tomorrow would bring a new day overflowing with tons of mercy. You reminded me daily that God has His hand on each aspect of my life and though it may have been difficult and felt like I was going under, you reminded me to look up. To enjoy nature and strengthen myself for what was ahead.
But at some point along the way, with the dust settled and the snow thawed, we realized it was time to go. Time to pack up, move out, be on our way. This time though, we surveyed life through a different lens, with different discernment. Who we’d become, what we’d experienced, was no longer housed in all we’d amassed in the basement, the workshop, the bedrooms. And as if we’d shaken the dirt from our boots, we came to the same conclusion: we didn’t have to hold onto the past any longer physically or mentally. And so, in complete family agreement over a warm bowl of pasta, we decided to sell almost everything. Gave ourselves permission to be free of the self-inflicted guilt over stuff that didn’t matter, stuff buried in boxes for years. I finally crushed the lie that I’d never be able to replace my favorite bookshelves or the piano or the things Sophie and Eli shouldn’t be saddled with because I refused to let go. Once we started, we couldn’t contain ourselves. We donated, burned, and sold it all. Yep, the mattresses, gone. Refrigerator, left behind. Armoires, sold to the friendly neighbor, along with the ATV, beehives, washer and dryer, pool table and couches. At the end of a day, the only things that stayed were the things that mattered.
And guess what, Wyoming? It’s the freest we’ve ever felt! In turn, we’re leaving as different people thanks to you. Scarred but resiled. Relieved, able to laugh at what we thought would take us under. Not because we did anything right, but because we survived. That boy we raised, stubborn and temperamental, polite and handsome, misguided and reckless? Took his ambitions and fearlessness, and is serving this country proudly. Sure, he took the winding road, but he found the way. You had a lot to do with that, WY, but ultimately, it was God who held him. And us. It sounds silly, I know, but we came here with a snot nosed middle schooler who knew everything, and we leave with the confidence of parents who raised a fine young man.
You know what else? Sophie, my strong willed daughter, has become my closest friend. Confidant and confident, she brought me to my knees at times, sent me to a place of begging God for something, anything. Now she sings in my ear, a beautiful melody of perseverance and strength, a different person than when she arrived. Full of life and a smile that warms a room, she’s given us a gift so great I can hardly contain my thanks. A boy named Hendrix who rocked our world when we thought it would be shattered, whose laugh mirrors hers, whose joy is uncontainable. How things change when follow the path God has for us, not the one others carve for us.
And so, Wyoming, we walk the driveway one last time. The moving trailer may have less than when we arrived, but oh–our hearts are full. Thanks again for the adventure! If you ever need to get away, please come visit. I’d love to show you the sunset as it slips away over the ocean and watch you feel the sand between your toes. This is what I call living! ♥♥
All my love,