Sunday, August 24, 2014

Saying Goodbye

We moved from Kansas City to Dallas just under two years ago. It was our fourth big move as a couple, our third move for my husband's job, our second move with Kendan, and Damien's first. All of our belongings have been packed and unpacked more times than I care to think about. We have left behind so many beautiful homes and a lot of renovations and hard work put into them. Two nurseries have been disassembled and set back up in a new house; never fully capturing the love we poured into them originally, but cozy all the same. And so many goodbyes have been said to the most wonderful friends. So it does not come as a surprise to us that we are moving. Again. The plans have been in motion for over a month now. My husband has already been living and working in our new destination city. A beautiful home has been purchased and made ours, ready to be filled with our stuff and our memories. Preschool is all set up for Kendan on the other side. The movers will be at our Dallas home next week. And we are, once again, exchanging farewells with amazing friends. 

In some regards, I've become an expert at this. Drawers and closets have been raided for anything that can possibly be donated. Utility companies have already received a termination date from us. Grocery shopping was almost immediately cut in half as we attempted to eat everything out of our fridge and freezer. 

I was even able to quickly remove my emotional attachment from our current home; a skill I taught myself after it almost broke me in half to leave our house in Indiana. The excitement and joy I feel when we move into a new home takes a nose dive once I realize we are leaving it. Suddenly the cracks in the walls, that one stain on the carpet, even the tiny spiders who set up residency in the corners of our bathrooms, leave me feeling unattached and ready to move on. This detachment does get relief though as I walk out of the home once it's been emptied of our belongings, our life, of us. That part is hard. But it is quickly replaced with giddiness as the movers unload all of our boxes in our new house. Giddiness and stress when I realize I now have to unpack all of those boxes (but seriously, why don't the movers stick around and help me put all of that stuff away? Jerks). 

All of my "expertise" aside, there is still one aspect of moving I have not mastered. Saying goodbye. It never gets easier. It starts with telling our closest friends that the time has come for our family to uproot again. Just as those roots had begun to spread and wrap around these {still somewhat new} friends it is time to let them go. This part is sad enough but doesn't feel real when we discuss that we will still be around for a couple months. But that time goes fast. And suddenly it is one week before the end and the casual play dates we make have a solemn undertone. The last one. The last time our kids will play while we are living nearby. Never exactly sure as to when we will see them again. Instantly, everything feels nostalgic. One last walk with the friends we took many strolls with through paths in parks. One last weekly playgroup with people that welcomed us into the neighborhood a couple years ago. Even one last hour of sitting at a friend's house while our kids destroy the place in an effort to play with every toy in sight. It's all important to me. It's all memories I will cherish forever. Then the time is up. Someone is ready for lunch or needs a nap. And we officially have to give our fiftieth and final hug. Taking one million pictures of our children embracing. Secretly thanking God that they're still too young to know to be devastated by this. And wiping the tears off my cheeks as I reaffirm to my friend that we will return for visits (and we really will; you're never rid of me!). 

Today is the last full day at our home for my boys. Tomorrow I fly with them so they may stay with my in-laws during the moving process. But today we spend our time doing everything at this home one last time. Every thing. This morning was Kendan's last time to descend the stairs into our living room lit only by the sun peeking through the closed blinds. Into my room to wake his {still sleeping} mother. The last time I make Damien his requested "waffle sausage" in this kitchen. His final time to raid this pantry for crackers and cookies and dry cereal as a snack only ten minutes after breakfast. The boys will play in their playroom at the top of the stairs and will never see it again after tomorrow. Tonight will be the last bath time in their Batman themed bathroom. The last time I will tuck them into beds in separate rooms since they'll be sharing a room in the new house. 

While all of these final rituals have me feeling sentimental, it's not the house I'll miss. It's the boys in it. The time we all spent here as a family. This feeling of conclusion is only amplified by all of the farewells we said this week. I am so thankful that, along with all of the boxes and furniture, we get to take all of our memories and lifelong friendships with us as well. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


There wasn't anything especially different about this evening. In lieu of dinner, the boys and I did pop popcorn and watch a movie; I suppose that's not normal. But our typical routine of play time, bath time, and bed time followed shortly afterwards. Kendan had no issues with it, aside from not wanting to clean up the playroom or go to bed. But I noticed Damien was getting easily upset, having mini meltdowns at every turn. It could have been his lack of nap today, but it occurred to me that he didn't have much of a dinner. At two and a half years old, my son can eat far more than a child-sized bowl of popcorn as a meal. In fact, he eats more than anyone in the house! He will eat a waffle, strawberries, a cup of yogurt, a sausage link, and a hard boiled egg for breakfast; only to scoot up to Kendan's chair and finish off the leftovers once his big brother has left the table. So I decided it would be best to feed him before he slept. 

We said good night to Kendan, whose hunger was clearly satisfied as he willingly and cheerfully crawled into bed. I brought Damien into his room and whispered to him, "Let's go have a snack," as I dressed him in pajamas. His face lit up! "A snack?" he asked. "Shhhh!" The last thing I need when it is already past the boys' bedtime is to have them both downstairs in the kitchen goofing around. I softly explained to Damien that we needed to be quiet. To whisper. His sweet voice got lower and lower as he attempted to mimic the exact volume of my voice. Not quite getting it at first and continually testing whether he had it by asking, "Mommy?" I would gently remind him to whisper and when he finally said it again, in the sweetest softest voice, I answered him, "What?" His face exploded in a smile. I almost told him "Shhhh" just to be sure the excited grin didn't turn into a squeal. But he held it in.

We made it to the kitchen and I gave him grapes, almonds, a graham cracker, and a cup of water. He thanked me in his previously mastered whisper and I began to wash dishes. For a few moments I even forgot he was there. Aside from a mouse like chewing noise he kept very still and quiet. Then it dawned on me: I've never done this before. I've never sneakily spent time with Damien. He has never been out of bed while Kendan has been in bed. Sure, Kendan owns the house when Damien is napping during the day. But never the other way around. This was very special time with my youngest. Our first stolen moment past bed time to bond over secret crumbs all over the table. I immediately sat down across from him and purposely gave him my undivided attention. He smiled again, cracker between his teeth. Damien made flirty eyes and soft giggles as he diligently ate his snack. I was correct, he had to be hungry because he ate very quickly. He stopped only one time to take a sip of water. Drinking from a cup without a lid is a newer privilege for him since he can finally do so without spilling it all down his shirt. I watched as he held the cup between his adorable, puffy hands. His fingernails just past the point where they need to be trimmed. He placed the cup back onto the table and used his index finger to wipe away a droplet of water on the corner of his mouth. He went right back to eating the last quarter of his cracker. Being the master of procrastination that he is, the last three bites took him as long as the first ten. But I didn't mind. We were on borrowed bed time time. Just me and him. I snuck one of his grapes and he picked up the whole bowl and said, "Eat all of them," in his tiny whisper (grapes are not his favorite). I had to laugh and it came out a little louder than I had advised him to speak. He took the opportunity to chuckle loudly himself. The last of his cracker was in his mouth and I broke the news that it was bed time. Never being one to miss out on a calorie, Damien slid the two leftover almonds into his hand to bring with him on our short return to his room. They were gone before we made it there. 

We were very quiet when we closed his blinds and said his prayers. He snuggled his head into the blankie on my shoulder and we slowly rocked for a minute. I was grateful for the tiny amount of time with my sweet boy. One grain of sand in our hourglass spent teaching him to whisper and me soaking him in. Time used to flash grins at each other and share a secret. A secret he's not old enough to boast about to his big brother, but at the perfect age to know it was different and special.