We all woke up tired Saturday morning. Oldest daughter and her boyfriend climbed into the-big-cheese-ball-truck with Texas guy. I loaded the 6- and 4-year old monkeys into the Suburban with me. Then we drove away from our home of the past 12 years.
We moved there when my oldest monkeys were 7- and 5-years old. There they grew up: Learning the basics of elementary school. Putting a lost tooth under their pillows for the tooth fairy. Learning to ride bikes, skateboards, and roller blades down the sidewalk. Tending to scraped knees. Celebrating holidays and birthdays with one more candle on the cake each year. Haircuts in the bathroom, and hair coloring in the kitchen. Playing, running, and dancing through every room. Measuring and marking their heights as they grew each year. Navigating life through junior high and preparing to be adults in high school. Testing their interests with basketball, ballet, tae kwon do, golf, and band.
There I married. Brought 2 beautiful daughters home from the hospital. Watched as the children seamlessly added another sibling to the family each time. Struggled through the challenges of my marriage and counseling. Volunteered in the children’s classrooms. Chaperoned on field trips. Faced the reality of my marriage and divorce. Taught the children to cook and reaped the rewards when they began to prepare meals for me. Fought fear when I was diagnosed with cancer. Melted with relief when I was told I was cancer free.
There we made wonderful friends. Attended church. Sang with the church choir. Taught at Sunday School. Enjoyed playgroups for the younger ones and story time at the library. Enjoyed the beautiful area with day trips and weekends camping. Celebrated Spring with the annual festival. Waved and cheered as we watched each parade. And drove 2 1/2 hours to spend time with my parents still living in my childhood home, and extended family living in the area.
Driving away from our home was another terribly difficult moment in the moving process. But, difficult moments offer change and growth, and that can oftentimes be a good thing. We stopped at McD’s for breakfast and headed south on the freeway. With heartbreaking sadness for all that I was leaving as well as excited and nervous anticipation for our future in Texas, I watched through the windows of the car as the city, so full of memories, passed by.
2 1/2 hours later, we stopped to enjoy a delicious lunch at Chi’s, our favorite Chinese restaurant. My cousin and his family joined us and we had a great time laughing and visiting. With full, happy bellies, we hit the road again. Texas guy and daughter’s boyfriend went to my cousin’s house to pick up a washing machine while oldest daughter and I took the girls to my parents’ house. (My parents watched the girls for a week while we drove to TX and unpacked and then flew to Texas with them.) Saying goodbye to the girls was so difficult for both of us but we held it together as best we could until we had driven out of sight and could cry without upsetting them.
We met the guys at Coldstone for ice cream (yum!!!) then hit the road again. With the music up loud, my daughter and I sang and car-danced until our spirits had lifted. At least enough to get through the rest of the day. Next stop, a high school friends’ house where we would be staying that night. We parked the truck there and all piled into the Suburban. My daughter wanted to make one more stop at the Griffith Observatory before we left.
We stayed until the sun set
and all the lights of the city could be seen.
(I really like this pic I took at the observatory. So, I’m going to include it. Because I can. It doesn’t have to make sense.)
Ready for a late dinner, we found an IHOP where we all sat back and ate, relaxed a little, and spent as much time visiting as we could.
It had been a physically and emotionally exhausting day. Though this is an awful picture of me, I think it captured how I felt.