I had this grand idea of posting a blog on my 40th birthday in June which also marked our 1 year date of moving to Florida. 1 year, 1month, 3 weeks, 2 days, 18 hours and counting I am finally getting around to sharing about our journey so far. I was trying to figure out the best way to put into words everything we have experienced and learned and the best way I can think of is to share about each of us. It’s been a wild ride….hold on tight.
There is absolutely positively no way to prepare your marriage for a move that will uproot you from everyone and everything whom you have ever known. I can’t speak for Dan on how he has felt, but I can share with you a little bit of what I have felt. Anger, Fear, Guilt, Blame, Abandonment, Bitterness, Sadness, Sheer Madness….I could go on. I won’t lie, the first 6 months were rough. While our marriage was fine, it was my thoughts that I had to get control of. I basically blamed Dan (in my head) for all our struggles we had with the move in the beginning. After all, it was “all his fault” we moved, right? As if I had no say in the move and we didn’t pray and agree together that this was part of God’s plan for our family. There were many many nights I would wait to hear his breathing change at night so I would know when he was asleep and then I would cry. I didn’t want him to know how sad and alone I felt because he would have moved us back to WI in an instant. I am probably not the best at being open and vulnerable with my feelings so God and I had a lot of conversations. I would call my best friends back in WI…the people who I knew I could be the most open with…and pour my heart out. In the end, it was a heart change on my part that needed to happen.
I had to give up any sort of control I thought I had and trust that the complete chaos our life was in would somehow be used in the end for good.
Looking back, I can see that I had to go through the stages of grief. While I technically didn’t have someone I knew that passed away, grief can come in all different shapes and sizes I learned. I had to mourn the way I thought my life was going to be and become open to the way my life was going. Denial…I’ll give it one year, then we are moving back. Ha. Anger…uh, there was a lot of anger. Bargaining…if I put on a happy face God will totally find us a way to move back to WI. Depression…shutting down, not talking, crying, sleeping, putting on a good front…I became the master of a fake smile. Acceptance…this came probably about 9 months in. It was time to stop faking it. Time to live.
What a difference a year can make. What a difference opening yourself and your heart up to new people and new relationships can make. What a difference finding joy in all circumstances can make. I wouldn’t say things are perfect, but I can actually for the first time since moving here look at my life, my family, my marriage, my job(s) and say, “I am happy. I am glad we moved. I am excited for our future in Florida and I am, gulp, thankful that God moved us here.” How freeing it is to type that!
This doesn’t mean I don’t desperately miss who and what we had in WI, but how awesome is it that we get the privilege to have “our people” in 2 different states?!?
Molly will be a senior this year. She is turning 18 in 2 months. Ummm, I seriously have NO idea where the past 18 years went. She is stunningly gorgeous, has confidence for days and is mature beyond her years. This move hasn’t been easy for her, but she was very open to it. She is working at Chick-fila and will be dual enrolling this year at CF to start earning some college credits. She has a boyfriend and he’s everything we have prayed for in a man. I am not saying this is the one….let’s not get too wild here, but he’s a good fit for her. She has a heart that aches for people who don’t fit the mold and can’t stand the drama of high school. She is everything I had ever hoped for in a daughter and I love her and her sass! She has rocked Florida, gotten a sunburn way too much and this move has brought us closer together.
Next in line…Sadie
With being respectful of Sadie and her journey, I can’t share everything. It’s not my story to tell. However, I can say that this move has been the hardest on Sadie. She had (in my opinion) the most to walk away from in WI. The best group of friends, a great high school with big dreams of becoming a Valedictorian, a great sports career in cross country and soccer and really, what else is there in life when you are a teenage girl in high school. We ripped it all away from her. Talk about guilt. The last year has been really hard for Sadie. We even got to the point of looking into moving her back to WI to live with friends. It’s not that things have all been bad down here for Sadie. I think she just needed some time, just like I did, to see the good in what Florida has to offer. Something clicked in Sadie a few months ago. She made a decision to change and change she did. She is the most determined and competitive of our bunch. She seeks perfection (to a flaw) in all she does and will NOT do anything without giving it her whole heart. This year, without a doubt, has given Sadie grit. I am confident there is nothing Sadie won’t be able to do in her life seeing how she has grown this past year. Sadie is smart, she is the most beautiful red-head I have ever seen. Her personality is one of a kind. This kid is hilarious. In fact, I can be so mad at her and because of who she is, I can never yell at her because she will make me laugh before I get the chance to. Sadie has a heart for kids. She loves our foster girls so well. She has been tutoring as a summer job and just landed a job at Copper Closet. Her goal is to become a doctor one day. Even if that were to never happen, I would still be just as proud of her as I am today…if you don’t know Sadie, you are missing out.
I promise, when you crack her hard shell, you’ll want to be her best friend!
Abbie comes next…
Abigail has surprised me the most this past year. When we moved down here, Abbie decided to quit ballet. Talk about your dreams being crushed. Sure, vicariously I may have been living my life through her, but she was/is a beautiful and talented dancer. She gave it up when we moved here and went from hardly ever being home to always being home. Shortly after moving here a very sweet boy named Luke befriended our family. He wanted to make our kids felt welcomed and the next thing you know, he’s basically family. Our rule is “no dating” until 16. Well, she’s number 3 and do we even have rules anymore by our 3rd kid? Not really. Luke forever has changed our lives down here in Florida. One 14 year old kid made such an impact on our family and in return he has my daughter’s heart. They have been “together” (not dating) for almost a year. Who would have thought? Besides her love interest, Abbie has matured in so many ways. She joined the cheer team at school and has come out of her shell. She is always giggling about something and always has a smile on her face. Her favorite place to be is lying on the couch and she has the best friend in the world in her dog, Pumba. Pumba is like a pig in dog form. He snorts, he grunts and he eat a lot of snacks. He gets depressed when Abbie leaves and lays by the door waiting for her to come back. Even though she is allergic to him, he gets to sleep with her in her bed every night. Abbie has approached this moved with a willingness to try new things and kept her heart open.
I don’t know when she grew up, but here we are.
I love to steal her phone and hide it from her. I love when she asks me in her sweet voice if Luke can come over….every. single. day! She is secretly a tech nerd like her daddy and while she doesn’t know what she wants to do yet for a career, I know she’s gonna do amazing things!
Okay, well this is turning in to quite the blog. Is anyone even reading this anymore? I have so much more to update you on but I need some sleep. I have 4 more kids to update you on, our foster journey update, and some pretty amazing news to share!
Part 2 coming tomorrow. Stay tuned….must sleep.