I'm going to print this picture out and put it somewhere special for Annie as a reminder of the year that she called two places home. I get sort of emotional every time I look at it. I guess realizing that there will be a point somewhat soon when I don't get to call both places home.
A friend sent me a link to this post early yesterday morning and I read it and got a bit choked up then, too. There are differences, but so much of it resonated. I had already thought some over the Summer about how much of my identity has become tied up in this adventure. The post came at the right time, though, for sure.
Today was great in that we slipped back into our routine pretty effortlessly and while Graves had a rough day, I think that was mostly due to just being exhausted. Annie has (so far!) transitioned back to Brooklyn pretty easily.
But it was hard at some points. It's getting dark around five thirty and tonight I almost cried over it. I just thought about our long evenings in the park and how I'll really never have those Summer days again and it sort of broke my heart.
I think that's the hardest thing right now. Realizing that there are certain things- certain seasons (my FAVORITE season!) that we won't experience again. All the things we did last Winter and Spring, I knew we'd do again. And in my heart, most of the Summer, I thought we'd do those things again, too. We were both leaning toward another Summer here. Leaning hard, I'd say.
That's the one thing that made the decision to move back in May particularly agonizing. I hadn't prepared myself for doing all the fun Summer things for the last time. I just assumed I'd have those experiences again. I know that's part of life sometimes, but for my particular personality, I just really like to know when I'm doing something for the last time. It helps me have closure I think and I'm able to prepare my heart for what is next.
I wish I had known the last time we went to the playground with the sprinklers on, or the last time we went to a street fair, or the last time we watched the fireworks at Coney Island...that it'd be the last time.
Still, I think I enjoyed these things with a tenacity I've enjoyed few things in my life. I enjoyed the overall feeling of Summer in the city in a different way than how I typically experience things. I really immersed myself in it and it was a very sensory, very tangible, very beautiful season. I hope I can teach myself how to enjoy more things that way.
So that is here....now for there.
There is a lot calling us home. Being back in Mississippi showed me that. The children (especially Annie) have very real friendships with other small people that somehow, with very little attending to, have been preserved over the past months. They have incredible relationships with their grandparents that are...something to behold. It stops me in tracks to see that kind of love. There are places Peyton and I are incredibly tied to that we want to share with the children.
There's a new project on the horizon and we need to get ourselves home to really go hard at it.
And there's more than just project on the horizon, too. There is a person. A hypothetical person, albeit, at this point (nobody freak out!). But still a person.
Our family doesn't feel complete and for a long time, God has given me such a peace about putting things on hold. I think it's ONLY for that reason that I've been able to enjoy this time fully. As one of my friends says, I was able to gear my heart in another direction for a temporary amount of time. It's actually been a LONG time, though. When Graves was less that a year old, I really, really wanted another baby. But I truly think the Lord worked and showed me that in that season, our family was perfect. The desire never went away, but it was something I was able to hold onto at a distance. But now I'm getting to pull it back in a little closer
I know that if we had chosen to stay longer- if the Lord had led us to that- we could make it work in Brooklyn with another child. We know families who do it and are happy and sane and functional. But it would be really difficult. Frankly, the thought terrifies me a little. I know the physical and mental energy it takes to do this with just my two small people. In that post I linked to, the parts about the city taking its toll on the family unit made a lot of sense to me. Not because my particular kids aren't thriving (they are!), but because I don't think living here is really conducive to what we want down the road. Again, I KNOW it would be possible if the Lord led us that way, but we couldn't stay where are (definitely not in our apartment, almost certainly not in Clinton Hill, probably not in North Brooklyn) and it would inevitably be a very different situation that we might not really enjoy as much.
I've also come to terms with the fact that being pregnant here would be a nightmare. I'm just not the best pregnant person. I don't want to sound like I'm bragging OR throwing a pity party, but I just think it's hard to be as small as I am and carry another human around inside your body. I know it's exhausting for everyone, but I think being so small makes it even more physically taxing. Idon't know how I'd do it and walk as much as we (want to!) walk. Or how I'd keep up with Graves here.
But now I've been able to let go and let my heart reorient itself and gear itself a new direction. In my notebook I take everywhere, I allowed myself to jot out some favorite names. Peyton participated and added a few. We've been (very!) casually mentioning to the kids the idea of having more siblings and I've been thinking of how we'll organize room arrangements in our old house in the suburbs.
So a huge part of my excitement about our return isn't just the people we already know and love (although that would be more than enough to make me thrilled and happily anxious!), but in the (no longer) secret parts of my heart there's huge excitement for the person we've yet to meet.
And create ;)