Sunday, October 4, 2015

Saying Goodbye

August 2001 began a new course for our young family.
We became homeowners and as such, 
began a journey of joy (and desperation) and pride (and headache) like no other.

The first monumental world tragedy occurred just one brief month after our move - 
the terrorist attacks on September 11 - 
so found us on our front porch with candles lit in accord with vigil suggestions on the evening news.
Though the circumstances were horrific, that experience provided a fast-forward to our relationships with neighbors like nothing else could.

We got to know Bennett and Betty who, for years, frequented our kids' lemonade stands and the latter of whom we lost a few years ago to Alzheimer's.
Perry and Karen, working professionals who ended up adopting baby brothers about seven years in.
Elaine, across the street in the yellow doll house, who baked cookies to bring over the day after we moved in...
Who questioned why I would ever pull up the carpet in my house to refinish the hardwood underneath ("...then it won't be preserved, dear...")
And who passed away just a few short months later.
And Annie who moved away the following month making way for our friends 
Jaimz & Teresa and their two girls 
who became integral parts of our childhood and family.

So many celebrations and gatherings.
Birthday parties for the children...
Bounce houses & dance parties & movies & sleepovers.
Our ten year anniversary celebration after a renewal of vows.
My 40th birthday party with a wine tasting, live music and my four sisters flying in to surprise me!
Baby showers and wedding showers and engagement parties.
Even a high school graduation for our sweet girl!
So much joy.
So much living life.

Of course, there were hard events as well. 
Times I don't like to relive but are integral parts of our story.
The passing of our grandparents.
Losing Drew's stepdad, Marvin.
My dear Daddy's death to new life.
Braden's diabetes and Coll's scoliosis diagnoses.
The loss of my voice... 
an illness which had me down for the count but, without which, 
I would not know Christ and faith today as I do.
Mercies in disguise.

Of course, I won't go into the ongoing plumbing issues.
$12,000 later and no, I refuse to relive it.
(Suffice it to say, the new owners will benefit from that replacement piping!)

Painting and redesigning and remodeling and fixing.
A new roof.
A converted garage.
French doors to replace the roll-up steel door....
Yes, you heard that right.  
Roll-up steel doors in the family room.  
(My brother-in-law used to say "liquor store open for business" as I yanked it up and the chain cranked it 'round! Oi...)
So much heart.
So much sweat.
So much family!

That season was the focal point of life for our little family in the growing and raising stages.
Now Colleen is off at college in her sophomore year.
Braden has started his sophomore year at high school.
And on September 4, a little more than 14 years later, we closed that season, saying goodbye to our cozy home and starting a new chapter in a  new house in a new city.

One last picture in front of our family home...

...and one last kiss goodbye.

It's never easy saying goodbye.
But I'm choosing to look at that sweet sayonara as a "hello" to new beginnings.
A new beginning for our family as we close one door and open the next.
A new beginning for the young family who has moved in and started making their own memories. 
It was time.

So Day #4 of 
- New Beginnings - 
reminds us that sometimes to begin a new journey, we must blow a kiss goodbye to the one we've walked and run and trudged and closed.
And look forward to the road ahead.

{Reliving our sweet memories in Long Beach 
this morning but giving great thanks to God 
for His many blessings - already! - 
in our  new city.  More on that to come...}

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