Last Friday, we hit the road to begin our new life in Ankeny. The boxes were all packed up, the house was empty, and I said goodbye before picking the kids up from their last day of school in Gretna. I was a bit sad, but not overwhelmed with it. It seemed strange to not feel more broken-hearted about leaving. Admittedly, while driving to pick my kids up, I wondered why I wasn’t feeling more sentimental about this move.
My husband and I pondered this feeling of being detached from the whole process of moving. It isn’t that I didn’t enjoy life in Gretna, or make great friends, or hold so many great things about this community close to my heart. But the older I get, the more I hold on loosely to the things of this world, the things that change and shift, including moving away from such a fantastic community.
On the night before we left, my daughter and I were reminiscing before bed time. I asked her to name some of her favorite memories of the past seven years. At first it was hard to recall particulars, but as we talked dozens upon dozens of wonderful and beautiful memories came flying back into our minds: including the butterfly cake we made for her birthday, meeting one of her best friends when she was only 1 ½, playing with her other best friend with Shopkins and Legos, and scootering around the neighborhood. Yes, there was a lot to be grateful for.
Those last days as we said good-bye to friends, family, and to all things familiar, my husband who had already been living in Iowa for the past several weeks, said something pretty profound, “You are going to go through a lot of endings this week, and I feel bad that I won’t be here to help you through them.” Then he went on to say, “But, next week you get to experience a lot of beginnings, so that’s something to look forward to.”
On the night we left for our new home, as I was driving down the interstate, I pondered what he had said. And for a few moments I began to feel uncomfortable, almost panicky. We’d said our goodbyes in Gretna. But we weren’t to Ankeny yet. We were in an in-between time, and it was strange, shaky, and scary ground to stand on.
Admittedly when we reached our new place, I felt like an alien in a strange land. This didn’t feel like home. But as we began to move our things in, I began to feel more and more comfortable
Those next several days as we settled in, we began to make new memories. For the first time, Jack shoveled a whole driveway by himself. My daughter, Katie, bravely walked over to our neighbors next door when she saw their little girl playing in the snow. Later that day, the same girl and her sister brought us beautiful Christmas cookies—a welcome treat. We even went out and bought a new kitchen table that was much needed. Already, we’re into beginnings and it feels nice.
So yes, good-byes can be hard and beginnings can be scary. But when you’re on the road in-between, there’s no need to panic, it doesn’t mean everything is ending, it just means you’re on your way to the new adventures God has planned for you. And that, my friends, is a pretty great place to be.