Friday, February 19, 2010

Letter to my Sons

you are 7.5, 4.5 and almost 3 yrs. Your Daddy and I have made a huge, life-altering, paradigm-shifting, stunningly surprising decision this month. We are moving home - to Mama's home - the Beach. One Day you will undoubtedly wonder what caused this chain of events - what made us choose this path - what enticed us to leave a perfectly good, sweet life on this Mountain to move to the Beach.
I try to answer your questions now in age-appropriate ways, to let you emote and complain and sort through your thoughts while pointing out exciting surprises that await you there. And I know without doubt - as well as I know whose voice calls me from your room at night, as well as I know how much you each weighed when you were born - that once we have moved there will be more emoting, more complaints (though I hope not too many) and more sorting through to be done. But once all of that is passed and you are grown, you will ask One Day "WHY". And I may have forgotten by then but Today, Now it is fresh and crystal clear. Since my hope is to print and bind these blog pages One Day for a tangible record of your childhood, I will explain here.

Once Upon a Time, in the summer of 1997 your Daddy came to visit me at my parent's home (that's Nana and Papa Mustache, married back then) at the Beach where I grew up. I know - that sounds like millenia ago, right? We were 19 years old, if you can fathom such a thing! We were falling in love, each silently wondering if maybe God would let us marry One Day and we did alot of introducing one another to our histories, short though they were. Like a line from one of my favorite movies: "That's what you do when you date - you try people on and see how they fit." (That's from "Sleepless in Seattle", boys.) While visiting me there, your Daddy who already and since time began knew he wanted to be a physician said "That's the kind of hospital I'd love to work at One Day." We married 2 years later. From that point on the Goal was:
Get To The Beach. Work for That Group. Live There.
We married there in that Beachtown but moved to the South for Daddy's continued education 3 months later. We were 21. I myself moved there sight-unseen. We lived in a miniscule, 500 sq-ft apartment in married housing...but that's a story for another time. After 2 years there we moved to the other end of that southern state, again for Daddy's education and lived there for 4 years. Doodle was born. We were married 6 years, Daddy became an MD and I was pregnant with HoneyMonkey. Daddy worked from that point, leaving med school and vying for a specific residency and then proving himself for 3 years while there harder than I can even begin to tell you. He was routinely overlooked, underappreicated, overworked and exhausted. He worked average 230 hours monthly during residency but was happy to do so since we were moving geographically ever closer to the Beachside. It was Our Dream, after all and we were putting in our dues. During the 3 years of residency we birthed not just HoneyMonkey but also Little Bunny and sacrificed tremendously financially and emotionally, just trying to get through residency. It was a ridiculously taxing season of life. We were broke, we were terminally overheated and we were seldom relaxed or together. But as the final year of a long road of medical training began Daddy finally had the credentials to present himself to his dream group, that Beachside town's physicians he'd first aspired to work for 11 years earlier and established a month of training there for himself. At the end of the first day working there he came home dejected, deflated, depressed. "No chance", his mentor had callously told him regarding him being offered a job in 6 months when residency ended. I remember seeing him sitting alone on the couch that first night, slouching off the end of the cushion his legs extended out before him completely, the look of defeat on his face. It was the Death of a Dream. That month was so sad. Our Dream wasn't within our reach. There would be no Beachside home. We would not live near Nana or Sissy. We would not raise you in flip-flops and shorts, tanned and crew-cut. Slowly we began to seek God, asking where in the world we would go now.
Then, Daddy was connected with a job opportunity back in the South. Friends from med school hailed from there and recommended it highly. The doors swung open - the contract was simple - the seasons and neighborhoods enticing - the manners and hospitality of the South beckoned us back and after 3 hot years of hard work with little reward save a diploma, we happily left for the Mountain. How can I describe this Mountain, the sweet life we have had here? I think only the eldest of you will remember it, even vaguely but boys - it was a sweet, nurturing season for us. Our tiny neighborhood, the snowfalls and autumn leaves, the summer lemonade stands around the corner, the baseball diamond, market, preschool, police station, post office, church and elementary school all within 2 steep albeit short blocks from our door. The safety, the fellowship, the polite familiarity - it is a precious, rare place and we have been happy here. We have friends and you do, too each of you. But somehow, it's also a demanding place. Being affluential, the community expectations involve mandatory private school educations which are astronomical. We could easily be in over our head, we realize. And private schools will bury us.
New Year's 2010 brought Nana's wedding to Papa Ted. We were there, remember? We stayed at the Beachside for 2 days, tacked on to the end of our wedding-participation trip for relaxation. Driving around we silently asked Beachtown residents "Do you know how lucky you are to live here?" Daddy asked me: "Want me to just see if That Group wants to look at my CV?" And that's all it took. Well, almost. 2 days later once we were home he emailed asking the group whether he could send his CV (his resume). They immediately said yes. The next day they called to talk brass tacks. Two days later they unanimously voted in a board meeting to offer Daddy a 3-year parternship track position. They told Daddy they had all been so impressed by him 2 years ago that they didn't need to interview him, that they would gladly wait till the school year ended because we wouldn't move you boys in the middle of the school year, and that had he waited 1 more week to contact them "this job wouldn't have existed anymore." They dismissed the other two applicants and pursued Daddy vehemently. The offered contract arrived. The wooing phone calls continued. And Daddy and I realized 2 things:
1.) This was a miracle.
2.) This was a terribly difficult decision.
We waded through the Pros and Cons lists, opinions, concerns, worries, questions and qualms. We prayed desperately, sought counsel, read the Word voraciously and stared at the ceiling in the dark at night hoping fluorescent word would appear there, detailing the Correct Decision for us. Once the offer appeared it was tough to jump at the chance after all. Our Original Dream was available again---but we'd already traded it in to build a New Dream from scratch. Our New Dream detailed the coming decades of passing varied seasons, shaggy-haired, and private-schooled sons, their weddings at our church's massive stone sanctuary, our neighbors determined for ages to come, our date nights at local cafes. The heartache of releasing this New Dream to open our hands and receive and revive the Old Dream has been troubling, laborious.
But we have decided.
We are going.
Our fears are not completely alleviated: will you boys like it? Will you be happy there as you have been here? Will it change you for the worse somehow? Will we regret leaving? Will we find the pain of change more burdensome than the pressures of staying? Are we doing the right thing? Are we ruining you?
It's difficult because we have loved life here. It has its' challenges but after residency you should understand we needed this occasion of bonding - two years of concentrated fusing as a family. If that's what we have been afforded here on this Mountain, it is enough and it is plenty to be grateful for.
We are going.
I am so pleased for your Daddy. He is being rewarded. Conspicuously, deservedly rewarded. And he has never, never sought reward. Your Daddy seeks to follow the Lord, provide for his family and tend patients. As a wife, I am beaming. As his cheerleader, I am elated.
Many, many people think now that your father and I are quite possibly schizophrenic. This will be 6 major moves in 11 years of marriage, all between 2 states. They wonder when we will stop moving, they tease us and they roll their eyes and they cannot relate. I get it, we're nuts and we move around alot. Occupational hazard of being married to an ambitious man. People who resist change in their own lives will also resist change in yours, my sons. But boys - when you have ambition, opportunity, blessing and courage: You Go.
Here's what Daddy and I have been learning from the Lord:
Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
is indeed a COMMAND, not a suggestion.
We will not parent in fear.
We want to be poured out and used up for the gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
At age 32 therefore, we don't get to dictate that He is free to use us but only when and where we are comfortable with it.
And what we have always known since that day at the Lake when Daddy proposed:
We want to serve the Lord at one another's side, no matter where we are.
As long as we're together, we're good.
So, my little boys we are going to the Beach. We are leaving the Mountain. I pray in my deepest heart that you are understanding and that whatever sadness this brings you that you will forgive us. We love you all so very, tremendously much. We want the BEST for you. And the BEST is always following the "Parade of Providence" and God's loving direction.
All my love always ~ oxoxoxox Mommy

Thursday, February 18, 2010

February by the Numbers

February has brought...

Days school was cancelled because of snow: 2

Children with strep throat: at least 1, maybe 2

Random vomiting in the middle of the night episodes: 3

Tsps. of amoxicillin needed twice daily to treat strep throat: 1

Sundays we have been to church this month since we were all so healthy: 0

Nights that someone has climbed into our bed saying they had a sore throat/vomiting/fever/cough: maybe all

Pots of coffee perked daily: 2

New cookbooks from the Book Fair: 2

New recipes I have creatively made from Book Fair cookbooks: 0

Weeks we have waited through while having minor home repairs done: 3

Days we have had snow: somewhere around 8? 10? A million???

Dollars we got in a check for surprise Escrow overage: $740.10!

Days our renter is late paying rent, however: 20 (and counting)

Weekends in a row the Hub has worked: 6

Bags of candy we ultimately collected at Valentine's: 6 (all for the boys)

Decent-sized bowl of candy still left over: 1

"Dove Dark Chocolate" hearts that equal 1 serving size: 5

Days I have worked out: maybe 6

Days we have DVR'd the Vancouver Olympics and watched later on: 6

Days till the Hub and I leave for a March Florida weekend getaway: 16!!!

Weeks till SPRING officially begins: 4.5!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bring it ON, Bad Guys. We Have Couch Cushions to Protect us!

Pony Pup and Doodlebug lazily resting on ALL the couch cushions on the floor

Picture this~~~~~

it's 30 some-odd degrees outside for weeks now

it started occassionally dropping tiny, dry snowflakes this morning and has forgotten to stop

it's a weekend and we've been indoors and awake since 6:15AM

naturally, we are getting a little bored

...but my boys are creative geniuses with architecture and weapons training at their disposal.

That's how you get this...

notice all the Star Wars and random Superhero ("guy-guys") lined up around and on top of the fort, presumably protecting/guarding it and all the artillery (assorted light sabers and Nerf guns) stored inside, also presumably for future defensive manuevers once a siege begins

my well-trained Jedis