Almost exactly three years ago, we found ourselves facing a monumental change in our lives.
The kids were growing like weeds and Matt and I had decided that we were going to take Matt's name out of any rings or hats at work that would put him in the running to relocate. The kids were reaching ages where there were going to be a bunch of 'lasts' and not very many 'firsts' and we wanted to be as settled and available for those as we could.
To help solidify that decision, we used up a bunch of our savings and took the family to Disneyland- all nine of us. It was an amazing trip and taking it felt like some sort of celebration that we were a family.
Disneyland will do that to a person.
While we were there, Matt got a call from work. I headed to the park with the kids, he stayed behind to take the call that he was told was important.
That was the call that said he was being transferred to NYC. Fate had it's own plan for our lives and it wasn't going to let our decisions stand in the way of that.
We talked about it, we prayed about it and we put the for sale sign on our house and moved East.
And it was the right decision, I cannot imagine my life without the experiences and friends I have made in New Jersey. We love it, we're staying put.
The hardest- by leaps and bounds hardest- thing I had to do was that some of our kids would not be moving with us full time. I don't wish to make light of how painful that was, accepting that things were not what we wanted, but that we could either fight reality or accept it and make the best of things. One of our children was an adult, who did not want to come. Three of our children had another home and solid life in Utah, and the court battle and trauma it would put them through was not the right path to take.
There were so many nights I lied on my bed, curled up and sobbing. So many times before we moved that I wanted to take each of my children and just hold them like I did when they were small. (FYI teenagers hate that idea and won't hesitate to let you know.)
I bit my lip and just put one foot in front of the other.I kept moving, I tried not to run back. I reminded myself that chasing the past is a waste of life and distance and time do not mean the end of relationships.
I could not, however, say goodbye to any of my kids.
I gave too-tight, too- long hugs.
I said "I love you" too many times
I stood by the side of the room, with tears in my eyes watching them as they joked and squabbled and did what big kids do and I did not take pictures with my camera, but I took a snapshot of every moment and treasured it up in my heart.
Everything was okay. It was really hard. I love being a mother, even when I hate it, but we are still a very close family and it all turned out to be okay.
I know that this next season of separation from one of my children will be okay, too.
Zane reports to the MTC in a few hours, and we've spent the past day in Utah, trying to get everything purchased and ready for the next two years.
It will be okay.
But this morning, as I lie in my hotel bed next to a snoring Romy, who is not at all a baby anymore, and I look across the side table at my sleeping Zane, oh....ouch.
My heart seizes up.
I want to wrap my arms around him and hold him so tight that time stands still.
If I did that though, it would hurt him- it would make him feel responsible for my emotions and he has enough of his own to deal with right now.
I will move forward, I will take my left foot and place it in front of my right foot, then out the right before the left, over and over again.
I will bite my lip and when he isn't looking, my eyes will go wide and swell with tears that I will wipe away before he sees.
He will look at me and see anticipation, hope and so much motherly pride.
But right now, as he is sleeping I will shed a few more quiet tears and just enjoy being able to hear the deep breathing sounds of my sleeping child.
And when he comes to me for one more hug and looks to me with nervousness and excitement as we stand on the curb of the MTC, I will tell him again that I love him, that he is amazing, that it will be wonderful and he will be okay. I will stand on tip toes and tousle his hair and maybe he will let me kiss him on the cheek.
I will not say goodbye.
This is hard.
This is very, very hard.
Be a good boy, Zane and I will see you soon.