Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Long Goodbye


It was almost five years ago that our family first started talking about the idea of moving out of California to somewhere a bit less expensive and crowded. We weren't quite sure where exactly -- perhaps Texas -- but it wasn't really much more than talk back then. There were so many factors that made it impossible to consider a move at the time, and while we enjoyed dreaming about the possibilities, there wasn't anything we could do about it.

Maybe that's why I can hardly believe that this Saturday morning, we'll be piling everyone into two cars and heading down the 10 freeway toward San Antonio and our new home.

I know people who have moved three, four, even a dozen times in their lives, but for me this is all brand new. The truth is that I never thought I would leave California. When we moved from the little town of Sierra Madre to purchase a home with my parents in Rancho Cucamonga seven years ago, I thought that would be the one big move of our lives. I'd only been married for two years and my oldest daughter was barely walking. I had no idea what kind of lessons were coming my way in the years to come.

We've been slowly packing up this house for the past six months, and it feels like an eternity, the longest goodbye I've ever said. Over the last month we've checked off all the things we wanted to do before leaving: a last trip to the beach, visits to our favorite ice cream shop, dinner at the Japanese restaurant that my husband adores. James even took me back to my home town so that I could walk one more time past the house where I grew up in which five generations of my mother's family lived. On the way, I got to say farewell to old friends like the owner of the grocery store where I got my first job at 17 and the family who owns the Mexican restaurant where my parents used to take us for dinner every Friday night back when I was in junior high. It's amazing how important a part such people can play in the story of our lives.

There have been other partings, harder ones, with dear friends and family who have touched my heart with love and encouragement when I needed it desperately. You can't replace these kinds of people. It's just a matter of leaving little pieces of your heart with them as you go.

Tonight I sit on the floor in the empty upstairs loft while my family is sleeping, and I'm flooded with memories. This is the room where I was up all night for a good three years, feeding babies and watching Jane Austen movies on my computer at 3 in the morning. It's the room where my mom taught me how to use a sewing machine and where the guys talked and laughed in the evenings before bed. It's where Mom and I met in the middle of the night when we couldn't sleep, and I can't tell you how many times we wept and prayed together over sick children, my grandmother's dementia, our fears that we wouldn't be able to keep up with the mortgage payments. Somehow sharing the burdens made them easier to carry, and I always went back to bed thankful that I wasn't facing these things alone.

Looking back now, I realize that this is the house where I really grew up. I've learned so much within these walls about life and perseverance and yes, even myself. I'm so thankful for these experiences -- even the hard ones -- that made me who I am today and taught me to remember what's most important.

And maybe that's why, even though I'm excited about this new adventure our family is taking, it's a little hard to let go of these rooms that are now empty of things but still filled with so many precious memories...

51 comments:

  1. Oh my! I almost cried...so beautifully written. May God richly bless you in this new season of your life.

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  2. Oh good luck with your move, this is exactly how I think I will feel when we move to your side of the ocean in a few month's time. It's scary, it's sad but it's exciting too and I hope that bit wins out for you. Looking forward to your posts when you're settled at the new place.

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  3. Well written, in the end family and friends are what links us most to a place. I have moved more than a dozen times, half of them international, but at every move you leave something of yourself behind with friends and/or family, though that must be even stronger when you've lived in an area all your life. Good luck with those big changes!!

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  4. Beautiful friend, wishing you a great adventure, great hope and peace, and new opportunities. I come from a family that moved around a lot, and we've mostly done the same thing. The older I get, and the more kids I have, the longer it takes to settle in, which makes me glad we've moved less often since Tully was born. This last move has felt like a deep breath, like coming home. I hope for some of that for you too. xxx

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  5. it's interesting how our relationships with places can take on such personality. I enjoyed hearing how your life has unfolded in California, and I wish you luck in your new Texan home!

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  6. I look forward to hearing about your adventures in your new home. It will be amazing to make new memories with your family. I shall find San Antonio on the map to follow the route.
    Happy travelling.

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  7. Life is all about adapting to change...may your new surroundings be filled with life, love and much happiness.

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  8. You'll always have those memories to hold onto, but this is now a new chapter in your life and an opportunity to make new memories. You will have the most important people with you. It's exciting, embrace and enjoy it. :0) xx

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  9. What a beautiful post Heidi. I am comforted to know that you have such beautiful memories. xxx

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  10. Sweet post. I am going tomorrow to visit family in San Antonio. Glad you like to eat because there some great restaurants. Glad you are up for adventures because you will find plenty. You are moving to a beautiful part of Texas filled with history, culture, and natural beauty.

    Cherish those memories but look forward to making new ones. Best wishes for a smooth transition.

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  11. My husband grew up in Alta Loma and I grew up in Diamond Bar, never thought we would end up in Ohio!!

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  12. Welcome to Texas. You will love San Antonio! We live north of there in a small town and go in to the River Walk often.

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  13. Best wishes for a safe journey and great times in your new home.

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  14. A great tribute to the people and place you love. Have fun on your adventure.

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  15. Best of luck on your new location.

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  16. What a gift of writing you have! I felt like I was sitting in that room with you! What cherished memories you have, and will create at your next place. Peace my friend!

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  17. Awesome writing! Good luck on your adventures. I know the feeling of leaving home. I grew up in Kentucky and lived there for 50 years before moving to California to be near my daughter and her family. Life is the big adventure for all of us to experience. Blessings and safe travels.

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  18. Oh wow, I nearly cried. I moved maybe 4-5 times in my life, but only once with my family. And I can remember that everytime, although I was excited to move, I was crying when I did my last look around the emptied rooms, because of all the memories they still held. I wish you all the best for your move and a good start in your new home! Tina

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  19. wishing you the best Heidi, in this time of major transition!

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  20. Wow, beautiful post. Here's to new memories in your next home! Good luck!

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  21. I have moved many times in my life, so my roots aren't as deep as yours. I do understand where you're coming from. But - a new adventure with your family will be a great experience. It should bring you and your husband closer, because you'll only have each other to lean on. Your children will learn new places and this will open their minds to many new and different things. Home will always be where your heart is and of course, we're all going with you. Hope you'll keep your blog going and keep us a part of your new transition. Praying for safe travels and a welcome to your new spot on earth!

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  22. Awwww, I'm impressed you are able to be nostalgic amid the exhaustion. :)

    almost there! Xo

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  23. I'm right there with you. My heartfelt compassion goes out to you. I've been there a few times. All I can say is - hold the memories close - they will stay - and the new chapter will bring new happy memories for all :)!!

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  24. I love your reflection, Heidi. I've moved many times, but my more recent moves - with children, more precious memories, more community connections - have been harder emotionally even as they've gotten easier in practical ways. I am grateful for social media and blogs for this reason - makes it feel just a little less like uprooting it all when you can more easily connect with old friends. Hope your family has safe travels and a wonderful start to your new adventures in Texas!

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  25. I love your reflection, Heidi. I've moved many times, but my more recent moves - with children, more precious memories, more community connections - have been harder emotionally even as they've gotten easier in practical ways. I am grateful for social media and blogs for this reason - makes it feel just a little less like uprooting it all when you can more easily connect with old friends. Hope your family has safe travels and a wonderful start to your new adventures in Texas!

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  26. I love your reflection, Heidi. I've moved many times, but my more recent moves - with children, more precious memories, more community connections - have been harder emotionally even as they've gotten easier in practical ways. I am grateful for social media and blogs for this reason - makes it feel just a little less like uprooting it all when you can more easily connect with old friends. Hope your family has safe travels and a wonderful start to your new adventures in Texas!

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  27. I moved from the area I grew up about five months ago, to Washington state from California. I planned a long good bye, but the universe threw me a deal I could not say no to, so my good bye was cut short by five months. I would have liked to savor the old memories and see people and places that I would miss a little more in depth than I did, but when it comes down to it, I miss them the same now as I would have had I stayed longer. I'm happy to be where I am now...I mean HAPPY, and I can go back and visit, and I have invited EVERYONE to come visit!
    Have fun in your new home. New memories have probably already begun!

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  28. Thank you for sharing such a personal look at what's going on, it's beautiful. Good luck with the move, it's going to be amazing. Enjoy and lock the memories away. <3

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  29. How beautifully written, I so enjoyed reading that! I'm in the UK and needed Google maps to see the distance you'll be travelling - it's quite a journey! Good luck in your new Texan home, I'm sure you'll make wonderful memories there.

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  30. What a wonderful tribute to your childhood and early marriage homes. Thank you for sharing with us.

    Welcome to the South! You will find it different but wonderful! I am in central OK so Welcome!

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  31. I moved a lot when I was a kid. My Dad was in the Navy so I've lived all over the U.S. Moved quite a bit during my marriage too, about every 4 years. But it wasn't until I had my daughter that the houses and places really captured my heart. All the memories! Good luck to you in your new state and congratulations on escaping California!

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  32. I found this so touching. Moves are so hard but they also afford fresh starts and new friendships. Best wishes to you as you make the adjustment! (Hint - it takes a year - be patient!)

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  33. Prayers for a safe move & hope everyone settles in quickly!

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  34. This is a beautifully written post dear. You are brave and courageous to be starting a new phase in your life. Keep your memories close and enjoy your new journey...

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  35. God bless you and yours on your new adventure! Wishing you all the best, always!

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  36. We never stop growing up Heidi and your new home will be a place of memories, adventures, love and growth too. I am wishing you and your family hope and happiness as you say 'goodbye' to the old and 'hello' to the new. Good luck. xxxx

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  37. It's not easy to leave your first home or even where you grew up. I moved 250 miles with my husband and even though it was hard, I realized that home is not where you live. Home is where your heart is be it with your job, your family, your husband, etc., and etc. I realize your journey is an even larger move than mine; but, I hope you will feel welcome in San Antonio.

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  38. Beautifully written! Thank you for sharing and best wishes to you in your next adventure. Home will be wherever you are with your little family!

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  40. There is something beautiful about being able to say goodbye to a place and to the people - you realise how precious the time has been. Prayers for a wonderful move for you all - for new hopes and dreams, and for peace in the midst of the craziness.

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  41. Beautifully written, I have moved 21 times in my life and each time amid all the work I am filled with wonder and amazement at the new people I meet and new things I learn and how each place is woven into my life story. I wish you the best and safest move. San Antonio is lucky to have you!

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  43. Look to the future and the memories that await you there, for yourself and your family.
    Wishing you and your family all the best of things to come.

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  44. Hi Heidi:
    I just read this blog post, which you've written so well, and feel a little melancholy! Moving is hard...but how should I know I haven't moved for 27 years!!! Anyway, so glad I found your blog. I've been reading your book over the last few weeks. Today I read the "Joy" page and enjoyed the picture of your 3 girls. That entry alone is excellent. Thank you for your thoughts and experience...I was touched today. Sincerely, Diane in Idaho :)

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  45. This place was amazing! Great food, it's smaller than others I guess but it is still a fair sized fun. The decor at this venue was amazing as every note of music reverberates off the beautiful walls. Everything about party city locations NY is nothing less than 5 stars.

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  46. I hope you enjoy living in San Antonio. We moved here 2 years ago. There are some super AWESOME quilt stores in the city and the surrounding area, and a nice needlework shop, too!

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  47. You will love San Antonio! We lived there 8 years, and my daughter still lives there. She stayed behind when we left, having met her husband there. Now I have two grand babies there I go to visit. We will probably move back in 2 years when my husband retires. San Antonio is awesome. Good luck!!

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  48. I'm late in reading post but this is so lovely. You will always cherish those memories but many more new ones will be made in your new home.

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  49. I hope by now you are settling into your new home. I am always surprised at how hard it is to move, but also with how nice it is to set up a new home too.

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  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  51. I could have written this post myself. We moved from Irvine CA to San Antonio about 7 years ago, after years of contemplation. It was a much tougher move for me than for my husband or kids. Being able to get back to quilting has really helped me feel better about our move. (If we'd stayed in CA, I might not be able to afford fabric!) We were just back there to visit a month ago, and it felt very closed-in compared to the wide-open Texas vistas. I think there are so many of us here now, we should start a San Antonio quilting group of California ex-pats!

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Aren't you the sweetest!! Thanks for making my day by leaving a comment!

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