Well, we're home.
We returned home this evening from our big family vacation to Orange Beach, Alabama. We spent our vacation with my sister, my brother, my cousin, and all their spouses and children. It was pretty awesome.
I'll be sharing some parts of our vacation (like how my kids were shockingly outstanding in the car for both days driving down and both days driving back....just in case any of my tips can help you). Some parts I'll keep tucked away in my mind and heart as memories, life lessons, and personal growth opportunities (like a somewhat OCD introvert like me constantly being surrounded by 17 other people).
I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my extended family, and it was painful to say goodbye to everyone Saturday morning. Then I really enjoyed the driving time with Jared. There were lots of stretches of time where the kids were entertained and Jared and I had nothing to do but talk. We discussed things like occupations we could never do and what kind of grandparents we want to be.
It started with saying goodbye to everyone. Then it was the bonding time with my high-school-sweetheart-turned-husband. Then I was just so grateful that we made it home safely (despite multiple storms), and I enjoyed watching the kids greet their toys and beds.
And now I'm a swirling tornado of emotions.
We are getting serious about the discussion of selling our house and moving now that vacation is over. We bought our house on July 2, 2004, right after our Mimosa tree bloomed in bright pink puff balls. I can see that old familiar tree getting ready to wow the neighborhood in just a couple weeks. Mimosa trees aren't supposed to thrive in our climate, and yet we have one holding strong in our back yard. I admit that the tree helped me fall in love with this house.
This time of year always makes me nostalgic. Since our house was closed up all week while we were gone, it smelled like it did the day we bought it. It's something about all the woodwork warming up in the un-cooled house. The smell instantly takes me back to the excitement of starting our life here.
That life turned into being parents of three precious children, a thrilling opportunity that scares me to my very core. This week I got to really spend time with my children, not just drag them through a schedule (although we did have to keep up with the extended family!). I got to study their faces and show them new things. I counted every new thing they've learned since our last big vacation.
The kids have mixed responses to us moving, and I can tell you that at least one child is very unhappy with the idea of us moving. I am having a very hard time with the idea of leaving the house that was our first home as newlyweds and the home to which we brought home all of our newborn babies. However, we do need room to grow. We need space for learning to ride bikes and playing baseball in our yard. Nolan will eventually need a space to call his own, rather than always being lumped in with his brother.
I have to find my way back to the place of fully trusting God with our future. I was there not too long ago. I trusted Him to show us each step of the way. Somewhere along the way, without even noticing, I started to try to get a little control over the order of events. That led to stress and anxiety and worry.
I want to get back to fully knowing that God will orchestrate every detail of our move as well as our daily lives. He won't miss anything or forget anything. He doesn't need my nagging, only my faithful cooperation.
So, for today, we are home.
My babies are sleeping oh so happily in their own beds. I want our next home to give them that same peaceful, stable feeling that this home gives them.
I look forward to the day when we walk in whatever house God has planned for us next, and the kids smile from ear to ear and proclaim, "We're home!"
For now, we are happily, gratefully, sentimentally...home.