Ranging Emotions

We are down to just 6 days before we make the big move from Richmond, VA to Athens, GA.

My son and I are busy crossing off our Richmond bucket list and my husband is finishing his last days of residency.

Every morning my son and I are doing activities around Richmond and seeing friends while my husband works, and every afternoon we are all working on packing up the house.

One afternoon my husband came home not talking, and I was sulking. Our son was running around with enthusiasm saying “Yay, it’s almost moving day!”

“What’s up?” I asked my quietly brooding husband. “I’m really stressed,” answered, an honest and vulnerable answer for a man who never gets stressed (or at least never admits to it.)

“And you?” he asked, already knowing my answer. My emotions have always been transparent. “I’m just really sad,” I said, and started to cry, because lately there’s nothing that doesn’t make me cry. The combination of making a big move, leaving the city and friends that I love and being 6 1/2 months pregnant all at the same time has resulted in me crying on a daily basis.

“Mommy, stop crying!” our four year old said as he continued to gallop around the living room. “This is so exciting! I can’t wait to move to GA!”

“Well,” I said, “at least one of us is happy! Daddy is stressed, Mommy is sad, and Noah is excited.”

And there we were in the midst of boxes and transitions and endings and beginnings and all feeling differently about where we were.

In that moment, as in so many moments of my life, I was incredibly thankful for the blind enthusiasm of my son for adding one more dynamic to our little family. A ray of sunshine in our modes of stressed and sad, our little boy is so excited for our new adventure. Maybe it will be ok after all.

excited boy

Home

It’s midnight and I could sit awake for hours in the quiet of this dark and contemplate this house.

front of house

The floors that shine under the light of the lamp illuminating where my son took his first steps and where busy plays and only night brings rest.

livingroom 2

I’ve memorized how the light shines in the living room window; the way it streams in through my son’s window at it’s rise and how it floods in through the downstairs bathroom window at it’s set.

Noah room

downstairs bath

I know this house.

dining room

I’ve loved it since the very first time we walked into it. And oh was there drama to get into it oh has there been drama to get out. But oh how I have loved BEING HERE.

kitchen 3

 

master bedroom 2

 

back yard

We’ve grown here and fallen apart here and loved and laughed and dreamed and danced and learned that our next house must have a walk in shower just like this one, but we need a bigger bath tub.

upstairs bath

 

And that we love the unique features and character of this older home but maybe our next house could have less creaky stairs.

 

nook

 

stairwell

There was always going to be a next time. Forever wasn’t here but that doesn’t mean here didn’t hold a piece of forever.

upstairs hallway

guest room

My son wants to take the seahorse light pull from the downstairs bathroom. “So I can always have a piece of our first house, Mommy.” Yes, of course you can, I told him, and together we cut the string.

He feels the pull here, too; his only home. The only house we’ve ever owned. The longest my husband or I have lived anywhere since we both left our parents homes when we were 18.

playroom office

We’ll take pieces with us too; pictures and memories and 4 years of our lives bound into the pieces of this house that I wonder if I’ll ever stop thinking of as “home.”

outside front

This Too Shall Pass

Life tends to come in waves here. I sometimes find myself bored with the monotony that can occur when your job description is “Mommy,” an all encompassing word that means you do everything and seemingly nothing all at the same time.

But since the fall, the calm of monotony was abruptly disrupted and has been replaced with wave after wave of life. BIG LIFE. Life changing waves that will not stop crashing, leaving me wondering when I will once again be able to take a breathe.

After my miscarriage on my 30th birthday, which, in itself seems a story fit to be written in the pages of a heart wrenching novel, life charged forward with another maybe-kind-of miscarriage in November. We didn’t tell anyone about it. It was a positive pregnancy test one day and bleeding the next. The doctors called it a chemical pregnancy. It may not have even been real.

December came with it’s wave of Christmas cheer and blur of busy as I once again held a lead role in the Broadway style Christmas production at church and we celebrated all of the things that go on with having a 4 year old in Pre-K around the holidays. We traveled to GA to see family and survived more months of nights as my husband continued to trudge through his Anesthesiology Residency.

 

My last GCN performance.

My last GCN performance.

In January, we were met with snow and sickness. Snow that just wouldn’t stop, and my son only attended school for 4 days the entire month. I wanted to be positive about it, but it was completely valid to be going stir crazy with a little one and snow that was too cold and ice-y to even enjoy playing outside in.

january 2013 017

Well, we played a little. :)

 

This too shall pass.

Then I got sick. Very sick. Couldn’t-move-off-the-couch-throwing-up-at-all-hours-of-the-day sick.

A few pregnancy tests later would confirm what I already knew…I was pregnant.

But I was skeptical. I wasn’t sure if it was real and I definitely wasn’t excited since this time it seemed being pregnant meant being dysfunctional.

I gave my husband a positive pregnancy test in a gift bag for Valentine’s Day (and some other stuff too, don’t worry I didn’t just give him a pee stick) and we both were tentatively excited.

At my doctor appointment in late February they confirmed that there was a little baby in there; measuring about 8 weeks. I was given Zofran to try to stop the severe nausea. It helped, but put me in a zombie like state of sleep and no energy. So my choices were throw up all day or lay on the couch like a zombie all day. My son was raised by the TV for about three months and our house was in such a state of disarray that I truly wondered if burning it down and starting over would’ve been an easier solution than somehow figuring out how to clean it up.

This too shall pass.

We told my family and called my husband’s family. “Don’t tell Noah!” My son knew Mommy was sick, but he didn’t know why, and I wanted to make VERY certain that this baby was a sure thing before we told our sweet four year old that he would be a big brother.

My mother-in-law wanted to come up for a visit.

You can, we told her, but the house does not look like it normally does (I never allow company over if my house is not spotless) and you can not wear any perfume or wear anything smelly.

The smell of EVERYTHING made me sick. I couldn’t even stand the smell of our own laundry detergent; we had to re-wash every single article of clothing we owned just so I could get dressed. (All Free and Clear to the rescue!)

“I’m sure the house isn’t that bad,” my mother in law said, until she actually arrived at our house and discovered it was WORSE. “Well,” she said, “it certainly does look different.”

It looked like an episode from Hoarders.

This too shall pass.

My mother-in-law stayed for a week and entertained my TV brainwashed son and did a million loads of laundry and helped with dishes.  She dug us out of a hole I’m not sure I ever would have been able to climb out of.

And then, I started feeling better.

It was the week after my mother in law left that one day, the sun decided to shine.

And my body decided to cooperate.

And for the first time in months, I felt human again.

We even told our sweet little boy that he was going to be a big brother…and he was THRILLED!

Look Whoo's Going to Be A Big Brother!

Look Whoo’s Going to Be A Big Brother!

This too shall pass.

Residency is over in June. So, no matter what, we are starting a new chapter in our lives this summer. My husband began his job search in December, and much to our dismay by March we still had no job. In the midst of my severe sickness my husband finally started getting interviews and was out of town in between weeks of nights. Despite my strong desire to stay in Richmond, there were no available jobs. My husband has always wanted to go back to GA (where we grew up) so most of his interviews were focused there.

We knew we couldn’t stay in Richmond without a job, so we worked diligently to get our house ready to put on the market. Somehow in between severe morning sickness, a traveling and working nights husband, and juggling the care of a 4 year old, our house became not just clean, but also market ready. Surely we would have a job by April, we assumed, and we went about hiring a handy man and a yard crew, renting a POD, and packing and loading and cleaning and meeting with our real estate agent.

April came and we did not have a job. But we had a schedule, and a deadline to get the house on the market if we wanted to really attract the buyers coming in for spring, and a hope that a job offer would come in before our house went under contract. Putting your house on the market doesn’t mean selling it, right?

Our beautiful home.

Our beautiful home.

This too shall pass.

Except it did sell. In three days. We put our house on the market on Friday, April 11th. We had 5 showings, two offers and were under contract by Monday, April 14th at noon. Whose house sells in three days??

But it was not without some drama. Our first offer came in Saturday night, after only one day on the market, for just under full listing price. “You won’t get a better deal than this,” our real estate agent told us. She really wanted us to take it. The bottom line was that it was all just moving too quickly. I didn’t want to sell our house, or leave Richmond, and we did not have a plan of where we were going next. It’s hard to jump when you don’t know where you are landing.

We told our agent we wouldn’t sign anything until Monday and then a second offer came in Sunday night. For more money and a later closing date. It was obviously a better offer for us, but the agents felt we should have gone with the first offer and there was some talk about us being under a “verbal agreement” and making an “ethical decision.” I was guilt ridden and felt pressured and didn’t want to sell our cute little house in the first place. And my husband certainly got the brunt of that emotional meltdown from me.

We did wind up taking the second offer and were under contract by Monday. And that was it. Our home was under contract. We had no job. We were on track to be jobless and homeless at the end of June with two kids. I don’t know the dates, but I do know that there was a day when my husband and I got into a HUGE fight in front of our son. The tension level at our house was so indescribably high and the great unknowns of our future were so looming that it was almost unbearable.

This too shall pass.

A job offer would FINALLY come in on April 22nd. We were elated. It was an AMAZING offer in Atlanta, GA. We finally could feel at peace with what was coming next, even though I was still holding so tightly onto where we are now.

Then, the week where our life status changed every day happened.

On Monday, April 28th, the Atlanta job rescinded the offer. We were back to being on track for jobless and homeless at the end of June. I was a complete disaster. And, as we have come to find out, rescinded job offers? NEVER happen in the field of medicine. We were at a complete loss. On Tuesday, a job in Athens, GA offered a possible part time opportunity. We didn’t know if we could make it work financially, but we were considering it. On Wednesday, April 30th, the Athens job said they may be able to make a full time offer. On Thursday, May 1st, the Athens job officially extended a full time offer in writing and we took it. Because at this point, we simply needed a plan. Shortly after, the Atlanta job called and said there was still a possibility my husband could get that job if he would just wait….I am so proud of him for interrupting and saying that he was no longer interested.

By Friday, May 2nd, we had started paperwork for the Athens, GA job and finally, FINALLY felt that all of the pieces were coming together.

This too shall pass.

As it turns out, juggling a pregnancy, a four year old, church obligations, a new job, selling a house, trying to find a new house, finding a new school for my son, researching a new care provider to switch to in the middle of a pregnancy, doing an opera (yes, I added an opera in there), keeping up with freelance writing, my job for Richmondmom.com and real life (damn you laundry!) is simply insane. I do not think it is wise to change EVERY SINGLE THING ABOUT YOUR LIFE ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

This too shall pass. There will soon be a time of calm. There has to be.

But now, right at this moment, we are still stuck in the midst of the waves, just trying not to drown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lifted

I have been feeling heavy for months, feeling like big decisions are looming over us and not knowing what to do.

Since January, we have been uncertain of where my son would go to school next year, whether or not my husband would do a fellowship (which decides when we will move) and maybe kinda sorta starting to TALK about having another kid. (How’s that for noncommittal?) As my son told me, “that’s only three things.”

I am a planner, and though my life has been nothing if not a constant exercise in change, I hate change. Hate it. I’m good at it, I do it a lot, but I can not stand it.

I like plans, and ideas of what will happen next and clear decisions.

And then today, we got some news.

My husband did not get his fellowship.

He told me with a huge grin on his face.

I think he really only wanted a fellowship because he felt like it is something he should do, not because it was something he was passionate about. And he is so ready to be done with residency and get a “real job.” Because our families still live in Georgia, our “real job” search will be in GA. We only have one year left in Richmond.

I have had mixed emotions all day. I have fallen in love with Richmond, and have established some amazing friends here. Richmond, VA is where we bought our first home, our son took his first steps, and where I finally found myself again after feeling lost from becoming a Mommy.

Secretly, I am also kind of relieved. I have to admit that living this far away from family is hard, and driving down to GA three times a year is extremely draining. At some point, we would need to just stop seeing family so much or just move closer to them because GA trips stress me out. A lot.

It also makes my preschool decision so much easier. As soon as I got the news I paid the deposit and turned in the contract for my son to stay at his current private school for pre-K next year. There is no point in changing schools for just one year right before moving and changing EVERYTHING. I am actually so thankful to be at peace about that. The preschool decision has been weighing heavily on me.

There is still a lot we don’t know. The job searching process will be a whole new adventure and we don’t know exactly WHERE in GA we would like to be. (Except definitely not the area we grew up in. That’s a story for a different day.)

But we do know that we will be moving away from Richmond, VA in the summer of 2014 and we know where our little guy will go to preschool next year. I feel like a huge weight has lifted.

As for the maybe kinda sorta baby thing? I can only handle so much in one day.