Which moments matter?

May 31, 2016

So…the movers finally showed up. We kinda have a plethora of worldly possessions because #fourkids, #married18years, #ikeepthingsjustincase. In typical Hartwell fashion, we allowed NO buffer of time to close on each house, move, settle, and go on vacation. We reserved the beach house before I even had a start date for my new job. And when we got a full price offer on the old house, we couldn’t let it go just because they wanted to close two days before vacation. Like most other Americans, we’re counting on the proceeds of one house as a down payment on the next, so we can’t close on the new house until we close on the old. So here we are, stacking the closings by a matter of hours and confirming with the bank that if we wire money from Ohio to Indiana it will be all legit so that we can actually get the keys to our new house. And since last weekend was The Indy 500 Memorial Day Weekend and since our buyers wanted possession at closing, that left our moving company just two days to pack and load said plethora of worldly possessions, drive 175 miles west, and unload those boxes into the new house. So when the moving guys still hadn’t shown up at 10am this morning…my little heart was racing and my mind panicking that maybe they forgot us and I’ll have to leave work and drive home and buy 300 boxes and pack all night and rent a U-Haul and do it all ourselves and there isn’t enough coffee for this and…

Ugh! Here we are, leaving a great house in a great neighborhood. Scott had been texting me all weekend while I was working that he was having a great time with the kids and hanging at the pool and the pub down the street (think: Cheers). It dawned on me that I wasn’t there when they moved into that house (because I was moving back home from Memphis…long story…) and now, I am not there as they are moving out. I started second guessing this whole move thing. Why did I uproot my family from what we called when we bought it “The Forever House”? Why are my kids leaving their friends and teammates? Why is my husband leaving his office to work from home 3 hours away? Why did I leave a good job to take what I simply have to trust is/will be a better job? It’s in these moments when I’m feeling nostalgic that I sense a twinge of regret. Or fear that I made a wrong choice. I’m missing moments with my kids. I changed the trajectory of their future. What if I’m doing it wrong?

Relax. Last night, as I was making dinner with a friend and recounting all of these anxious feelings, she said, “It’s alright. Some places or jobs are not really better than another. You won’t find the perfect one. Sometimes it’s the change that you need, not that one job.” This made me really think about how easy it is to look back at things or times in life and through the retrospectoscope, they are all sepia toned and perfect. In the moment, there may be pain or panic or anxiety, but time smooths out the wrinkles and prickly parts of our past, and we are left with just scattered images of the good times that we want to remember. (See also: Childbirth. If I remembered all of the painful parts, I wouldn’t have four kids) And it’s in these moments when I must remind myself that as bright or beautiful as my past has been, in this moment, before I have the serenity of the sepia tones, I have to trust that the future will indeed glisten; that the nudging I felt to move forward, and that I listened to, to Reset, will prove itself to be worthwhile.

So even though Scott is solo in Buckeye country, the kids are with their grandparents half way between our old life and our new, and I am here in the foreign land of race cars and basketball underdogs, I’m pretty darn sure that everything is gonna be alright. The burly moving guys can drop off the boxes wherever they please. They will be there when we get home from the beach. And while I’m normally obsessive about making packing lists for vacation, I’ve just decided to be nonchalant about it this time. Seriously, we are going to the beach. We need, what, a swim suit, a towel, a toothbrush? Maybe some flip flops and shorts? God put Kroger and Target right there on the Island just for me, so we can buy groceries and whatever we might have forgotten. Or were just too exhausted to pack.

This move has given me so much more than a new job. It’s given me a new and more relaxed perspective; a deeper appreciation for the love of my husband; a broader understanding of my place in this world. And my place…well, it’s a small one. So it’s made me take myself a little less seriously and reminded me to laugh at some moments that otherwise would have brought on tears (chaos before vacation) and to just sigh at the moments that used to make me stomp my feet (late arriving movers). The moments I am fretting about missing…the poetic moments of Sam’s last day of Kindergarten and the Last Supper at the Pub and the last night at “The Not-Quite-Forever House”…the kids don’t see the moments that way. Kids have a beautiful way of looking forward, unlike us adults who get all caught up in looking back. They just want to know they are safe. The moments that matter are the ones in which we worry less and love more; laugh the loudest; and play the longest…together.

(PS: Photo credit: Shannon Christopher. Yep…love him!)

Disclaimer: My viewpoints are not necessarily reflective of my employer, or any local, regional or national organization that I belong to. As a matter of fact, I pretty much just speak for myself. Please keep that in mind.

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