Bittersweet Goodbyes

As I was driving to meet a good friend for dinner the other night, I was struck by how beautiful it was coming down the hillside by the lake, seeing the shimmering lights reflecting off the water, a cool breeze coming in the window. It was peaceful, although that might have had more to do with being free from the kids than anything else! However, I felt at home.

In that moment I was transported back to the first time I drove into Ithaca, NY. It was the evening, and we had come to look at apartments, I was 5 months pregnant, had just worked back to back meetings in Washington D.C. and I was completely exhausted. I think I was coming down with something, so I wasn’t thrilled to be there. Joe was driving and I had no clue where I was, other than obviously in the middle of no where, but I can still remember the twinkling lights of Ithaca as we approached. I couldn’t even see the lake, but the lights shined peacefully in the distance.

Four and a half years later, we have two children, purchased our first and second homes, renovating one of them ourselves, found and built upon our love for gardening and homesteading, met lifelong friends, watch babies join our community and wish friends good luck as they moved away, learned as much as possible about CP, EI, IEPs and CPSE, while still finding time for breathing, eating and sleeping. In all this, I knew there was a chance we could move, and as time went on it became apparent that our time in here was not meant to be long term.

While the excitement of a new chapter is here, even upon the heels of such a recent move, and hard work of renovating an old home, I also can’t help but think of how tied I will always be to this town, and to the people who will call it home.

I found my feet here in Ithaca, upon the kindness of other mothers, and the grace they afforded me when I felt I was floundering, my skills in motherhood hardly tested. I found my voice among my community of friends as I almost succumbed to the weight of knowing the bumpy road of raising a child with special needs; they helped me find it. I experienced the sweet joy of loving others when they needed it most, in the trenches of motherhood. Watching little babes become curious, rambunctious boys and girls in a matter of a few years. Life has been good to us here. It is so incredibly hard to imagine leaving that behind. Or to imagine it in another town. In Buffalo.

So the bittersweet goodbyes have begun for us. We are leaving, in a few weeks, and have started the customary scheduling of dinners, play-dates, and meet-ups. To squeeze in those last few memory making moments that have filled up our time here from nearly the start. We have started to pack up books, and other things, and finding a new home for our chickens, who sadly cannot come along. It is almost surreal to see boxes lining the walls again. Didn’t I just do this?!

The excitement of moving to a new town is also incredibly palpable. J has been asking nearly non-stop “are we moving today?” not so much for the excitement about moving as much as wanting to understand exactly when his world will be changed once again. It’s been hard to explain completely to him, but I think he’s getting the picture. C is blissfully unaware, so I find some comfort in that. Joe and I are eager to get settled in, for him to start his new position and for us to recreate, to an extent, the family rhythm we have started here. We are excited for the possibilities, how this opportunity has made possible, this much sooner, our hopes for starting a hobby farm, to really start producing our own food, and all that comes with it.

A lot is about to change for us. Change is inevitable, and it is good, even when it is saddening and sometimes painful.

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