26 years ago when we made the decision to move to Texas we had no idea how much it would impact our life, in both good ways and bad. The decision was well thought out and we knew it was really the only wise choice at the time. The “why” of it is for another story. The important thing at the time was that this was the right decision for all the right reasons. We were empty nesters by then and we had no worries about upsetting the kids with yet another move, and Lord knows, we moved them enough!
Somehow, I thought that since all the kids were still single, they would all follow us to Texas, but to my surprise our older son chose to stay in the Midwest saying “I am sorry Mom, but I am a 4 seasons kind of guy!”. He remained there to continue in his teaching career and 4 of us moved to Texas. He was there that last day after the moving van left stuffed full of our belongings, and it broke my heart when 4 cars went one direction to the south and one went another path.
Other than that sad separation, it was an exciting time as Al and I were middle aged and we felt like we had a whole lot of life ahead of us… The future looked bright and promising and for the most part we are still happy with that long ago decision. We have made friends with some remarkable and wonderful people. We really developed our roots in the area where we built our home and many friends became like family…a chosen family who chose us back!
When we first began settling in, there were holidays that were vastly changed because of the move. Well, in truth , they have ALL been drastically changed forever. The first Mothers Day we spent in Austin, we were dressed and ready for church and my heart was heavy as we got into the car for our drive to church. The kids were all off in distant towns or working. As Al pulled up into the church parking lot, a lump formed in my throat as the thought of a lone Mother going into church without her children on Mothers Day bloomed in my mind. Before I even understood what I was feeling, I burst into tears and Al held my hand making soothing sounds. I finally collected my emotions, wiped my eyes and nose and stepped out of the car. As I did, I heard “Happy Mothers Day Mom!” I whipped around and there was our younger son, all decked out for church with flowers in his hands. I had NO idea he would be there because Al had told me earlier he had to work! My heart burst with joy at this huge blessing to this very bereft woman. Into church we went and I think I kept pointing at him, introducing “our son” to total strangers! Haha! Not exactly his favorite thing since he is such a private person. But he tolerated it with grace. We had lunch following and then he had to head back into work and we went home…a placated Mom and a much relieved Dad. ❤️❤️❤️
The past 25 years have been just like that…ups and downs coming in equal amounts. In the beginning years I could not watch a Hallmark movie without having to wring out my hanky throughout.
It was exciting to build our “empty nest” house with emphasis on the things WE liked. Al wanted to go smaller, but I wanted more space for “the kids” to feel “welcome and wanted” in our “family” home. I was deluding myself to some degree because though they did come often to visit and spent time with us, this house was never something they considered their home. It was “Ma and Pa’s” place…. a place that they grew attached to, but they were launched into their own lives and were happy to have a place to gather with their sibs and folks, but afterwards they would go back to their own homes.
I have often wondered how life would have been had we never left our Minnesota home. Would the kids have settled in around us or gone off to far away places? I guess I will never know the answer to that. As things go, we are blessed to have at least one of our children close by in the same city. The others live in other cities but we are never forgotten as the phone rings frequently with a cheerful voice on the other end saying “Hello Mom….Hi Dad!” I imagine that we are not so different from millions of other families that are separated by geographical expanses.
Through the years , we have given up more and more of our expectations. It took a while to get the hang of it, but the more of these we released, the happier we became. I began to understand in a very real way that our children are only on loan to us…we don’t get to keep them. Well, we do keep our children close to our hearts, of course we do, but not in the day to day, 24-7 kind of way, which is actually good. I would have a hard time giving up my Mothering instinct that kicks into high gear each time I spend time with them. I am able to control these instincts for short periods of times, but if they lived here with me, I am afraid we would all digress and that could become an unhappy event. haha!
I do love our children…but I am happy to also say that I LIKE our adult “kids” very much! They have become our friends and they are such nice human beings. Do we sometimes spend holidays alone? Yes, on occasion. Do we get to gather with ALL of them each time we are with family? No, but the gatherings where they are all there, tells me that they all like each other. (Now there is the gift!) ❤️
It was after our move to Texas where I began to write down my thoughts on things. I did so when I was troubled, sad, hurt, happy….it was a way of releasing these feelings out into the universe and afterwards I usually felt so much better. Writing is a form of company too. Essentially, I am having a written conversation with myself. I have always been an avid reader which then compounded my tendency to be a day dreamer. Writing helps clear the debris field of words laying about on the floor of my mind. Writing helps to sweep out the clutter in my brain and move forward clear headed and ready to take on the world…until it fills up all over again.
Today is very quiet and tomorrow is Christmas Eve. We will be just the two of us, but we have made plans for tomorrow to attend two Christmas services in two churches. One is an early afternoon service in our new town and one is an evening service in our previous church. We have reservations at a very cool looking restaurant via a gift card from our older son who will be celebrating Christmas with his family in the north country. He is still a “4 Seasons kind of guy”, God bless him! We would have loved to join him but our move got in the way of that this year.
We have discovered the value of the quiet holidays over the years. It gives a person time to savor that homemade Christmas cookie with a hot cup of tea while listening to Christmas music playing in the background. It gives us time to read…and write…and read Christmas cards from a lifetime of friendships! Of course, as parents we want it all, but just like stuffing ourselves with too many sweets, we have come to know that a very full Christmas can have its own set of drawbacks. We know that parceling out the holidays bit by bit has its own kind of enjoyment.
Besides…none of us is ever alone…ever! Jesus birthday is about the greatest gift ever given, so the Christmas story is always a welcomed read. Life is usually what we decide to make of it, so make it a great holiday event! I love lemonade if you catch my drift. I also love lemon bars, lemon cookies, lemon drops…The list is long of how to sweeten things up a bit when lemons are handed out! In our new house we have no fireplace! (lemons). I am listening to Christmas music with a fireplace burning heartily on the screen in front of mr. (Lemonade) 😁.
Merry Christmas everyone! It is great to be alive! Blessings from Georgetown, Texas!