Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Moving On

Exactly five months ago, I walked into this apartment after driving in a car for four hours with my heartbroken kids and a baby who had thrown up twice earlier in the day and a four-year old who threw up five times over the course of the four-hour car ride.  The apartment was so littered with boxes that I couldn't sit down at our small kitchen table to eat.  And little did I realize it at that moment, but I too was getting sick.  In fact, that day, the day before Christmas Eve, we were all coming down with the stomach flu, but all I cared about in that moment was that there were no sheets on any of the beds, and I had no idea where any sheets were.  We were sick, hungry, tired, lonely, sad, and emotionally exhausted.  And it was Christmas.  And I already missed my friends.

So, after about two minutes of assessing my current situation, I turned right around and walked out of the apartment, got back into my car and drove to the store to buy sheets, and some kind of food that sick people can stomach.

I had my daughter with me, so I kicked into "fake it till ya make it mode."  While at the store, feeling very delirious from the events of the day and the previous six months really, I decided to act like this was the funnest night ever.  Scarlett, my 9-year old daughter, watched as I talked happily to every worker at the stores we went to.  It was 10:30pm or so the night before Christmas Eve.  Other people seemed in a pretty good mood and ready to talk too.

At Bed, Bath & Beyond, I announced to the first worker we saw, "We just moved here 10 minutes ago, and we're crammed in a little apartment, and we need sheets, so my sick kids and I can sleep tonight."

This lady was so kind and greeted us with the sweetest and kindest smile ever, and said, "Welcome to Cranberry!!" as she proceeded to show us to some sheets that might work for us.  When we got to the register, the worker there applied a steep discount to our entire order for having recently moved.

Our next stop was Target, where I kept running in to the same lady in the food section.  She said, "Well, I guess I might as well say Hi."  I said, "Hi, we're new in town. We just moved here tonight, and we need friends." This kind lady said, "I'll be your friend!" as she proceeded to "friend me" on Facebook, invited us to the movies with her son the next day, and even met me for pie one night soon after at like 11pm, when I said (on Facebook) that I was missing my friends.

Another woman in our apartment complex, who is a super-trooper in my book, went out of her way to befriend me.  Last week, when I told her that our signing date for our new house got pushed back and we had nothing to eat (because I'd packed our apartment up in anticipation of the move) didn't say a word, but simply sent her daughter over with bags and bags of food for us to make a respectable dinner that evening and beyond.

The last little while here has been especially hard as we have had our closing date on our house pushed back.  So much stress coming at us from many angles.  

I met some friends at a local park, some ladies who will also be some of my new neighbors at the new house. I met one woman for the first time and I was expressing to her how hard and daunting something seemed to me right now.  She looked right at me and said, "The fact that you have five children tells me that YOU CAN DO THIS."  It was as simple as that.  But it was what I needed to hear.  And after our play date, I promptly got into my car and bawled my eyes out! Grateful and overwhelmed at the same time.

Then last week, I was at the grocery store, waiting in line at the check-out, and who did I see, but Jackie, the worker from Bed, Bath, & Beyond, who we always call "our first friend in Cranberry." She remembered us, and asked how we were doing.  I thanked her profusely for just being a kind face and welcoming a stranger that night.  It meant a lot to us.

Five months have passed, and many, many people, women in particular, have showed us such love and kindness.  People in person, people online, old friends sending me messages of love. It has been truly humbling and has taught me a lot.

Perhaps, I have failed in that five months later I still hate this apartment.  Should I have learned to love it?  I don't know.  I certainly tried to like it, and I don't think I've been ungrateful for it.  I just will be so happy when we can close this extremely difficult chapter in our lives.  Maybe in hindsight, and from a distance, I will learn to appreciate it more that I do while in the thick of everything.

If there's anything I've learned most poignantly, it's the power of friendship, of kindness to strangers, of enduring and being willing to admit when things are really hard. I've also realized how easy it is to be generous with our time and our hugs, and especially with our words.  It costs nothing, but tends to mean everything to the receiver.

I guess if I can be a more kind and generous person because of this experience, then it will have been absolutely worth it.

Onward and upward!  We hope to close on our new house tomorrow!


  1. Wishing you all the best in your gorgeous new home. Things will all work out in time. I'm glad you are finding your place and especially new friends in your new city.

  2. Still hating the apartment just means that it will be so easy to leave it! And you'll be ever so grateful for your new home. Congrats for making it through this current adventure. Sometimes we have to go through some rough patches in this mortal life to see if we'll be faithful in all things. You seem to have done it. Blessings are surely on their way.

  3. wow, what a challenging time you've all been through but what lessons your whole family is learning. Seems those experiences continue to teach us no matter our age. We never retire from the school of life. Happy new beginnings...

  4. Thanks for sharing. I'm sure we can all relate to your mixed feelings. Enjoy settling in and making your new house a home!