I’m going to come right out and say this: people claim that change is good, but I disagree. Change is painful.
I know this because we just moved our family of six from our beautiful home in Santa Barbara, California. That is to say completely uprooted and started over again. Without warning, we were given an opportunity to thoroughly change our lives and all our wonderful, comfortable routines and relocate to the Seattle area. And it was all decided in a matter of weeks. June 4th we had no idea and, boom, August 16th we were packing a moving truck. Life is just that quirky and wonderful and emotional sometimes.
It’s a long story that Colin told beautifully in a Sacrament Meeting talk that he gave before we left, but the gist is his company opened an office in the Seattle area with a position that he couldn’t pass up. We’d be able to actually buy a house living in the gorgeous but damp state of Washington, and we’d be closer to family and old friends, so why wouldn’t we go?
For me, that was an easy answer. I loved living in Santa Barbara. I loved the good people that I knew there. In my heart of naive hearts, I hoped we would always live there. I never wanted to go.
But after countless hours of discussion and many heartfelt prayers, the answer was clear. We needed to go. And so, we went.
My heart broke distinctly that morning I drove away.
I went to sleep the night before we left, exhausted from the rigor of packing and cleaning and crying at the goodbyes, pondering what it meant to live there for six wonderful years. When I came here I knew nothing about congenital heart defects or how strong a little girl fighting the effects can be. I didn’t know what it felt like to send a son to kindergarten only to turn around and find that he’s entering 2nd grade. I didn’t have a clue that life with twins could be so demanding, so crazy, so joyful all at the same time. When I came here I had one child. Tomorrow I leave with four. I’m not the same person I was those six years ago. Just as it should be.
I’m writing this in hindsight and so my reflection is distilled by the craze of the move and the blur of life with a full house. But the pain of the loss is easy to tap into. Most of the time, I’m just too busy to go there. A blessing, I suppose.
A few years back, I wrote about how terrible it is to be the one left behind. I know for a fact it’s true. The mover has the advantage of starting over. The one who remains feels the emptiness of the hole. But what I forgot is how much the one leaving does just that: you leave a piece of you behind. And no amount of novelty or beautiful surroundings or friendly faces can replace what you used to call home.
Did I ask for this change? Did I see it coming? Did I even want to make it? No, no, and no. But despite this, and despite the struggles I had in making my decision to go forward, I know that it was the right choice for our family. The weeks leading up to this realization were truly heartbreaking for me as I said goodbye to so many loved ones and treasured aspects of living in Santa Barbara. Because, the thing is, we had a really good life there. I guess the Lord knew that more was in store for us elsewhere.
I can’t wait to see what that is.
“God, be with you ’til we meet again,” we sang on my very last Sunday in the Goleta Valley Ward [church congregation]. All I could do was sob.
Goodbye, dear friends, dear family. Thank you for the years of love and service you’ve given to me and my family. I’m grateful for the support you’ve shown as we’ve readied ourselves for this colossal change.
On to the next phase of our lives…