Tears. Lots of them as we said goodbye to our dear family, friends and our home of south Florida. Weary, exhausted from packing, organizing and hauling we left before the sun came up for the long journey. Poor Joel was tasked with driving the 26’ UHaul truck which also towed 1 of our cars. All of our worldly belongings racing up the highway at 60 mph. The ride was rough for him, being jostled by the harsh movements of the truck on the road. His foot constantly on the gas, carefully trying to drive safely, finding places to stop where he would be able to get in and out easily.
I was in charge of driving our van with our two children. They’re great kids but they’re young and didn’t completely understand what was going on. We’ve been on road trips before but never just me with them by myself. We packed the car with plenty of snacks, had DVDs ready and I bought a few new toys from the $1 section at Target for when things started going south. In only the first hour of the trip, my youngest was getting very frustrated that I couldn’t move fast enough to give him the snack he wanted. This Mommy lost it. Tears. Overwhelmed with emotions and trying to do the best I could. I reminded both kids about being patient with Mommy today. At that moment though, I wasn’t sure I could do this trip alone. Immediately God said, “You’re not alone”.
Somewhere in Georgia I saw black clouds looming. I thought, no not today, please not today. Thinking more of my husband than myself. Praying. Then the bottom fell out. I couldn’t see in front of me. I slowed down to almost 40 mph, as did everyone else. So many cars were stopped on the side of the highway. I prayed, should I stop? God told me “No, keep going. This is a bad storm but I’ve got you, you can make it through.” I believed Him and kept going. Tears. Even still, I was scared. Once we made it through, I warned my husband who was about 20 miles behind us what was coming. A few minutes later, more rain. Then silence. Then more downpours. As I traveled through each one, God said “The first storm was the worst, these are easy. I’ve got you.”
The rest of the trip was in a word: LONG. A normal 12-hour trip took us nearly 16 hours. We never knew we could be so tired. When we finally got to our new town and pulled in at our friends’ house where we would be staying for a few days, the kids broke down. Tears. They had been sleeping, it was pitch black outside and when they woke up, they saw an unfamiliar place, heard unfamiliar noises (crickets!) and were scared and at the end of their ropes. Inside, warmth, hugs, kisses, blankets and pillows lulled them to sleep again.
The next few days consisted of unpacking, moving furniture, organizing and keeping small kids busy and out of trouble. One of the biggest adjustments has been allowing the kids to play outside without much supervision. This is new to us. I am usually out there with them or sitting by the window so I can see but they have so much more freedom here to run around and just be kids. Our rental house in the mountains looks over a large piece of property that is an open field with lots of wildflowers. The first full day we were here, my daughter got her butterfly net and went out in the field to explore. Watching her way out there all alone in her own magical world made me so thankful. Tears. Happy, grateful, ecstatic tears for this new chapter in our family. We’re still not there yet but we’re getting closer, day after day, one box at a time.