I ran some errands with Austin today. As we were driving around, I asked him the same question I’ve been asking him for the past nine months. “Given the chance, would you want to move back to Chicago?” Today, for the first time, he answered, “Nah, it’s fine here.” And I believed him.
I worried about Austin and Savannah the most when we relocated. Being in high school, I knew it would be a tough adjustment for them. But when we first moved, Savannah jumped right in and made friends immediately. You can plunk that girl down anywhere and she’ll adjust, make friends, and fit right in. Austin has always been more introverted, unsure of himself, and slow to make friends. However, this weekend, Austin met some kids at the movies. He’s starting to settle in and think of Florida as home.
You can’t believe how good those words made me feel! Austin was the last one of my kids to get acclimated here (not that the others don’t stuggle with homesickness now and then). But now that he says, he’s fine here, I found myself breathing a sigh of relief. I hadn’t noticed I’d been holding my breath for months, but suddenly, I exhaled and relaxed against the back of my driver’s seat. Maybe it won’t be long until we’re saying Florida is home instead of things like, “I can’t wait until we go back home to visit,” referring to Chicagoland as home.
I started thinking. I’ve been on my own with the kids now for nearly two-and-a-half years. Two and a half years! I’m doing it on my own. Maybe not perfectly, but I’m doing it. I know it sounds like I’m bragging. I’m not. It’s hard to explain the mix of emotions I feel. I’ve been on pins and needles for so long, waiting for everything to fall apart; worrying that one day I’d screw up everything, or run out of money, or have a total mental breakdown. Yet, at the same time, I seem to have developed a small sense of pride. Well, it’s a bit of pride mixed in with an underlying fear that everything could be yanked away at any minute. There’s a definite sense of accomplishment in there somewhere though.
I glanced over at Austin as I drove away from the store. “I can’t believe we’ve been on our own for almost two-and-a-half years,” I commented. “I can’t believe we’ve made it this long.”
“And you did it with six kids, Mom,” he affirmed, his voice laced something akin to pride.
Yeah, yeah, I have. Smiling, I turned the corner and headed toward home.
As I reread what I’d written last night, I realized I’d left out an important piece of information. When I wrote that I was doing it on my own, I meant without the help of a spouse. But I haven’t been entirely on my own. I’ve had the support of friends and family. And I’ve always had God by my side. Whenever things have looked bleak, He has lifted me up. When I would have an exceptionally bad day, suddenly I’d get a phone call or a card from a loved one that brightened my spirits. Whenever I’ve thought I was going to drown in financial obligations, out of nowhere I’d be offered a job that paid just what I needed to get by another month. I don’t think all these things simply happen. I believe they’re orchestrated by someone much greater than I.
I know those of you who have read my posts for any length of time, know this about me, but I wanted to be sure I put it out there. I’m sure I’d be back in Chicago, rocking in a fetal position while mumbling incoherently to myself if it weren’t for God.