Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Saying Goodbye

No matter how the appellation "Jersey Girl" makes me cringe, over the past 7 1/2 years, I guess that's sort of what I've become -- right down to the ubiquitous tracksuit uniform one sees up here.

7 1/2 years -- that's almost 1/6 of my life to date. 7 1/2 years -- that blows away the old record of 4 years in one spot. Nearly 17% of my time, my energies, my experiences have been applied or have occurred right here in this small, rural area in northwestern Jersey.

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I remember when we moved here. My husband and I drove up late at night in separate cars, dividing the dogs and toddler between us. We traveled in pitch blackness. Not a streetlight, not a house light anywhere. It's probably a good thing we were driving separately, or we might have seriously considered turning around and going back to Philly. As it was, we both just sat in the car and wondered, "What the heck have we gotten ourselves into???" 

But the morning came, as it always does, and when I stepped outside of the hotel, the mountains and valleys and the crisp winter air took my breath away. 

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Now as I drive along these lovely backroads that circle my home, I feel a slight pang in knowing that I'll soon miss the sight of them -- the mountains and fields, grazing cows, posturing wild turkeys, the stars and fireflies. These familiar, comforting sights and sounds.

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Although I know that we're going to start something new and exciting in the new place, there is a part of me that wonders, "How will I leave this? What the heck am I thinking?"

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Celebrate Good Times

We're in the middle of moving to our new house, and my oldest child is turning 10. It seems like I was cradling him in my arms as a baby just yesterday. Where has the time gone?

Of course, I can't help but think of when I turned 10 myself. We had just moved from North Dakota to Guam (Wow! There's a stretch!) a couple of weeks before my birthday. We didn't really know anybody. We didn't even have a house yet, and were still living in a hotel. However, after church, my mom spontaneously invited everybody at the service to come over to the hotel (which had an outdoor pavilion) for a birthday party.

My mom and sister rushed off to get a cake before the guests arrived. My dad and I took off for McDonald's for the party grub. I will never forget the conversation that took place as we pulled up to the drive-through.
Attendant: May I take your order?
Dad: Yes, I'd like 50 hamburgers.
Attendant : 50 hamburgers? 
Dad: Hmmm, yeah, that might not be enough. Better make that 100 hamburgers.
Attendant (possibly looking for a hidden camera): You want 100 hamburgers?
Dad: Yes, please.
Attendant: 100 hamburgers?
Dad: That's right. I need 100 hamburgers.
Attendant: 100. Uh, yeah, that's going to take a while.
Dad: That's ok. (pause) Oh, and I need ketchup and mustard, too.
Decades later, this memory still makes me laugh outright. In fact, it's one of my kids' favorite stories, too.

I suppose if there is a lesson to be learned here, it's that it is always a good time to celebrate life, and other people -- even strangers -- are all too happy to cheer with you.

What's your favorite birthday memory? I'd love to hear it!

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