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A year later

On July 13, 2021, I woke up on an air mattress in a mostly empty house, having slept poorly from nerves and from the children also sleeping poorly on air mattresses. We ate breakfast and loaded the few remaining belongings, which somehow barely fit, into the vehicles. Our cat Albus was in a crate nestled on a box between two children in the van. Our Jack Dempsey fish was in a plastic bin full of water in the back seat of the truck with two children. Our dog was curled up at their feet. 

Justin and I took one last walk through the empty house after telling the boys to buckle up. It was empty but fuller than when we had moved in. I stood in the kitchen and remembered bringing our first box into the house. Our oldest was a toddler and we were moving seven minutes down the road from our apartment. I had carried in a cooler with condiments and sandwich meat that I had dumped from the other fridge. The home was a blank slate for us. Now that it was time to leave though, it was bursting with memories. I had sat just there at the kitchen table reading my Bible on an iPad early one morning, the same week I had given birth to one of the children. The third one, perhaps? There is where I sat on the ottoman with another new baby in my arms. There is the patio we had built during the pandemic that I had dreamed of since we moved in and had seen much of our lives that past year. 

We locked up and pulled out. It felt surreal that it wasn’t our home anymore, but as we kept driving, excitement over the new home took over. 

In June, we went back to Kentucky to visit some dear friends. As we neared the Kentucky line, the mountains moved closer to the road. I took a picture and sent it to some friends.  I had been shocked when we drove farther into Virginia at how flat that portion of it was. The mountains receded into the distant. It felt expansive, but also empty. 

We didn’t return to our town but we did drive into the one beside it to eat at one of our kids’ favorite restaurant. We drove to that town at least four days out of the week the last four years we lived in Kentucky. It was as if we never left. There’s the Aldi. There’s the road to my oldest’s speech therapy. There’s the turn for church. 

All I felt was overwhelming gratitude. I did not miss it; I did not want to return. But I was grateful for those years, for the people we had met, for the things we had been able to do, for how we had grown. I had moved to Kentucky when I was 18. I settled into a dorm and then an apartment and then our first house. I was 34 when we left. 

Close to 6 in the evening a year ago, we pulled into our new driveway. I had not seen the home in person, only Justin had, and it was just as I had envisioned from the pictures. The boys ran around in the backyard, exploring, and Justin and I directed the movers on where to put our boxes. I roamed the house, soaking it all in. 

We’ve been here a year today. I’m so glad we moved. I feel overwhelming gratitude now for where we are. The longer we are here, the more I love our home and land, our neighborhood. Justin and I discuss it at least weekly because moving was scary and we were not sure what the outcome would be. 

I am glad we are here. 

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