Katrina and Jenny

It’s official. Our house is on the market. In this tumultuous time of negative equity and rising interest rates, we’ve decided to forge ahead. It’s a buyer’s market, not a seller’s. But at this juncture, we are paying keen attention to the signs the universe is laying at our feet. And, after all, we’ve never been known for our wise real estate investments or our impeccable timing.

Our local school referendum didn’t pass in November, and with a five million dollar budget deficit knocking at the schoolhouse door, big changes are underway. Because this tribe gets the double-whammy–four kids in the system and a primary breadwinner employed by the system–the handwriting is on the wall.

It’s time for us to move on. The tidal wave is coming, and we’re seeking higher ground.

In so many ways, this is a good and powerful move for our family. Chris is finishing his doctoral dissertation and scouring the higher ed market for a professorship that will enable him to begin creating the public education reform that so desperately needs to be created. He is a pontificator and a “Big Idea” guy at heart–the classroom is where he belongs. He’s an inspired teacher, an outside-the-box thinker who is wholeheartedly and passionately devoted to empowering and educating our youth. He is going where he belongs.

And as for us? Sam, Gus, Mary Claire, George, and me? We belong together. The six of us. Wherever we land.

Does moving break my heart in a million different ways? Yes.

Am I excited about the possibilities of new adventures and experiences? Yes.

Some days, the excitement wins. Some days, the sadness wins.

Indiana is the only home I’ve ever known. My family is here. My friends are here. My history is here. My heart is here. Leaving all that behind is too overwhelming to even think about in its entirety. I’m approaching it bit by bit by bit, biting off only the tiniest pieces so I can chew and digest them without losing my lunch.

My kids are alternately excited and apprehensive. The possibility of new experiences is alluring; the fear of the unknown, a bit paralyzing.

Sam wonders what will happen if things end up being “bad.” When I ask him to define what “bad” means to him, he isn’t sure. He’s just worried about what might be “bad.”

“What if things end up good?” I ask. “Have you ever heard of the glass being half-full instead of half-empty? What if we choose to create our own happiness wherever we are?”

And he shrugs and walks away, still a bit uncomfortable in his own teenage skin. He’ll begin high school in a brand new place. I understand how daunting that is. But I remind myself–and him–that he’s a good, easy-going kid. He’s smart, he’s athletic, he’s charismatic, and–darn it–people like him. His location does not determine his success. He does.

Gus is ready to go. He’s excited about the change, about creating whoever it is he wants to be. And as long as we move to a state that hasn’t banned the sale of Doritos, he’s onboard.

Mary Claire laments leaving her friends behind. I find little heartbreaking “goodbye” notes scattered throughout her bedroom. So we constantly encourage her to share her feelings and remind her of the friends she has yet to meet and make.

“What about Sally in South Dakota?”

“Or Tina in Tennessee?”

“Or Cathy in California?”

“Or Molly in Michigan?”

Our goofy antics make her turn down “The Rose” and smile through her tears, and I have to remind myself of Jenny’s words of wisdom: “Guess what? You get to have friends in abundance, everywhere you go. You get to keep your friends here and make new ones there. You get to live in abundance, always.”

George wants to know why we have to keep talking about it all the time. “Why do we have to talk about how we’re going to have sad days, and then we’re going to have an adventure, and then we’re going to have sad days, and then we’re going to have an adventure?! Seriously, can I just have some ice cream?”

But we talk–albeit ad nauseum at times–because we want our kids to know that change is scary and exciting all at once and that our emotions will run the gamut and that feeling a thousand different feelings during this process is normal and expected and okay and that facing unknown challenges will strengthen our character and bring us closer together and that in the end, all will be well.

And I truly believe in my heart of hearts that all will be well. Perhaps even better.

But then I think about who I’m going to share spinach and artichoke dip and book reviews with when Mary is not around…

and who I’m going to laugh until I cry with when Andi is five states away…

and who I’m going drink red wine with and bare my soul to when Jenny is no closer than a phone call…

and who is going to meet me at Panera when Nicole and Liz can’t swing the 10-hour drive…

and who I’m going to cheer for the Colts with when Kristie’s seats are filled with Indy locals…

and who is going to bring me Coffee Mate goodness when Brian’s territory doesn’t quite reach all the way across the country…

and who I’m going to order a Keoke coffee (with an extra shot of Kahlua) for when my mom is home in Greenfield…

And then I have to stop thinking and Simply Be.

Because I know who will be with me.

Sam. Gus. Mary Claire. George. Chris. Even stinky Maggie and Lucy, my lazy, work-from-home compadres.

And I know that no matter how many miles separate us, Jenny will still yell, “WHAT?!” when she answers my phone calls and Shmee will still send me snarky emails and Amy will still be my biggest cheerleader and Jocey will grow up and know that her Beautiful Great Aunt Katrina loves her from miles away and the irreplaceable long-distance friendship I have with Jody will be a model for all my other vital and life-sustaining relationships.

So many things remain the same in the face of change.

And I give thanks for the modern technologies–the Internet, Skype, Facebook, email, text, mobile… (That almost sounded like an ExactTarget ad, didn’t it?)–that will allow me to remain connected with those I must leave behind (physically, maybe, but never, ever emotionally). And I will relish the days when I can drive (or fly) home to wrap my arms around those whose lives are irrevocably intertwined with mine. When I can feel my friends’ kind and warm hearts beating in time with my own as we hug and hug and then hug some more.

Today is a sad day for me. The lock box is on the door, the yard sign comes tomorrow. Today, there are tears in abundance, tissues in the trash can, and ears that are tired from weeping to my loved ones on the phone. Today, I sit in my grungy old bathrobe eating leftover homemade chicken noodle soup while I enjoy the comforts of home in the home that will soon be someone else’s.

But tomorrow, there are new possibilities, new horizons. Tomorrow, we get to create new lives full of wonder and promise and love.

And abundance. Always, abundance.

Let the adventure begin.

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