Saturday, May 26, 2012

Words To Live By

"The life which is not examined is not worth living."

It is when we are in the midst of a major life change that it is good to remember what has bought us to this point.  It is so easy to get caught up in the necessities of making changes and quickly forget about the joys we have known, just the way we were. Right now my little family and I are in the throws of a move.  We're packing up our home of the past (almost) ten years and moving on. In one weeks time we will be walking through the front door of a new house in a new town, ready to start the next chapter of our lives.  It is so timely for us, so much what we need, and we are so excited.

As with any move, there are always elements of the life you leave behind that hold such powerful memories...good and bad.  For me, I'll  be glad to move on from where we are right now. Even though I've watched both my children go from rolling and crawling around our lounge room floor, to climbing the stairs, I'm ready to move on.  I've watched them empty the cutlery draws, play with pots and spoons on my kitchen floor, and press their noses to the back window to get a glimpse of winter's first snow. I am so ready to take these good memories, and walk away from the bad ones. 

I have loved every moment of watching them explore our back yard, draw pictures on our sidewalk, and stretch beyond capacity to open the mail box and collect the mail.  But this house holds harsh memories for me as well. It was here that I first started experiencing those unthinkable and terrifying complications of early pregnancy. I was bed-ridden for weeks in the dark of my bedroom, trying desperately to solicit help with my 3yo daughter while trying to hold onto a doomed pregnancy long enough to make life viable. 

I remember being admitted to a hospital 2 hours away from home for 13 weeks, but only lasting 1week. I remember early one morning, my son was unceremoniously torn from my womb in a blaze of panic and emergency while I was innocently eating breakfast.  He was so tiny that the doctors couldn't find him, they had to pull everything out of my body to search for him.  I remember arriving home from hospital a week later without my child, no longer pregnant, and in shock.  I sat on my couch, my husband had made me a cup of tea, my mother had put her arms around me, having arrived from Australia not long before, and my home never feeling the same again. Nobody expected him to survive and nobody knew what to say.

Over the next six months, I remember my rare visits back home from the hospital, being woken by phone calls from the NICU saying our baby was unlikely to make it through the night and we should get back there as soon as possible.  In the end, I stopped coming home.  I remember watching my husband carry our sleeping daughter in his arms, placing her gently into the car, wrapping her in blankets, as we made the two hour trek back to the hospital in the deep night, hoping that we would make it in time to kiss our baby good-bye.

I remember at last rolling up our driveway after 5 terrifying months in the hospital with our infant son.  I remember juggling apnea monitors, baby carriers, and oxygen tanks as I carried my baby through our front door for the first time.  I remember the welcome home sign that my husbands Aunt Rita had made, and how happy I was to finally be home.

I remember the shock of seeing huge oxygen tanks littered around this house. They stayed for two years!  I remember carrying my infant son back out our front door and into an ambulance to be admitted back into the ICU 4 times in the first 2 years of his life.  I remember sleeping night after night beside my young daughter who was bewildered and confused by the changes her little life had experienced.  

I remember so many joys amidst so many despairs, and the joys prevailing. But still, I'll be glad to leave.  I remember only one year ago, the terrifying storm that tore through our little mid-western town in the wee hours of a mid-summers night. I was woken by the cries of my son. There was a strange silence, the power had gone out, he was afraid of the dark.  I looked out my window and knew in an instant that we were in danger.  My  husband screamed at me to grab our son while he grabbed our daughter.  We ran down the two flights of stairs to our basement as our house was torn apart around us.  I remember emerging for our basement that morning, waiting for my husband to cut the trees away from our backdoor so we could get out.  I remember, it was the day my son was fitted with hearing aids.

I remember the pride and excitement of walking my daughter to her first day of school.  I remember watching her emerge from her bedroom every morning, disheveled and sleepy, but so excited that she finally gets to go to school.  I remember watching her stand against the door in our kitchen, waiting for me to mark her height with a big pink marker, anticipating the distance she had grown from one birthday to the next.  I'm still trying to work out how I can take that door with me! Yes, the good memories far outweigh the bad ones, but still I'll be glad to leave.  

I'm ready to start a new chapter in our lives, in a new town, in a new home.  Closer to my husbands work, a place with more opportunity, more choices, and more to do.  I have one week left here before we move on, and I plan to walk through every inch of this house, consciously packing up my memories so I can take them with me.  But I'll be making room in my life for a host of new memories now, and I honor this house for giving us security, shelter, and a safe home in which to grow. I will remember it fondly!

Thanks for checking in. xx

(This page was done in my Strathmore Recycled Sketchbook. It is Twinkling H2O's over a flat watercolor wash.  Just some flowers I saw in my neighbors garden...I don't know what they were.)