Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Home through the years

Well hello there, interworld.

The Emotions. They are all running amok today. I accidentally glanced at my calendar, which is a terrible thing to do when you're in love with the city you're living in, but you can't keep living in it much longer.

I was already in a fragile state, because my little girl's bedroom was empty this morning and although she is a bear in the mornings, it's still so very strange not to have her here.

Alex left yesterday on her class trip to Cazorla, Spain which is a whole 4 hour drive away. We received a text letting us know they had arrived safely, which allowed me to cross off one thing on my prayer list-- leaving only a hundred more.

Some more important than others, as I'm not sure "Please God, give her the wisdom to remember to take showers" is a big-picture concern.

I did not have a whole lot of time yesterday to dwell on her being away, because it was "International Night" at Josh's school and I was running around all day preparing my chili and rice krispie balls* and all of the other little things that were required to help the evening go as planned.

*The Spaniards didn't know they were supposed to be square, so no one was the wiser that I can't even make rice krispie treats look the right way. Win for the home team.

I slipped out of the event around 9:00 to get Derek home and to bed, and imagine my dismay when I pulled out my phone on the bus home and saw that I had missed three calls. THREE. From the same number, which I recognized as a number from the kids' school.

I may have panicked a little bit, until I heard the message. Apparently the school has each child call home to check in.
I felt so bad that I had missed the calls, but it was so loud in the room for the international night that I just didn't hear the phone ringing.

Her voice sounded so little and sweet. Because she's far away.
At home it sounds sassy.

And it was her birthday, and I didn't get to say Happy Birthday one more time!

Fast forward, I gave Derek a fast bath, put him to bed, and settled in on the couch to relax.
Then my phone rang again at 10:30-- It was Alex! Apparently they just keep on trying until they get through.

I asked her why she wasn't in bed, and she answered that they didn't have to go to bed until 10 o'clock which for obvious reasons made no sense. But judging from the noise in the background, it didn't sound like any rules were being enforced.

We spoke just briefly, but it made this mama's heart happy to know that she was safe and having fun and excited to go have a pillow fight.
And I got to say Happy Birthday one more time.

In honor of Alex's 9th Birthday, I shall present you now with a themed photo montage of:
The Many Houses of Alex.

Like many military children, my girlie has been uprooted and transplanted often.

We brought her home from the hospital to this base house at Sheppard AFB, in Wichita Falls, Texas. We had just moved into the house that month, because I enjoy doing exhausting things while very pregnant.

She celebrated her first birthday here, and was a Texan for about a year and a half before our first move.

Our next stop was for Josh's training in the F-15E, at Seymore-Johnson AFB in Goldsboro, North Carolina. We lived in base housing again. We had only one afternoon of snow that winter, but we took advantage of it. Alex turned two in this house.


We left North Carolina for Idaho with our little guy tagging along en utero. We moved into our Idaho house with two weeks to spare before he made his arrival. This is the location that Alex has spent the most time, celebrating her 3rd, 4th, and we just squeezed in her 5th birthday as well before leaving. She attended pre-school here.

Then, because we like to drive cross-country as often as possible, we went back to Goldsboro, North Carolina. This time we rented a house off-base and enjoyed our time in the Maple'hood. Alex had her 6th birthday in this house. Well, technically in Disney World, but this was our house at the time. She went to Kindergarten here, and then we homeschooled first grade.

A little under 2 years later, we were off for our favorite state-side location: Monterey, California. Happy days here! Alex had her 7th birthday and attended a half-year of second grade.

Which bring us to house number 6 for her-- an apartment in Madrid, Spain. Alex has now had her 8th and 9th birthdays here. She attended half of second grade, and will have completed third grade by the time we leave.

Dear Alex,

I can't believe how quickly you're growing, and all the places you've been in your short life! I just want you to know that Daddy and I are so proud of you and how you've handled these frequent changes. I know that it's getting harder and harder to leave friends behind. I wish there was a way for us to make that part easier. It's hard for us, too.
Alex, I know that you didn't want to come to Spain. You didn't want to learn another language. You were scared to go to school here and we shared lots of tears in the first few months. Baby, look at you now! I hope you are as proud of yourself as we are of you. You stuck it out! And now you speak fluently in another language, you've made friends, and you've experienced things most people never have the chance to do.
We'll have your 10th birthday in Alabama, and your 11th somewhere else. But no matter where we are, you'll be "home" for your birthdays because home is family, not a place.

We love you more than you can know, and pray that God will bless you as you grow!
Love, Mama


Joyce said...

This was so sweet, and I can relate on a hundred different levels. One of my girls told me recently their least favorite question is 'where are you from?' Always a challenge to answer : ) But home is where your people are and that much they know.

My oldest is marrying an army doctor, so she's not quite finished moving. She is excited for the adventure ahead, and I think goes in with eyes open, knowing there's pluses and minuses to everything, but it helps if you focus on the pluses. I feel like my girls ex pat years especially have made them ready for their adult lives.

Happy birthday to your lovely daughter! I will be thinking of you as you relocate and leave a piece of your heart on the other side of the world. It stabs a little at first, but calms down into something soft and sweet as the years roll by.

Anonymous said...

So proud of all of you
Love dad

Anonymous said...

Well, you made me cry, again. Now you know how this mama feels when she hears from her far away daughter. Can't wait to see you all in six or so weeks. :)
Love you!

Mindee@ourfrontdoor said...

You're always so upbeat and positive about the nomadic life that you make me wish I had one too. :)