Saturday, December 10, 2011

Good-bye, Hampton Roads. Hello, Richmond.

We have moved.

To Richmond.

Loaded and unloaded all the Big Stuff into the new house.

There's so much more to cram in those white spaces of sentences.  But that's the main gist.

We have spent the last week or so winding down life.  So many "lasts."  Last day of SEE co-op.  Last Air and Space class.  One more day at Tuesday co-op and then we really-and-truly close the book on this chapter of our life.  

My misty-eyed self telling all these wonderful persons "thank you" for all they've done for my babies.  Gawd, we are saying good-bye to so much goodness.

In-laws have been here the last week...saving our sanity, packing up bits and bobs, letting me sleep off my mid-week sickies, tiring out our children for us, and generally being amazing human beings.

And now they are gone, and we're sitting in our nearly-empty Williamsburg home.  Camping cots and a few days of clothes, just sitting on a pile on our floor. 

For all our life-chaos in the last 5 years, there's been a thread of stability that we just cut.  We've bounced between homes and covered oodles of addresses, but we kept the core of people in our life.  We've been with the co-ops for several years now.  And while the mileage between friends kept shifting, we have maintained friendships for up to 5 years. 

For the first time since our move from Chicago, we are starting over.   

I crave change...thrive on change...feed my soul from newness and novelty.  But there's still a twist in my heart when I think about "walking away" from all we've built here.  So many memories...so much joy and friendship.

This isn't a cross-country move.  Meeting people halfway means only an hour drive for both parties.  Andrea is already coming to Richmond in January, and we'll have S and E all day for the kids to play together.  

We're not saying good-bye to the people forever.

But we are saying good-bye to the life we created here.

We drove by the kids' new co-op schools today.  Athenian Academy for the boys, preschool for Simone.  My children all inherited (or were trained) in the art of loving newness, so they were so excited to see their new place.  Wondering about the new friends they'd make.  

It's going to be good.  I know it is.  But trading in our Hampton Roads life for the one ahead of us does give me pause.  I'm feeling sentimental and reflective. I vacillate between the urge to duck out without saying good-bye, and wanting to give creepy-long hugs and cry.  

Yeah, I'm cool like that.

I could fill an entire post on grieving the fact that I'm moving away from the Lost Boys' families, and the newest refugees don't understand enough English to really know that I'm moving away.  

Simone tells me I'm "Santa for the Sudanese" because maybe Santa doesn't speak Sudanese?  And suddenly, these families will be cut off from this pipeline I've created for them.  I've scrambled and doubled my efforts to get all their basics lined up before the move, but really, their level of starting-from-scratch need is an abyss.  [Still seeking a microwave for one family, so if you know of one, you will help me sleep better at night.]

But in opening this space, I'm giving others the chance to come in and experience what I've experienced.  To meet the families, feel the importance of their life stories, and open their world in a completely new way.  If I stayed here and hogged all that goodness, that seems a bit selfish of me.  

My mission, in large part, has been to spread the awareness of the Lost Boys to my friends in the area.  Yolonda turned to me while we were shoe shopping with the teen Sudanese girls, and said: "I am in love!"  They spoke little-to-no English and she saw the complicated part of caring for them.  Finding size 11 shoes they liked, without really having any direct communication other than charades.  But she still "got it."

I completely understand. 

So maybe this is how it's supposed to work.  I've done what I can do.  I created the network and now have to trust that it's okay to keep moving forward in our lives.  New persons will fill in the gaps I leave, and there are more Lost Boys in Richmond who need me.  

And these friendships we've formed are still there.  Just different.  But we've opened up a space in our life for new ones to come in.