Recently the tides of change have rolled through my life; and a new job, in my home town of Pensacola Florida relocated me from Huntsville Alabama. When I took the job, I left my 16 and 13 year old daughters in Huntsville to finish the school year. Three months without them seemed like it would pass rather quickly when we made all of those decisions and put that plan into motion. In almost all ways, it did go by incredibly fast. What I wasn’t prepared for was missing the end of a school year, the awards, the shows, the final recitals, the last day of school picture that I snap every…. single…. year. The little moments you take for granted.
I was able to go pick them up over Memorial Day weekend, and I’ve had them with me now for two weeks. As soon as I picked them up, I had to go to New Orleans for work, so I took them with me, because I was not ready to part with them again so quickly. Then we spent a long weekend in Orlando, before finally making it to the new apartment so that they could unpack. I know they were tired, cranky, and ready to be settled somewhere. I was feeling it too.
When the weekend rolled around, they both were itching to get out to the beach. We spent the day collecting shells, being goofy, and letting the salt air relax us. The drive home was quiet, except for me pointing to things and saying this or that about it, referencing my childhood. I looked over at Faith, and said, “I am so very thrilled that I get to show you my hometown, and where I grew up,” she snapped back at me, “Yea, well I didn’t grow up anywhere, and I won’t have a home town.”
She stared out the window for what felt like days to me.
My eyes filled with tears. My parents were together my whole youth… guilt punch to my face. My parents didn’t move me around much… guilt punch to the stomach. I wanted nothing more than to give her friends, her school, her house back to her in that moment. When she turned to look at me, her 13 year old eyes full of tears, I started to apologize, but she interrupted.
“No, Mom… no… I am such a jerk. I want to see all of those things. I love being in Florida, I always have. I love your stories about Florida. And I do have a hometown, I am growing up somewhere. I am growing up right here, right beside you. I grow when I am with you. I am so sorry I said that, I didn’t mean it at all. You are where I feel safe and sound.”
I’m staring at her, dumb struck. Because I know her heart is hurting for her boyfriend and friends she has left. Her soccer team. Her grandmother, aunt and cousins. She’s been in Huntsville for 10 years. But I know the words she says are true, because my girls have always been my world. I try to make the best decisions I can, around them, for us. All of the things I have made mistakes on, God granted me so much mercy in the hearts of these two girls. For some reason the movie Inside Out is playing in my mind, and I realize once again that Joy is never alone. “It takes a hole to have a mountain….. Life is wonderful.” (Jason Mraz quote). Meanwhile the sunsets on another glorious Florida day.