Sunday, October 17, 2010

Goodbye North Carolina, Hello Colorado!

After almost 8 weeks of packing, cleaning, making arrangements and pulling hair, we were finally ready to get in the van and head west to Colorado. I had seen Mr. LH only once since mid-August (that was for his one whirlwind trip out for our daughter's birthday) and here is was almost mid-October!

I guess that's what can happen in today's economy. One day, the future is looking bright and everything is running smoothly. Then BAM! Your company announces it's shutting down and and your whole world is turned upside-down. At least that's what happened to us. Mr. LH had been finishing grad school while I kept the bills paid. I loved my job. I loved the people I worked with. We had all the kids in great schools and Elder Boy, our oldest, was getting ready to start his senior year in high school. Our bills were getting paid off. We had a beautiful home on 3 acres that we were slowly fixing up as finances allowed. Everything changed in June 2010.

Once the company closed, I found myself collecting unemployment and realizing how few jobs there were for me in the area. Luckily, Mr. LH had just received his Masters degree in May and was able to scour the country looking for a teaching gig. He was actually able to land his dream job in Denver, Colorado. However, he had one week to move out before the position started. That left me with our 3 children (who were just starting the school year) to pack up everything and get the house on the market.

As one can imagine, there was some tension from the kids about having to leave their friends behind. Our youngest, The Girl, who just turned 7 years old, was actually the most excited about the trip. She was sure she would be able to have a ferret once we arrived and nothing could convince her otherwise. She spent weeks asking if Daddy had found us a house with a fenced in yard (forget trying to explain that a ferret shouldn't be outside in the middle of a Colorado winter).

The Boy, our shy 10-year old son, was reluctant to leave his comfortable routine. It was his last year in Elementary school and his last year in cub scouts. Earning his Arrow of Light award looked like it would be even harder to accomplish if a big cross-country move interrupted things. The prospect of exploring the Rocky Mountains seemed to intrigue him, though. As did the possibility of having fewer pesky mosquitoes around.

The hardest to convince was Elder Boy. I remember being a senior in high school and looking at the possibility of moving out of state. I did NOT take it well. Just the thought of leaving behind the world I had built around myself was scary and I didn't even want to entertain the idea. Thankfully, I didn't have to move back then but I still understood what I was putting my son through.

So here we were, saying goodbye to a state I had called home for 30 years of my life, family that lived just a short drive away, close friends who had been with me for about as long as I had lived in the state and others whom I had grown to cherish in far less time, and a house I loved and put much time and effort into making into a home for all of us. I didn't mind starting over too much. It was the people and the sights and the smells I didn't want to forget.

I felt an incredible amount of sorrow at leaving all my flowers behind; My hydrangea I planted at seasons end that proved to get bigger and more beautiful with each passing year. The irises given to us by one of Mr. LH's high school students. The peonies I babied from the moment I placed them in the ground. The dozens of azalea bushes, astilbes, and the huge, leafy hostas. When Spring and Summer came, everything would burst into bloom and color the entire yard.

Even though I knew I would miss all of this, I was excited (and practically in a rush) about moving to Colorado. I missed Mr. LH and I wanted to get everyone settled as quickly as possible. My birthday was coming up, as was Halloween and I didn't want to spend either surrounded by boxes in an otherwise empty house or driving across the country packed like sardines in the van. So we were to a new place to experience a different culture, new foods, new people, new begin a new life.

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