In two months, our family of five will drive away from this sweet home of ours in Great Falls, Virginia, and head west to Washington State. I'm busy preparing for the move, of course, but my mind is flooded with memories and gratitude for the time spent here.
This is the house in which, days after moving into, our first child took her first steps, and to which we brought home our younger two boys after they were born. This is the house of their infancy, babyhood, and early childhood. This is the house at which family and friends brought us dinners when they were newborns, came to celebrate milestones, and shared holiday meals.
They've all learned to pump, catch, hit a ball, and make a snowball in this big yard. They've waded in creeks, look for crawdads, picked up frogs and turtles, jumped from snakes in these woods. They've skinned their knees, gotten mosquito bites, and cried from lack of sharing, apologizing, and turn-taking more times than I can count.
When I drive down the dirt road from our house and turn towards "the village," as the downtown of our suburban town is called, into the broader community of Great Falls, and there is a whole other level of people and places to miss: At the ubiquitous Starbucks where I've had millions of conversations with other moms--gabbing and gossiping, sure, but also sharing insights and swapping heart ache...listening to and understanding each other often better than our spouses can.
At Great Falls park with the waterfall that named our town, I've run hundreds of times up and down the trails, pounding out the frustrations that came with this phase in life. I ran off pregnancy weight and ran through newborn exhaustion. I trained for races or ran for sanity. For some unknown reason, I think of my best friend's ex-husband in one uphill on the River Trail and whenever I run over this spot, I think of how he hurt her by leaving, and I hate him all over again.
At the library, my kids and I have checked out thousands of books and they dove into what I hope is a lifelong joy of reading. My timid middle child learned to play chess in the chess club, my youngest read books to a dog, and my oldest buried herself in whatever topic was burning in her brilliant young mind. The head librarian jokes that circulation will be cut in half after my kids and I move.
This place had been good to me. It's been good for me, and for my family. I'm filled with gratitude for our time here as I slowly pack up our life here.