And now, we are drawing to a close on this chapter of our lives.
We are leaving behind our first home, as a married couple. The wonderful home where we brought four children in to the world, and in my opinion, lost one. We are leaving behind our doctors and dentists and neighbors and friends and church and grocery store.
We are moving on.
Charlie is out of town for a few days on business and I've been with the children during the day. It's been a very sweet time for me, spending this quiet time alone with the kids and I've been very reflective on just how fast time goes.
Everyday, I've been taking the children to play in our community pool and everyday, it seems like just yesterday, I was their age. I clearly remember being five-years-old and spending long summer days in the pool. I remember swimming until my eyes were blood shot and my entire body was pruned. I remember having a deep tan, despite being coated in sunscreen, and having a slight glow of sunburn on my nose and cheeks. I remember taking breaks from swimming only to eat whatever food was provided for me, and I remember feeling like I haven't a single care in the world. I remember when I was my children's age and I looked at my parents as invincible.
Now, I'm the grownup.
And I'm not sure where the time has gone.
My father has been in an assisted living facility for over a year and my mother is recovering from her second knee replacement. My hair is turning gray and I'm getting wrinkles. Sure, it makes sense that everyone has grown older. But it surprises me how fast it has happened.
Tonight, between that span of time from dinner to bedtime, I was thinning out books from our bookshelves and packing up pictures from our wall.
That's when it struck me. We are actually leaving San Diego. We are leaving our home for the past 13 years. The decision has been made. The plan has been set in motion. It's becoming more obvious that we're moving because the walls are beginning to look more barren and our garage more full. And it rattles me. Because I know that there is no coming back. Even if we decide in a year or so time to return to California, there is virtually no chance that we would ever return to this home, or to this life that we have established.
This life, as we know it, is about to come to an end. We're leaving California. Our children are starting school. I've accepted a new job. Everything is about to change - dramatically.
While I stood there reflecting, the children were busy doing what they do.
William was dressed as an explorer with his little mismatched brother following him everywhere he goes (with one hand on his pants, as he always does, to hold them up).
Elizabeth discovered a book of paper dolls and was contentedly sitting and swapping out various outfits. Carolyn was sprawled out in her brother's new shark pajamas reading a stack of Berenstain Bear books.
Our children have grown so much in this house and I hope that they have warm memories of what a wonderful place this has been to live. I certainly have my own collection of memories.
Memories of looking at the empty room in our home with longing that it might one day be filled with a crib. Memories of when it was.
Memories of when I could hardly move, while pregnant with the triplets, watching the green digits on our microwave clock wondering if my body would make it to the birth, or pop open in the kitchen.
Memories of when our three newborns laid about like larvae, swaddled in blankets.
Memories of when I had three highchairs lined up in a row across the kitchen.
Memories of when my babies learned to roll over, crawl, walk, climb and RUN.
Memories of when I had another precious newborn.
Memories of when I was stepping over toys, debating what could I get rid of next and wondering how we'd survive another day in a small space. Memories of taking a conference call from one room, while the children played in another.
There were some days that I thought would surely never end.
But they did.
Those simple moments from earlier tonight have already passed.
Now the children are in bed asleep. Their hair and teeth have been brushed, their faces washed. They are cuddled up with their favorite stuffed animals and dreaming about the things we have planned tomorrow. When they wake up, they will be older. Indiscernible to the average eye, but I'll undoubtedly notice something different about them.
These years that we have been in this home, have without question, been the best years of my life and our departure is bittersweet. Because while I know that there are wonderful adventures that lay ahead, I will miss this place.
But isn't that just how life goes?
Chapters begin and chapters end. One phase transitions to the next. All of these chapters are what make up our life and it is for that reason it is so important to take time and savor each one. Because although it might seem like you are on a single track with no end in sight, eventually, there will be a shift.
Eventually, things will change.
And when they do, all you will have are the memories.