Thursday, June 24, 2010

time marches on

We moved to San Diego in 1994 to attend graduate school. Some might say we became bona-fide adults in San Diego. We landed our first full-time jobs and established our careers in San Diego. We established credit and bought our first home in San Diego. We've made a number of strong friendships that I hope will last a lifetime. All of that here... in San Diego.

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.


  1. Memories of the wonderful past and so many more memories to make in the future. I've been thinking about the whole time going too fast thing a lot lately too, when did I get closer to 40 than 20? Where did all this gray hair come from? How can my first-born, my baby, be starting kinder? It seems time just slips away. Things will be great after the move, because you will have your family, and that is all you really need to make the memories. ((Hugs))

  2. So very true!
    Such precious memories of your life in San Diego, but I'm imagining equally precious memories yet to be made in your new home. ((hugs)) to you as you reflect on what has been and "Cheers!" to your exciting future!!

  3. Awww... you made me cry. You nailed it on the head. Again. Best of luck with everything.

  4. This is such a beautiful post. Change, especially in your children, is so bittersweet. The only thing that stays the same is: everything changes.

    Good luck!

  5. Jen, I can so relate. We are already out of the house where we brought our twins home and are in the midst of yet another move, just as you are. Sometimes life seems to move at lightening speed! -Karen

  6. Nice post Jen. I know that this blog is for you, Charlie and the kids but I think it's so nice that WE, your readers, are able to appreciate your memories you bring through great talent of writing. Although I can imagine how tough it is to leave. I'm really looking forward to seeing you guys more our neck of the woods!

    Funny thing but while reading this post I had flashbacks of my own children, especially James. Remember? He's now 21 and trying to figure out the next chapter in his life. He told me that he called you yesterday to ask for some advice. Thank you so much for taking the time.

    GREAT!! Here I go again! Now I'm in tears!!! Love, Marg.

  7. I love this post! You are so right, time goes by so fast. Good Luck on your move. We moved this past December and it we love our new place. We miss the old place and our friends there but we have so many good memories.

  8. I could have written almost every line of this blog post. From the 5 year old swimming all day memories to longing to fill that empty room with a child and finally the sadness and nostalgia of moving away from the house I brought my 3 boys home to in San Diego. We're in Dallas now and while the move was scary and a little sad our new adventures have been so wonderful. Yours will be too. And I can't wait to hear all about them! Good luck, Jen.

    michellev (babysteps)

  9. Ohhh...this post makes me cry. My almost three-year old and my almost one-year old are growing too fast. And here I am debating on being broke and staying home with them, or continuing to work and secure a financial future for them. SO DO NOT KNOW what is best. But posts like this make me think I should be at home.


    Why does all of this sound oddly familiar on this blog? LOL...

  10. Moving is very hard. We are in the middle of the same thing.. though a smaller distance- still a great change. I hope that everything goes smooth and the transition is easy for all of you.

  11. Jen, this is so thoughtful and beautiful. My tears flowed. I am having a bit of a rough patch in my life and this is just what I needed. Also, I admire you SO MUCH for going on to the next adventure life has for you. I can't wait to hear what life is like "back east." [I have lived in the same house in Huntington Beach for 31 years!]

  12. Oh Jen, what a tear jerker even though we've never met I feel that California will have a whole in it where you, Charlie and the gang belong.

    Good luck on your move. Can't wait to see pictures of the new house, hear about the new job and how the Trips like school.

    My blessings go with you on your new journey.

  13. Thank you for this. Your words really touched me tonight. I'm awe-inspired that you're able to make such deep, thoughtful posts in the midst of what must be craziness.

  14. Such precious memories; what a beautiful, bittersweet post!