Monday, June 22, 2009

Signing Off for Now

I've been wondering why I'm losing sleep over politics and government. It's been annoying me. The past few days I've been reminded that when I'm afraid, I get angry. There aren't many things that I'm afraid of, so when fear does creep its way into my mind and heart, it can wreak havoc. I loathe fear. All the reasons why are a post for another day. Last week, it became crystal clear to me that my fear manifests itself as anger. And who better to fuss about than politicians and journalists? But, it's not so much politics, government, the media's blithering or their irrational, obsessive love-fest with our Celebrity in Chief that's the cause of my sleepness nights. It's not really even anger keeping me up at night. What it all boils down to is fear.

It's the upcoming move. I'm afraid to move again. Sounds ridiculous for a girl who's moved 8 times in 16 years to suddenly be afraid of move number 9, doesn't it? Ridiculous as it may be, I'm afraid. And I can sum it all up in just 2 simple words: my children. Let's start from the beginning, shall we?

Victoria: This upcoming September 25, my daughter would have turned 13. With each move, in some ways, I face her death all over again. Obviously it isn't with the excruciating intensity and sorrow of a recent loss, but it's there...a silent, painful rip at my heart. It actually makes my chest hurt. I dread the first walk into church, school, wherever. People believe they are seeing my family. No one knows my oldest child is missing, that my family portraits are incomplete. And, do they even care? No. Because they don't know to care. How can anyone know? They make simple, benign statements. Something like: "Oh, these must be all of your children."
Cue the knots in my stomach and lump in my throat. Cue the screaming in my head (because my heart is yelling up to my brain that it's forgetting someone): "No, these are not all of my children. I have another child, I have another child."
But, once again, the brain will beat the heart as I reply: "Yes, these are my children."
I can't really explain it. All I can think of is that it might be like you introducing your children to new people, you acknowledge all but one. But not only do you ignore the one, you also pretend the child doesn't even exist. Because if you don't play the pretend game, everyone wants to run out of the room since you've made them all so uncomfortable.

I fear facing the loss of my daughter again. I fear the moments when my heart and head battle it have four children...just say you have have four children....just say you have three.

Next, we have Eleven Year Old: He will be leaving wonderful friends. I have shed countless tears, in the privacy of my closet, over the past week. This past Friday was my boys' last day of school. My heart ached as my oldest son barely made it through the door and into the living room before the tears began to freely flow. He knows he will make new friends. He knows this is just one more great adventure....his head knows, but his heart is taking a beating.

He has four of the greatest friends a mother could wish her kids to have. These four boys are sports fanatics, athletes to the core. My son is not. He can play sports, but he doesn't really love it. He plays basketball with them at recess, not because he necessarily loves to play, but because he appreciates their interests. And they in turn, appreciate his. My child is an artist, a writer, an actor. These boys made it a priority to show up at art shows and contests, making sure Eleven Year Old always felt supported. One mother cried as she said to me last week: "He has taught our boys that it's totally cool to write stories and draw. There is life beyond sports." Of course, I cried as I responded: "But your boys have taught him it's ok for him to just be himself, and that it's completely cool to be a little different."

My son had a truly amazing teacher this year. Mr.Thompson changed Eleven Year Old's life in a dramatic way. He taught my child life lessons stretching far beyond the academics. He insisted that my boy stay true to himself, to stand up for what he believes in, and to be proud of who he is. When my son started a petition requesting "free seating" at lunch, a few teachers tried to shoot down the idea. They told him he couldn't do it. But, my son's teacher stepped in and asked why. Here was a child trying to make a difference in a school of over 800 elementary kids. And, he was doing so in a most respectful, thoughtful way.

Mr.Thompson encouraged my son to do what he thought was right, and to never be afraid. Because of his support, my son found the courage to keep going with the petition. He even went to the office and requested a meeting with the principal. It worked, and the kids got their free seating. This may seem like no big deal, but it made a difference in my son's life.

I fear we've used up our good karma. I am scared that my "a little different" artist son may not find friends like he has here...especially as we venture back to the South, where baseball is king. I fear that my child may never have another teacher like his 5th grade teacher. I'm afraid of middle school, especially middle school in a new place.

And then there's Seven Year Old: This kid loves life. He is as laid-back and go-with-the-flow as any boy can be. Often, he acts before thinking things through. He is rowdy and silly, but has a tender little heart. He cried on the last day of school also. I can see that he's a little nervous about moving, but doesn't want to admit it. He had a fantastic teacher this year too.

I fear we won't be so blessed in the teacher department next year. Maybe we've used up our fabulous teacher credits. And this boy needs a loving and patient teacher. One that is equal parts firm and caring.

And last, but not least, Princie: We've made such progress with her. She'll be starting Kindergarten in the fall. We are leaving people who already know and love her. A school community that was happily looking forward to her arrival.

I fear the move is going to throw us back to where we were 2-3 months ago. And I won't lie, I am terrified. I don't want to go back there! It was painful and heartbreaking and beyond exhausting. I fear we won't find people so willing to help her, so willing to love her.

That's it, in a nutshell...albeit a very big nutshell. It's fear. And I loathe fear. But, in the midst of the fear (if I take a moment to be still), I have glimpses of peace and comfort. Reminders that
I'm not completely alone. Last week, Misc.&Etc. posted about fear. And, if you don't already know, Snarky Mama FINALLY posted on her blog. HOORAY! Her first post? All about fear. She & I never discussed any of this.

Then I received this beauty from
Seraphim...a reminder that no matter where I go, no matter how many people don't know....someone, somewhere, does know...and is remembering my child. I'm not too proud to admit my emotions are running high lately. No surprise this made me cry. It's so beautiful. Thank you Seraphim, thank you.

The movers will be here in just three days. So, I'm signing off for now. I won't be back until I am moved and can find the computer; although, I could hijack Eleven Year Old's laptop if necessary. And while I'm gone, I'll be fighting the fears.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 4:6-7



RitterB's said...

Nat, I know the "fear" thing... Been there. Walk in it a lot lately. I want to share a thought with you that has been shared with me. "Did you know that peace is the only emotion that Satan can't duplicate? He's got love and happiness down pat. He can fool you into believing just about anything, but peace, well, he can't touch it." As I read your post the reminder to "Be Still and Know that I am God" ran through my mind. Be Still my sweet friend. Fear Not. I know 11 year old... he is good to the core. Friends will find him. I bet 7 year old will LOVE his teacher this year! And you need to remember.... Victoria and Princie... well, they spent some time together a few years back. I believe older sisters, who have past on before their baby sisters have a special bond. She'll be there to help Princie in time of need. I know this...
I love you... May this move be swift. Prayers of "Peace" coming your way!

Lanie said...

I will be praying for you and your family. Keep holding on! The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you.

I pray you will find a peaceful heart in all that you are going through. I cannot imagine some of the pain as I have not gone through things such as the loss of a child, but I can still pray because God knows all of it and he loves you!


Sue said...

Of course you're afraid! Moving is BIG!! When Dave and I moved to Northern California, we had a third grader, a fifth grader, a middle schooler, and a high schooler. They were doing well, and they were happy. And they were sad to move. It broke my heart saying good-bye to their (and our) wonderful friends. I asked myself if we were crazy even considering leaving a place where we had been loved so well. I had second thoughts. And third thoughts. And fourth thoughts, too.

But we had prayed about the move. And when we had prayed, we had known what to do. So we pushed forward on faith, like you're doing. And we were scared. And sad. And it was okay.

I'm not saying it wasn't hard when we got there, because it was. Our family struggled a bit that first year. And you know what? The struggle brought us closer. And made us reach out to other people, especially members of our new ward who became loving and supportive friends to us more quickly than we'd expected, because we bypassed some of the formalities out of need.

19 years later, the whole family knows it was the right thing. We knew it then, too. But we were scared. And sad. And it was okay. In fact, it was good.

with love and hugs to all of you,


jen said...

I've tread this path of fear a lot lately, and it doesn't really get you anywhere.
I understand the dilemma in telling people how many children you have, and it's just awkward no matter what.
And I have a few of those difficult kids myself.
But the only thing that really helps is to remember that they're His children, too, and He wants whats best eternally for them. All we can do is pray to be the moms that they need. And you're succeeding in this.
Best of luck in the move, and we'll be praying you get settled as easily as possible.

Karen Cole said...

You will make it! We only moved 1/2 a mile away (changed wards and stakes) and it was traumatic - we got to add new friends with old friends. Your move is bigger and a lot more scary but I love what Lanie wrote about the will of God and his Grace. How blessed we are to have prayer and mine are with you and your family as you move to a whole new life.

Hope you unpack the computer right after you find the sheets, towels and a pan for the kitchen. Wish Jen and I could be there to help you unpack - there is nothing better than organizing a new house and we are good at that!


jan said...

Good luck with your move. We did this just 5 months ago so I feel your pain. It was scary and I worried about my kids, but things have slowly been falling into place. I add my "amen" to all the comments about trusting in the answer to your prayers and knowing He will lead you through whatever changes and adventures await you and your family.

SnarkyMama said...

You and I both know the Lord has not carried you this far in this journey to slam you into the wall, now!

Easy for me to say as I sit here with the tears streaming down my face. Maybe some of the "fear" I have had lately was nothing more than a mother's intuition and feeling part of her child's fear. Who knows, odd that we were both on the "fear" page...not really. More like, "no wonder" I was feeling that way.

Your children will be in GA just what they are now. Amazing. I think you give the world way too much credit in its ability to shake them and yourself way too little in your's and The Captain's ability to keep them immovable.

They are WHO they are because of their valiant, strong spirits and their equally valiant, strong parents.

The two of you have made 11 year old so well rounded that "good friends" find him.
Victoria will continue to watch and wait for this family she will have eternally, strengthening each of you from the other side of heaven's veil.

7 year old...he will be the light that brightens each of the next few days...reminding you and everyone else of all the "good" in this world.

"Princie"...she has turned the corner. She will have y'all helping her navigate her new paths.

I am reminded of "The Mountain"
(one of my all time favorites..there are several versions, but it goes like this)

They stood at the edge of the mountain.
"Come to the edge" she said.
"I cannot, I am afraid."
"Come to the edge" she said.
"I cannot, I am afraid."
"Come to the edge" she said.
"Will you take my hand, I am afraid."
She reached. She took her hand.
She pushed.....

And she soared..............

You, The Captain, your beautiful children...He will take your hand. This move will push you...

You will soar......I know it.

I love you and I am, oh, so much closer! :)

em said...

umphf, moving. i like the part where i end up getting ride of stuff that's been sitting around in my house, but i hate the packing, the moving, and the unpacking part. then the next two years when you're trying to get everything resituated. but then i love that we moved and i dream of doing it all over again. funny isn't it?

Frosty said...

Natalie ~ I understand your fear. All of it. You have a son ready to enter into Deacons, and another with baptism knocking on his door. And beautiful Princie. I believe this move will provide her with new adventures, for the positive.

As Snarky Mama said, your children (ALL of them!) are wonderful inside and out. It is not by chance this happened; this is the result of hard work from valiant parents! (I'll take a moment for you to take a bow.)

My bet is Victoria is anxious for this move too. Not only will your family be the one making new friends; your new friends will be the BLESSED ones to claim you as a friend. And I believe as the story of your WHOLE family is made known, lives will be blessed. All the while, Victoria is smiling from above.

Enjoy this chapter of your life. I know great things are to come.

Mommy (You can call me OM) said...


First, I want you to know I got your beautiful email and I've been meaning to respond. All I can come up with right now is 'thank you.' I love you too.

Second, I wish I could take the fear away for you and tell you it will all be OK. We both know I can't do that. But, I will tell you that just as there are no guarantees for a smooth road in your new town, there were never guarantees in your current town. Even if you stayed where you are, there's nothing that says everything would remain pleasant. I'm certainly not dismissing your fears and concerns for your children's well being. I cannot imagine the emotions you feel. I know you are a wonderful mom who will ensure this move goes as smoothly as possible.

Peace, my friend.

KC Mom said...

I can feel my own stomach cinching up just reading this. For every time I had to start over in life, I think of your sweet family and the feelings you are going through and it makes me wish there was something I could do.
It's easy for me to say that 11 year old will make new and amazing friends and that 7 year old will now how have Georgia's most amazing teacher. And that Princie will grow and thrive in her new home but I know how hard it is and how sad it is to leave good behind too. I can say, I know that fear well.
I'm excited for your new future. And now I can say after moving 36 times in my life...that it was all for my good and it was all in the Lord's hands. And I think I turned out relatively...or mildly okay. :)
Love you and will be thinking about you. You have a wonderful guardian to help you get through. She and the Lord can help your fear be gone.
"Let your heart not be troubled". His peace comes not as the world gives but it comes.

Shauna said...

I don't blame you! I loath change and moving is huge. I know that hard as it is going to be, this is such an exciting time for you and your family. I remember you and I talking about how you could hardly wait until you could own your own home....and NOW you do. Take a deep breath and remember that although this is hard for you to leave...the fact that it is hard means you have met people who no matter the distance have made an ever lasting impression on you and your family. Girl you always come out on the other end, and your stronger every time. Enjoy the journey and don't let fear rob you of the joy that is going to come from this new adventure. All my prayers and love Shauna

karen said...

I don't know why we're always so afraid of change, but we are. Everything will be fine. It may be different, but it will be just what you all need. I've found (after moving with 3 little kids all by myself) that no matter where you go, people are very kind. They'll be happy to be your kids' friends, and they'll be honored to hear about Victoria. All you have to do is be yourself and let them in. Wishing you all the best in your move - and I know you'll all be just fine. And Snarky Mama is way closer!

McAtee Family said...

I have no eloquent words of advice - just know that I love you and will be thinking of you!

Rachel T. said...

Good luck on the move, you have reason to fear, but I pray that it will all work out for the best. You and your family will be welcomed where you are going, you are lovable people and everyone won't be able to help but to flock to you with open arms. Soon you will be wondering to yourself why there was even fear to begin with. The fear will soon be replaced with calmness. You will be missed while you are gone.

Krystyn said...

I hope the move goes well. I can't imagine moving so often..and the with kids, and trying to fit in and explain things to new people all over again. It has to be tough.

Your faith being in the right place, as it is, will definitely help!

Laretha said...

Nat, I just read this...a bit behind. This is a long comment so prepare yourself. :-)

I could say "I know..." but I don't. I am crying as I read and as I type. I just want to put my arms around you and cry with you.

You are a child of the King of Kings, you are His Girl, you are loved by the God who spoke the universe into being, He loves you with an everlasting love. You are NEVER alone! Never. You are more than a conquerer - you are a warrior. It is who you are. It is what and WHO is in you.

A while ago I read a book by Holly Wagner title Warrior Chicks. I am going to her conference (God Chicks) the end of this week.

Here is an excerpt from the chapter "Braveheart"...

It is not that bravehearts don't ever feel fear. We do.

In living life on the earth we will encounter fear.

Fear of failure.
Fear of defeat.
Fear of the future.
Fear of the unknown.
Fear of the "what ifs"
Fear of people.
Fear of death.

Fear is debilitating.

Fear can stop us in our tracks.

Fear can keep us from fulfilling our purpose.

Fear is the ultimate weapon of the enemy as he seeks to prevent us from fulfilling our mission.

In all it's forms fear must be conquered.

Every hero of the Bible encountered fear and every one of them who praised their God destroyed the fear. When they lifted their hands and voices to the great I AM.

Great warriors know that their first response in any battle is to worship God.

Fear is destroyed when we lift our voice to the King.

Keeping our focus on God destroys fear.

Natalie you have an assignment. You are to go where you are called. To face your fear head on and focus on the God who loves you and created you for such a time as this. There are other women and children who need you in the south. They need your courage.

I pray for courage to rise up in you. I pray that God will go before you and prepare the way, that there will be divine appointments for you to pour into others and others to pour into you and your family. I pray for a hedge of protection around you and your family and that no weapon formed against you will prosper. I pray that God is beginning to prepare the school and the teachers for your children. That the kids will be placed with the perfect teachers and surrounded by loving, accepting friends. I pray that Princie will be surrounded by faculty that know exactly what to do to help her succeed. I pray that peace will cover her as she transitions. I pray that you will find the courage to tell others about Victoria as you are lead to - others that need to know because they need your courage to see them through their own pain. I pray your boys will find great friends and teachers who will believe in them and give to them and welcome them. I pray that they will be the kind of friend they have been blessed to have.

Natalie, you are brave, you are courageous, you are a warrior. You can do this with courage and with grace. I know you can. I believe in you.

Hugs and Love,

Kristen said...

Oh God Bless you!! My heart just ached as I read your post. I don't know the details about everything but I am praying for you! Just remember God will be there with you!

Gretchen said...

Wow - amazing that you are able to get to the root of your fear. I bet this felt SO good to get down on "paper". I can imagine the fear as it relates to being in a new place, which has no knowledge of Victoria. That, no doubt, will be difficult, as I realize you've experienced before. I am just thinking of and praying for a smooth move and much strength and openness for you all as you assimilate into the new neighborhood, schools, church, friendship circles, etc. You have so much to offer -- watch out GA! Move aside, fear!

I can't wait to hear how the move goes and to have a peak into your new adventure.

Hugs to you.

caitsmom said...

Your absolutely right, seems that when we boil any of these "negative emotions" what remains is fear. Sending you lots of light to lessen it's grip on you. (And thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such uplifting comments. It is a great comfort.)


Barbara said...

Ah Natalie I want to wrap my arms around you and give you a big hug.

I think you and your wonderful brood will do just fine. I mean really, how could you not? (Very impressed with 11 year olds petition)

I will remember Victoria with you, without her I wouldn't have met you.


TuTu's Bliss said...

I'll miss you. I can not imagine the pain you have felt. I'm here for you even when I don't know what to say. Hugs, Jen

caitsmom said...

Just in to say "hi." Sending thoughts of peace.

Mommy (You can call me OM) said...

My dearest Natalie,

When will you be 'signing back in?' I need some Snarky Belle. I hope the move is going as smoothly as moves can possibly go. :)

Peace, my friend.

Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace said...

I haven't visited in I thought I'd stop by and check on my Snarky friend. My heart was aching as I read your words about the concern you feel for each of your children regarding this move. Especially, your sweet Victoria. I know the dilemma well. And the pain of the "missing place" that goes along with it. And, I also know the fear of change and what it may cause in the life of a child who desperately needs consistency. Please know that I am praying for you as you embark on this next adventure...for all of you. You have a beautiful-mommy heart.

Love to you...

SnarkyMama said...

Hi Snarkettes...hope everyone is doing well. I don't know how many of you will check "comments" and see this, BUT, just in case....

Snarky Belle and the gang are in GA. and so far "loving" it! Their "stuff" was in transit for a couple of weeks between packing, waiting for the movers, unpacking, etc. I don't want to steal one ounce of her thunder so she can fill in the details when she signs back on (hopefully, sooner rather than later!). I, personally, am having withdrawals!~

She seems so very happy...excited...relieved...a number of "good" things. I think she is glad to be closer to home. Something about the South just draws you back. Little Brother went to see her and the new house. He said all of the Captain's hard work and their journey through school, residency, etc. had definitely paid off.

He said the kids seem extremely happy to be in their new home. Papa Snarky and I are headed there very soon.

All said and done, looks like Snarky is going to enjoy being a GA peach....and for me, that is all I can ever ask...that my children are happy. That makes my world good...very good.

On behalf of the Belle...
Peace, Snarkettes, Peace....
Snarky...we miss you!!!!