I LOVE OCTOBER. SO CLOSE TO THE FINAL PUSH INTO THE POSSIBILITY OF NEW BEGINNINGS FOR THE UPCOMING
The fall air is monumental, last week was the first time I opened the front door to a cool morning, it was heaven! I rushed a sweatshirt on (got a little tooooo excited) and was sweating to death by the time I rode my bike to lunch. Florida still feels like Florida in the daytime heat. What a season it’s been. We moved to the Florida panhandle (30A) on Wednesday, May 20th from Nashville. There began 2.5 weeks of moving trucks, purging, prioritizing, sunscreening, park swinging, ice cream shop scouting and cardboard box overwhelm. How did we accumulate so much stuff as modern day humans? That’s for another post, but I truly was jealous of reading my great great great grandfather’s will who left his children “one silver coffee cup, and 2 quilts”, I’m gonna track down that heirloom letter and post it! Anyway, it was a lot. We arrived here as a divided family, more on that later. My mom, myself and the children came for a four day spring break in March, and never left due to the pandemic, I didn’t want to leave the water. I found more clarity, focus, and calm here. I also found healing here, we had been through wave after wave of personal turmoil and my heart was extremely heavy. So I convinced Chris that maybe he could thrive in a different location than Nashville, we sold the house, found 2 places here, and I blasted “Try Everything” by Shakira (never been a huge fan specifically, but I worship that song and lyric!) and it rang loudly in the Uhaul rent a trailer parking lot. Stella and Lillie were in the back of my car packed in like sardines, and Arlo arrived in Daddy’s truck. It was all a whirlwind, but I’m so glad we made the impulsive jump. It was the right time.
We lost my Aunt Loretta (dad’s aunt, his mother figure after he lost his in 1975) on Monday June 9th. I spent a few magical days with extended family, with my mom and dad (divorced since 1987, but always harmonious thanks to her grace) and my little sister Katie, along with her 2 children, Audrey and Beau. We attended Aunt Loretta’s funeral on a Thursday. Katie was standing in front me in her beautiful black, flowing outfit and we were laughing about who was going to keep our wild children during the service, she stood there for a little longer than usual and gave me the biggest smile before the funeral began. Completely still and looking at me, probably only 3 seconds, but it’s the polaroid I keep going back to in my head. She was so radiant and full of life in that moment. Who would have every dreamed in a million years that 7 days later, almost to the same hour, her funeral procession would begin. I don’t have enough emotional fortitude to go into that at this moment, but I spent the next 6 weeks in Paris, TN to be near all the shattered hearts, most importantly my dad, her husband, her babies. We left on Sunday August 2nd to head back down south. After a long and winding road spending a great deal of emotional energy trying to figure out where to live after the accident (a novel essay on that later) we came back here where my babies were already enrolled in school, the socks were in the drawers, the toddler drawings were on the fridge, and the teapot was on the stove. It was settled, and that’s what I desperately needed. I also told Chris I couldn’t deal with the emotional logistics of 2 houses and 3 kids switching off every 48 hours (we were separated when we arrived here) and that as long as we found peace and calm, I needed all under one roof to emotionally survive the next few months. So we did that. Working through cobwebs sometimes, and others just sitting in the gratefulness of healthy babies, a school they can attend, and the opportunity to hold these precious souls inside our arms at night. Something as small as the morning light, even if it’s gray and muted, gives me serenity after this season. Because it’s an opportunity, another day. And hopefully another night. Jesus has been close this season, Jeni’s ice cream (savannah buttermint flavor to be exact) has also. And old friends. And the ability to laugh has returned. Along with thankfulness that Katie’s husband, Tyler, miraculously survived that terrible accident without any major injury, and is showing up for the children in such a brave and incredible way.
I don’t remember what I was writing about at first, I’ll have to scroll up and read it. Anyways, so many stories inside the stories. Fall is here, I’m so thankful for this season. Mama turned 70, Stella turned 6, my niece Audrey turned 3, and I turned 39 and-a-half. I noticed it this year simply because this little half I have left is leading me straight into 40! Whites Mercantile holiday orders are ramping up, my fridge stock is dwindling, and I’m getting a bit shaky thinking I only have 4 hours left to do all the things before school pickup. Really glad I took the time for some words this morning, feeling lighter. If I don’t write the words in my head down I get all tight feeling on the inside, kind of like hard rubber. Here’s to beginnings this month! And finding the new normal after our world was just rocked in such a tragic way. See below for some of our bright spots from the whirlwind of the last few months are below…
OUR LAST PICTURE TOGETHER IN TROY, ALABAMA
ONE DAY BEFORE THE ACCIDENT
Aunt Jean, Hilary, me, Aunt Lycrecia, Katie, her daughter Audrey and her son Beau hanging onto her, and my daddy
We tried to provide as much fun as possible in the midst of all this! Lillie Mae even made an outfit made out of paper towels hahahaha
Time with family by the pool gave them a sense of normalcy while we were living in Paris, Tn. A friend of mine once said “just add water” whenever your kids are struggling, the Paris pool was our saving grace! There was nothing better than seeing her children full of laughter on those sweet, sweet days…