A year ago, today, we woke up in Sacramento for the very last time. We’d spent the night at the Melvin’s house, which was appropriate since they hosted us on our first night in Sacramento, and I tossed and turned with dreaded anticipation of the morning, nostalgic about how we’d arrived in 2006 with a tiny moving van and no money, and we left with a much bigger moving van, two children and handfuls of rich memories.
Our years in Sacramento went so fast, but also so slow. They were hard and good years, stretching and beautiful; full of change and growth and the unexpected. Our final days and weeks were no different. The move to Santa Barbara came suddenly, and it was sandwiched between weaning Owen, taking a new job, and saying goodbye to my Grandpa Frank, who died on moving day. In many ways, it felt like we limped out of Sacramento, desperate for a water station and a good massage.
We’ve been here a year, and it only seems appropriate to mark this date with an Amen and a Hallelujah and a Praise God. Santa Barbara pursued us, and we said yes with some reservations, hesitations, and timid feet. And while we still really, really miss the community we had in Sacramento, I think both Jonathan and I would say this last year has been one of the best of our marriage.
I’ve been trying to figure out why this last year has been the breath of air we needed so desperately. It is partly because Jonathan has settled into his new job and really likes it. (And I like that he can easily stop home for lunch a few days a week, when he’s in between court hearings.) I think we’ve also really appreciated a solid 12 months without any major changes, since pregnancies and babies and cancer seemed to flood the years prior. But, as a whole, the biggest thing is that we’ve tried to embrace a new way of living.
Santa Barbara is a vacation town, and we decided on our first day back that we never wanted to grow used to living here, and so we’ve made an effort to create small vacation moments throughout our week. We watch the sunset regularly, and take walks at the harbor on random weeknights. While we miss our little house in Sacramento, we don’t miss yard work, leaky faucet fixing, and all the other things that come with a home built in 1948. Without house upkeep, we’ve been able to spend many weekends as a family; playing on the beach, hiking or picnicking. The thick air, the smell of Eucalyptus leaves, and our church community have all revived my soul and body in a deep way. I also learned how to take care of myself as a mom this past year; accepting that I’m not a bad mom for needing time away from my very needy little boy, and finding small ways to have a break from his constant demands. I’m realizing just how hard I was on myself last year, when Owen was an infant, and I’m thankful that in the middle of a very difficult season with him I was forced to make some healthy changes.
I want to be sensitive to the fact that not everyone reading this is in a sweet season. Maybe you’re in a hard year, or simply having a hard day. Please know that I still have those too. (In fact, our last week has been filled with a whole host of snot, fevers, vomiting, canceled plans, and mounting deadlines that I just don’t even want to talk about….) Life is never all roses and sunsets and beach days. But, I also want to give praise where praise is due. God brought us home to Santa Barbara, and we are so thankful for our current season of sunshine, and avocados, and new beginnings.