There’s an aching pain in the middle of my back. The kind you get from being hunched over for a long period of time or from continuously bending down and standing back up. Our new house is filled with brown boxes and clutter, things that have yet to find a place to belong. Things that are dusty and worn from their journey, just like us. We’ve collected a few more dents and dings along the way, a few scrapes or tears. Bruised egos, broken expectations, holes in our layer of patience.

Yesterday our family breathed a sigh of relief as we lifted the pen from the paper one last time. Fifty signatures each. That’s what it took to ease our frustration. Each time my name got a little wobblier, a little more chaotic. Excitement and relief mingled together. With each signature we were a little closer to being home.

My heart broke when we left Alaska, but it feels like it’s been reborn here. Moving every few years is hard. Sometimes it’s unbearable to say good-bye and look ahead. We start over. New house, new friends, new routines. Will we have good neighbors? Will the kids make good friends? Will I?

What will this job, at this base, demand from us? From our family? How will we be stretched and pulled and grown this time?

After dinner I sat. Just sat. I found myself staring at the wall, actually. After a day full of opening boxes and emptying their contents, sitting and staring felt like all I could handle. And then my eyes wandered a little to the left and I saw three kids, lined up oldest to youngest on the bench at the table. They were chattering and drawing. Encouraging each other to try again when the drawing didn’t come out as planned. Praising one another’s pictures. Comfortable and at home.

Yesterday Ben fell onto the couch next to me and collapsed into my arms. He sighed forcefully, like every ounce of tension was leaving his body, and said, “I’m so glad we’re home.”

I could let myself get caught up in the hard parts of moving, or I could loose myself in the joy of coming home, wherever that may be today.


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