Moving Back to Move Forward

This weekend, we made a flying trip back to PA, where we lived for the first four years of our marriage. When we left, there were two weeks between finding out we had to leave, and pulling away from the house with our moving truck. It’s been almost five years, and we’d never made it back for any kind of closure. With Carl starting grad school this fall, and another huge move coming up in a month (EEK!), now seemed like a good time to finally go back, see our friends there again, show Joy the house where we lived when she was a baby, revisit some old haunts.

And go grocery shopping at Wegmans. Because we have MISSED it.

Bringing Joy home from the hospital.

Bringing Joy home from the hospital almost six years ago.

It was so, so good.

We had dinner Friday evening with some of our dearest friends. It was sheer chaos in parts, with ten kids running around and six adults trying desperately to cram five years of conversation into a few hours, but it was so good. It felt like we’d never left.

Friends and soul-sisters

Friends and soul-sisters

Saturday was a more leisurely lunch with more friends, these with two daughters close in age to our own girls. The four of them played so nicely together all afternoon, and Joy cried when we left – she felt like she’d finally found the Betsy to her Tacy, and then had to leave after just a few hours. We told her we would start praying, and KEEP praying, that God would send her a best friend at Gordon-Conwell, now that she has a taste of what it’s like.

Then we went back to where we used to live. NOTHING has changed. I don’t think anybody’s even painted their house a different color or bought a new vehicle. It was so weird, like stepping into a time warp. Milkshake (Carl and me) and chocolate milk (the girls) at the dairy bar down the street (and wasn’t THAT place dangerous to have within walking distance when I was in my third trimester during one of the hottest summers EVER), and then on to the cemetery where all the locals go to walk. It’s the closest thing to a neighborhood park around.

Joy, six months

Joy, six months

Posing just a few feet down from where the previous photo was taken

Posing just a few feet down from where the previous photo was taken

And THEN we did our grocery shopping. Then came home. Then crashed the next day (literally, for me – we got out our bikes on Sunday and mine decided it had had enough of my stumbling attempts to master it, and showed me who was boss. Hint: it wasn’t me).

The entire trip felt both like closure of the past AND reopening of old friendships. We were able to lay to rest some of the miseries that had chased us from PA, remember the good parts of living there, and reaffirm the friendships we made while there.

I also was able to remember that old tombstones are one of my best sources for finding awesome character names, and that ancient cemeteries are beautiful, peaceful, other-worldly places to stroll.

Despite our exhaustion, we came home energized, ready to tackle packing up this house, thankful for all God has done in our lives, and in my case, ready to dive back into writing now that I’ve gotten some more real-life filling.

How was your weekend?

"Rest in peace" feels a bit more tangible, here.

“Rest in peace” feels a bit more tangible, here.

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10 thoughts on “Moving Back to Move Forward

  1. I’m happy you guys got to go back. It’s always often nice to revisit the old haunts of where we once were, in what often seems like another life.

    My heart breaks for Joy though, because I have experienced what it was like to instantly click and find your best friend. It happened to me when I was eight. My preacher’s granddaughter came to live with them for two months. We hit it off at church, then on Monday she was put in my class at school (her grandmother was the principal). We had two glorious months of friendship and kept in touch for a couple of years longer. She will find that best friend again, but there’s nothing like the first one.

    • She was really mad at Carl for a bit after we left. It wasn’t until he explained that we didn’t really want to leave our friends, either, that she understood he wasn’t just being mean. It’s a hard lesson to learn at any age!

  2. 19 years ago I moved from Buffalo, NY to Laramie, WY, and I have’t been back in 12 years….when you mentioned Wegmans a flood of memories just poured out. This post makes me want to go back to my old haunts!

    • Wow, twelve years is a long time. I suppose it IS a bit trickier to get from WY to NY than it is from NY to PA!

      Carl and I were like kids in the candy store at Wegmans. We bought all the produce we could fit in the trunk, and probably would have spent an hour more just wandering the aisles if we hadn’t needed to get on the road. I wish they had stores in more areas!

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