Wednesday, December 28, 2011

We're Moving.

What a hard post this is for me. Words fail me when I try to compose just how I feel about all this.I dont think I've ever worked harder on a post and feel like it's still not enough to describe my feelings. Sigh. After many painful and trying months of being apart, our family of 4 is finally going to reunite. We are moving to Boca to be closer to David's job. Big sigh.

I'm soooooo excited about finally be under the same roof, but I'm so incredibly sad about leaving too!! It's the most bittersweet experience ever!! I go from crying about packing our memories into boxes and then get giddy thinking about being back together. I have the most polarizing feelings all in the same minute. Essentially, we have the perfect life in Naples with our support system and fun at every corner, but without David here it's just not the same.

He makes our family complete and we have felt his absence in ways we couldn't ever imagine

and he has been left out of so many memories, laughing and loving by being so far away each night. When I'm having a hard day he'll say "I wish I could be there for that" and when we're having a mojo flowing happy day with lots of giggles and laughs, he'll say "I wish I could be there for that."

I couldn't agree more.

Like any good dad, his kids are his life; they're like his air to him and being away from them is suffocating to him.

It has affected us all.

Lily pathetically longs for her daddy daily saying things to me that are like daggers in my heart hourly. Within the first 2 minutes of waking up, "is daddy coming home tonight mommy?"
Or things like "mommy why does daddy's work last so long?" ,

"His work just keeps going and going."

or "I wanna sleep at daddy's work with him"

and looking out the window around dinner time asking "Is tonight a 'daddy night'?"

"I wanna rock with daddy because I just love him so much."

Seriously, where is the knife? Because just shove it in my heart.
She talks about him constantly, writing him notes, and when something funny happens between us she'll immediately say "tell daddy about dat okay?" while she's still laughing. He is on the forefront of her mind all the time and she's really feeling the loss of his presence. Or sometimes she'll just be more obvious about it and breakdown crying whimpering "i just miss daddy so much".

I couldn't agree more.

It's such a testament to the powerful force a parent has in a child's life. She can't wait to have daddy tuck her in every night and play chase with her. She's over the moon about moving closer to daddy and doesn't care if we moved to Zimbabwe as long as we're together. Today she said "Mommy, pack those boxes super fast so we can sleep close to daddy sooner."

You'll do anything to see your kids happy.

Anything. (meet Grady's twin lily at 9 months old, 2008)

Grady's face beams when David comes home and he won't let David put him down for anything. Grady walked for the first time and david didnt see it until four days later. It's just all too much to grasp. This is not what being a family is all about. We worked so hard to bring them in this world and not sharing it with David seems pale in comparison to the beauty of them growing up.

This is all too much for me to handle. Emotionally, physically and spiritually, Im wiped out.

I call Uncle.

I call Mercy.

Hutch out.

(waving the white flag)

It's lonely every night to experience all the joys and hardships of parenthood alone even though I have had help at every turn from so many friends and family; there's nothing like sharing it with David. And I like some me-time like there's nobody's business, but this is too much of a good thing. I've had days where I felt like a complete failure and others where I couldn't believe all I was doing, but managing the heartbreak from the kids has been the worst of it. The shingles were a direct response to all of this and my body just said this is all too much for me to handle and shut down. The 3 of us did get get a nice rhythm and grew such an amazing bond from this experience; I think I grew the most and have them to thank for that.
My already slender husband lost 15 pounds and him being a weekend dad is not in his DNA. I feel like I've been going through a divorce except I don't hate my husband. I have such a new respect for single parents and anyone going through a separation of any sort; by choice or not by choice. It's tough on everyone.

Because he can't commute any longer and having 2 days a week with the kids isn't an option we're moving to the Boca area to be closer to his job and put our family back together. Molly and Mom will be close and since I grew up there I have high school friends too to soften the fall. Thank God for that! People I love are like the roots in my tree that keep me happy. They're going to have to hold the bucket for my tears of sadness leaving such a wonderful place and I know we'll create a new wonderful place over there together. Mom and Molly are so easy and fun to be around. We got a house over there we absolutely love. I'm excited about the cousins being close and me having more time with the kids during the day and to know that David is coming home at night for family dinners, walks around the neighborhood or a game of hide and go seek make me know it's all going to be okay. But change is hard for the Hutchesons. If you know us, we like routine, predictability, and take that comfort for granted. This has rocked our Hutcheson world planning Excel spreadsheets in a big way.

Because with the decision to move, there comes a ton of really hard consequences. I have the most wonderful family-friendly job working just part-time and with the coolest people on the planet.

who love kids and work hard, but also are super fun....what a perfect combination.

I've been with the same school system for 15 whopping years. VME, BCE and NPE friends have been amazing to me. I couldn't have asked for better personal and professional experiences at top notch schools. Lily and Grady's school is ON SITE with me at VME, meaning I get to take them to school with me and pop in on them at any given moment for some snuggles, read a story to the class, drop off a forgotten nuk or spy on them on the playground. It's a dream situation.

This place is more than a school, but an extension of our home and it is utopia in those 4 walls where magic happens. I was doing lessons in their classes and am AMAZED how well behaved ALL OF THEM are! Im there for 30+ minutes and I dont have to use any of my redirection strategies, they all listen intently, raise their hand appropriately, never call out and seem to grasp the lessons. They're 3 and 4 years old people!!?? It's always like that! The energy in those rooms is calm, loving, peaceful, where fun is promoted and kindness is the highest priority.

Lily and Grady absolutely thrive there socially and academically and their hearts grow everyday while there. Academics take a back seat in my mind when it comes to school right now because all that matters is they learn to share, be kind and have a really fun time playing. All the academic stuff is gravy.Their school is too good to be true, but it is true.

And we're in love.

These are just a few of the HUNDREDS of pictures their teachers send to us on a regular basis.

they know how much we miss our babies so they send us pictures to let us know their happy, safe, and having a blast. Such comfort throughout our day.

They are super silly too which my kids love...

and being friends with all of the other moms in the class makes it feel like such a community of love where we're all looking out for one another and love each child like our own. It also helps that all the kids in the class are really good kids; such amazing role models for my kids.
and they gently pull Lily out of her cozy shell

they're always there for us when we need something. or dont need anything at all.

Last night, I went through the 100s of daily notes they wrote everyday about Lily and Grady's day. Tears flowing of course. I've saved everyone. You would too if you read some of them. They're front and back, handwritten with every little detail about their day, telling funny antedotes, and gushing about how special they are. On our last day one of the angel teachers, Kim wrote this to our family. This one will be laminated and kept forever.

"Happy Hutchesons ~ gulp, sigh, racing heart, shakey hands. I have fallen so in love with you and you, and her and him that I think about you, pray for you and wish the best things to each of you. The memories you have given me, I cherish, the times you have filled my heart, countless. The times you have made me laugh, smile, or feel joy, also countless. I have always had such a special connection with all of you and I hope you will continue to be part of my life. Because I am so happy to see all that lies ahead for you. I can't wait to know that you are under one roof, reading books, swimming and chasing Grady around. I can't wait for Lily and David to get back to the rituals of daily life back on track. I can't wait to read your blog and delight in your family togetherness.

I love you, all of you. And hope that I can get more time with your dad volunteering at the YMCA so please let him know. I will be sending a book that I'm making for Lily to remind her how special she is to me, and all of us. So, in the meantime, give her 40 kisses and hugs for me everyday. God, I love her.

And Grady, how ridiculously cute, happy and funny can one child be? There is so much vigor and life in him. He is going to take you on such a journey. And he is so loved that he already has the world wrapped around his little finger, in just 14 months he has lived, and laughed harder than some do in a life time. And that's what I love about Grady.

He had a great day by the way so thank him for letting me journal on his daily note. Merry Christmas - Happy New Year, Happy Everything Happy Hutchesons. I love you, Kimberly.

(sniffley, sniffle)So yea, their school is beyond special and words fail me when I think about the love, blessings, and support they have shown to our family. We will always be in each other's lives that's for sure.
Then there's our friends we've had for 15+ years who have shown us loyalty, love and kindness like we didnt think possible. They're not "like family", but part of our extended family and that bond builds with time and experiences together; not something that happens overnight. So many of these wonderful people got down on their knees and prayed like a nun for Lily and Grady to come into this world and know the hardships it took. I'm forever grateful for old & new friends that have weaved their way into our lives making everything okay; celebrating the good times and helping us through the rough times. I dont know how we would've made it without all these people.

Over the years, I've discovered how much I need people in my life to make me laugh, teach me things about life and make me a better person. They're like my fuel for my life. Whether we talk 7x a day, once a week, or just see each other at gatherings, they have all played a part of writing on the Hutcheson family love slate. There's even more, but I dont have a picture of every single one. That's how incredibly blessed we are.

friendship prerequisite #1....make sure we laugh a lot.

I've learned to have a great friend, I need to be that great friend and it's a win-win for everyone.
I just adore all these people.

and like i tell my students, if you feel good when you're around that friend and after you leave to go home, then that's a sign of a true friend. I tell them to do a heart and tummy check and friends should only make you feel happy and gooey on the inside. I'm so lucky to have that feeling over and over.
15 years of friendships don't come easy, but they're worth all the work through the ups and downs; with mostly ups.

we've experienced big life changing events in life together like babies being born, marriages, illnesses, infertility, attended funerals together, big milestone birthdays, bachelorette parties, baby showers, hurt feelings, moving, and a gazillion happy hours where we pee our pants laughing.

and celebrate those tender moments that take your breath meeting Lily Grace for the first time.

we're so blessed that my kids have friends their age and 50+ years old than them and learn and grow from each and every one's heart touching theirs. What a blessing.

celebrating the good times are the best kind of all

with lots of hugs (and laughter)

where we can all act like little kids at heart and in real life... and celebrate our kids together...

Grady's godparents and role models; Eric was born on Grady's birthday 10-10-1960, exactly 50 years prior to his birth. There are no accidents.

when you love our kids, you're really directly loving us...

conquering goals together and pushing each other to be the best we can be...

and our kids' budding friendships mean the world to us...

did i mention we like to laugh and party like rockstars?

getting our masters together - i would not have made it across that graduation stage without these 2; I felt like giving them my diploma when I graduated bc they helped me that much.

and then working with Julie turned from a co-worker into a friend for life.

and the love shown to our kids before and after they're born mean the world to us ...

and the comfort in neighbors who will be there at a moments notice.

The love they fill in my heart just overflows. (julie didn't want to kiss me-lmao!!)
reliving my childhood with these girls...

wow, I've noticed after going through all these pictures, we celebrate a lot.

all of these people make my heart swell with happiness...
and can almost make you float on a happy day, and they're there to pick yourself up on a heavy day.

How am I the only blonde here? These girls show me maybe just blondes don't have more fun because fun is their middle name. And kind. And loyal. And hilarious. And all that yummy stuff that makes a friend.
I'm a better person for knowing all of these people and thank God everyday for them in my life.

Leaving my dad and sister Jen is devastating. I know that's a strong word, but we are stronger than ever and since we have known about moving, we've been joined at the hip and don't take one second for granted anymore. That....and I need a lot of flipping help!

We're like the 3 muskateers in Naples and will have to define our new normal with skyping, lots of visits, trips to sawgrass mall to meet for 1/2 way for lunch, phone calls galore, and incessant texting of course. We'll have to work harder, but like jen said "a location does not define us". No truer words have ever been said.

We'll be okay and I think the anticipation of this is worse than actually living it because we'll make it work no matter what. That's what families do. you love, adjust, realign, love, connect and as Caroline Manzo would say "we're as thick as thieves". I know we'll still feel as connected because since we've been in Naples, Mom and Molly have always been 2 hours away from us now and I feel VERY connected to their families and I know they feel the same. So now we're just flipping the tables, (not like Teresa Guidice)

I cry at just the thought of leaving them behind and I know it's only 2 hours away, but when all you know is 10 minutes away, it's a huge adjustment and Boca suddenly feels like Russia.

My dad is a true Godsend. He has always been there for me and would do anything for his kids. And now his grandkids.

He's always there. Period. Always there.

for the big moments...

and the little moments...
He's such an involved dad and Grandpa; always has been. He's the kind of Grandpa who sits on the floor and plays legos for hours with the kids and doesn't want any interruptions from big people.(one of my favorite pictures ever)

(love Lily's yellow sunglasses on his shirt)
and he's super silly too which every kid loves.
always there supporting, loving and cheering us all on.

I sent him a text thanking him for going to lily's ballet show and helping with grady since siblings weren't allowed in the room. I feel like i'm always thanking him for something and never feel like I give enough in return. He wrote me this email to let me know I am doing enough. (in his mind)

Kelly -
You don't need to keep thanking me for coming to things like this dance thing . . . or to baby sit . . . like last night the kids and I took a 90 minute walk around the circle . . . cuz I consider it a privilege to have been asked . . .so I should be the one to say thank you . . .so I will . . . THANK YOU!!!!!!!

is he for real? the answer is yes and anyone who knows him benefits from his heart.

and he always manages to teach us so much along the way and never in the "overbearing-advice-giving-way", but in the "watch-what-I-do way".

Nothing more powerful in my book.

and then there's Jen....sigh.
seriously, could we be any closer and in each other's heads; we're like siamese twins without the cojoined awkwardness
what a roller coaster of emotions this has been for her, for me, and for us.

we have been so incredibly spoiled to live 10 minutes away, work together and she gets to relive her love for the wonder years through my kids. She loves them like her own. She was supposed to be their kindergarten teacher. And her kids are like my own. for the past 16 years, i got to watch her as an amazing mom. for the last 3, i've been able to share in that parenting love with her.
After many years of trying and tears shed by us both, she went running one day and it started raining. Pouring down rain and she kept running. Faster and faster. She literally cried while running, begging and yelling to God to give us a baby. I know she's part of the reason Lily and Grady are here. Miracles do happen.
How did i get so lucky?

I'm so incredibly blessed to have 2 sisters that double as my friends too. Like I really like them not because I have to but because they're awesome people. Then they married super fun guys who are the brothers I never had and together they all had amazing kids too. Bonus!

whether we see each other everyday or not,that feeling of being close is going to be hard on us both.
but we're connected no matter what

and the fun and love will continue to grow just like we're 10 minutes away; it just will take more effort.

and the memories we've made for the last 37 years will build upon themselves in the next 37 years and beyond.

that I know for sure.

It's neat that we get to go to Church with Jen and the fam and Dad every week too. We absolutely LOVE our church. We had never been there before and went there on a whim one day because of a scheduling issue and we never stopped going. We don't go to this church on Sunday because we have to, but we go because we want to and it's like a magnet to our hearts bringing us there every Sunday. They say that's a sign of a good church and boy did we find it.

Lily goes to Sunday school there and has learned so much. We were so proud of her when our little shy one took the stage for the Christmas Eve program Saturday and acted like it was no big chicken-wing-thing she was up there. Seriously I couldn't wave, smile, and put my thumbs up high enough for her.

Jen caught the moment on camera when she spotted us in the crowd.

I love seeing her confidence and independence grow everyday.
to hear my beautiful friend Andrea belt it out every week makes me cry every.single.week. Hands down, no questions asked, there are tears shed because of her singing. we catch eyes every week and usually mine are filled with water and i can barely see her. she inspires me.

Lily has been absolutely thriving in her ballet class

I've already signed her up for ballet and tap in boca, but there's nothing like dancing with your friends SammyMack and the others she loves.

Hanging with my superpal Lindsey every week and meeting the other new moms who I connect with like Ashley and Kara make it a bummer to leave such a neat place.
So we readjust, make a new normal and get more creative with how we stay connected.

I can barely talk about leaving this's not just a house, but a home with love oozing out of the walls. This is the home we built from the ground to bring our babies home to. When we met with the builders 8 years ago, all of our focus was on what could be the best house for kids.
We agonized over every electrical outlet placement, light fixture and how to build our pool best for kids, making sure we had a fun waterfall and sun shelf for them to frolic. Then we moved into this house, meant for 4, we had so many big hopes and dreams for us as a couple starting a family after waiting 2 years of being married to make sure we had everything ready and in place. We threw a big housewarming party and knew we'd fill it up with babies right away.

(record scratches) mmmm, not so much! this 4 bedroom house turned into a constant reminder of what we couldn't have no matter how hard we tried and prayed. It was like a dark cloud was above it as we sat in this big house with no kids for 4 long agonizing years sitting on the couch downstairs looking up, staring up at the 2 empty bedrooms which would be their future nurseries upstairs that almost seemed to taunt us.

Then we were able to bring Lily and Grady home to their rooms and the dark clouds turned into rainbows and shone light, love, air and freedom back into our home.

We could breathe again because of them.

and their filled rooms bring me immeasurable joy and peace.

we put every ounce of our heart into creating these rooms so they'd be a tiny reflection of the abundance of love in our hearts for them.

and together it completes our dream...

then we spend the rest of the time filling it up with memories sprinkling love dust all over filling it with people, laughter, fun and memories we'll cherish forever.

To leave this home is like leaving my 3rd child behind because it has so much symbolism and memories in it. Crushes me.

I don't like to talk about moving because it's hard to articulate all the mixed up emotions I feel about it so I just change the subject when it comes up and rarely even talk about it. It feels like it's happening so fast, but it's been a long time in the works and something David and I discuss daily and everything just came to a head where we had to make a decision. The limbo and uncertainity was killing us all. Just for some perspective on me.... I have a problem leaving a simple dinner party even if we're the last one there because I feel like I'm going to disappoint the host throwing the party. Well, leaving Naples is that feeling times a gabillion. I just want to sneak out of town and tell everyone after I leave. I hate good-byes with a passion and won't utter those words to anyone. At anytime. Jen BEGGED us to throw a going away party and I/we begged, pleaded. kicked and screamed making her promise not to because it's just too much spotlight on a goodbye. we almost got into the boxing ring over it . She unhappily and begrudgingly obliged. thank you jen!!

As hard as it is to leave, its just that much harder being a disjointed family. The four of us are like a well oiled machine and David not here has taken such a toll on us in individual different ways. Its like we're driving the car w only 3 wheels. Impossible.

I 120% know this is the right decision for our family of four but still 200% hard!!!! If we were moving to a town where we didn't know anyone, I'd be scared out of my wits, but knowing that molly, mom and friends are there to soften the blow helps immensely and I'm soooooo thankful for that. Sometimes I wish I was more adventurous where I could throw a dart on a map, pick up and move there, but that's just not me. I need these people in my life like air.

I know we'll be okay.

I know this is the best for our family.

I know we're giving up a lot.

I know we're gaining a lot.

I know we'll appreciate family time more than ever being withheld it for so long.

I know we're lucky David has a job. (especially in this economy)

I know we'll make it work.

I know we'll visit a lot.

I know we'll have a lot of visitors.

I know I'll be driving to Sawgrass Mall a lot (1/2 way point).

I know things could be worse.

I know it's going to be awesome to be back together.

I know we're lucky to have so many people love us.

I know we're lucky to all be healthy.

I know it's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

I know this is a big honking deal.

I know Lily can't wait to be reunited as a family.

I know I'm lucky to be moving close to family.

I know I'm going to miss people like crazy.

I know this is the right decision for our family.

I know my cell minutes will shoot throught the roof. (thank god for unlimited plans)

I know this is bittersweet.

I know this will be a fun adventure.

I know I'm rambling.

I know half of you aren't reading this anymore.

I know I'll use this website a lot.

I know it'll be an adjustment.

I know people move all of the time.

I know my kids will be happier.

I know this is not a big-chicken-wing-thing.

I know this has given us all a huge dose of perspective.

I know the meaning of family and what's really important: now more than ever.

life is good.