North Cackolacki, here we come!

I've been a wee bit stressed these know...just a tinge (cough: myjawmightfallofffromclenchingmyteeth : cough). Among the greatest stressors in life are moving, job loss and chronic illness...yes folks, we Courtneys know how to hit the trifecta! For the most part, we've handled it pretty well (or so I think we have...).  But now that the light is peeping at the end of the tunnel, my patience is waning and my hair is thinning.  We knew it would suck when we started the fact, we made a list of pros and cons to moving our little family 10 hours away, and the biggest con of all was "it's really going to suck."

Having moved only 3 years ago (and only 1 mile away), we knew it wasn't going to be fun.  It sucked when it was around the corner! How would it NOT suck moving 10 hours???  But the truth of the matter is that this time, it's different.  We've been fortunate enough (thus far) with the process of selling/renting/etc (you know me, I don't want to say anything for fear of jinxing myself...yay OCD!), but at the end of this move, we are on our own.  Like...don't know a soul in a town we barely know on our own.  We spent the week there last week in our rental home (because the thought of buying a house where we knew nothing felt idiotic at best...); and while it was awesome to get stuff done and feel the lay of the land, it really brought home how little we knew.

As a stay at home mom, one of my major "places" is the grocery store.  I've gone to the same 2-3 grocery stores for more than 10 years-I know the aisles like the back of my hand, I can get in and out in 4.5 minutes when I need something in a pinch. I can get to the store while on total mental autopilot.  For now, in our new abode, I have to ask google maps to recommend one of the zillion Food Lions or Harris Teeters.  When I got to the first Food Lion, and found it had half a shelf of bread, and more of a beer selection than produce selection, I actually, got in my car and sobbed. But 12 minutes and a Harris Teeter later, I found a place that felt more like home, and thought "Okay, I can do this..."  Silly? Maybe.  But when you've lived in the same 12 mile radius since you were 4, finding anything in a totally new world feels daunting.  The next morning, a neighbor popped by to say hello...she asked where in NJ we were from, and proceeded to tell us she was from Connecticut.  The next sentence assuaged my fears so immensely, if I could remember this woman's name, I'd find and thank her...she said "Welcome! No one here is from here!" We giggled, but I could seriously feel my blood pressure ease off a smidge just hearing it from someone else.  Of course, I already *knew* that, it was one of the appealing factors of this town...a town of transplants would have us feel less alone, because we'd all be new. But meeting someone who reminded me of it made me feel more confident that eventually, I wouldn't need my GPS to find, well, anything and everything.

I've been reflecting a lot on the last few years lately...I guess it's only recently we've had time to do so.  When you're in the thick of things, you're mostly just surviving; you're putting your head down and making the day, because that's what you have to do.  But now, with a little time and distance, I can look back and be proud. I'm proud of Kenny; who's taken licking after licking, and not only kept on ticking, but did so with poise and grace. He continued to husband, he continued to father, he continued to look forward to new possibility.  The man is a legitimate rock star.

And ya know what else? I'm proud of ME. There was a time it felt like I was waiting to hear what a good job I was doing from others, because I was so unsure of myself and how I was handling (because there's no guidebook on all this...).  But now, looking back, I can't say I'm the rock star Kenny is, but I can damn well say I'm one helluva drummer (or as Kenny put it this morning, if he's Dave Grohl, I'm Taylor Hawkins); and feeling it from myself has given me new confidence. I am proud of my kids; and I'm SO proud of them (and Kenny and I) that after the last few years, they are just like everyone else's kids. They are happy, giggly, sometimes infuriating, deliciously typical children.

Four years ago, it felt like our world was over.  We'd live, we'd move forward, but always the same (if that makes any sense).  I thought our family was done growing and changing; I thought any hope of taking new life risks was done with, and yet here we are...things I never thought we'd get to do, and we're doing them.  It wasn't so long ago we felt like that life raft floating next to the cruise ship...everyone else living, and us just getting by. But now, we have our Nathan that we never imagined we'd have, we are moving to a new area, trying new things...I'm so unbelievably glad I was wrong, and life can still move when things go wrong.

With two weeks left until our "final descent," the list of things to do and people to see has swallowed me whole.  However, when I think of last year at this time, I feel so freaking grateful we are able to take this chance.  I'm grateful my "stress" at the moment is of the garden variety.  It might be an overgrown garden right now, but it is carrots and tomatoes. The next time I check in, I'll probably be a full time North Cackolackian. This Northern girl is going to be in the Southern World! Until then...thanks for the love and positivity, my friends!!! XOXO