Friday, July 11, 2008

A New Chapter

When Roger and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary 14 years ago, the weather was unseasonably warm for January and we went for a walk that evening. As we walked we recalled milestones that had taken place in those first 18 years of marriage. We talked about what would happen in the next 18 years of our lives. We realized that as we lived those years, all of our parents would be gone, our kids would very likely be married, and maybe,(if we are blessed) we would have a grandchild or two. In all that speculation, the reality of what that meant seemed natural and part of the normal progression of life. Never do you realize, even looking at the future, just exactly how it will “feel” when chapters of your life end, and new ones begin.

Audrey and Ryan are moving to AZ.
Yep, we will have two kids in AZ now. Goodyear is actually a suburb of Phoenix, so Nic will only be about an hour away from them. Ryan has taken a position with a hospital in Goodyear, nursing in the ER; night shift. Audrey has yet to start looking for jobs-she has been a little busy getting Ryan on the road, and making arrangements to move, and giving notice at work.

Ryan left last Fri. with his Dad along to help with the driving, and Audrey and I leave this coming Fri., with the dogs. I will spend 4 days, hopefully helping them get unpacked and settled, then board a plane and leave all three of my kids in the Great Southwest.

Everyone is telling me that this is going to be hard. (like I don’t know this), and that I will REALLY have empty nest syndrome now and may have to even get another dog. Har! Har!

Yes, I will miss them terribly; I will miss Audrey popping in to see us on her way home from work. I will miss them in church every Sunday that they could be there, and I will miss KNOWING they are in the same town, but there will be huge differences in them taking out and leaving here, and Nic doing so three years ago.

First-Ryan has a job, Nic didn’t
Second-They have a place to live-Nic didn’t-he had a friend who said he could stay with him for two weeks till he found a job and a place to live.
Third-They have each other, and they have (family) Nic down there already.

Yes, knowing my kids are far away (two long days drive, or two hours by plane), is hard to think about, but I am assured of the fact that they have good heads on their shoulders, and know right from wrong, and are going to be “together” in a sense. The phrase “there is strength in numbers” comes to mind right about now, and it is bringing me comfort.

Audrey flew down for three days to sign the lease, and get Ryan and the things he took with him into the apt. She told me they found a Costco, a Fry’s grocery store, that there are three Farmers Markets in the Phoenix area year round………she is already moving in her head, and preparing to make a life somewhere else. As hard as the reality of them leaving is, it is wonderful to hear them talk that way; about exploring their new environment and learning about this new life and adventure together, and all within the proximity of family.

When Nic left I had a terrible time-there I admitted it, but I was busy with Mother, and Audrey was still here, and life went on. But I realized when Roger and I talked about it, it really wasn’t about Nic leaving, I knew he would land on his feet, and not only survive, but thrive. It was about a chapter in our family’s life closing; things would never be the same again. I knew how far away he was going to be, the idea of how little we would see him was overwhelming to me, but God in His infinite mercy, has allowed us to see Nic more in the past few years since he has moved than I would have ever dreamed possible. So, it is a LITTLE easier to see Audrey and Ryan go; a little. I know that ANOTHER chapter is closing. I have had others of those “chapters” close in the past year, and each one has brought with it some pain, but also pleasure. By watching my kids, I’m seeing that the new chapters can actually be pretty exciting, and something to look forward to.

The book of the Cerretti Family is still being written, God is the author, and has the pen poised to add some exciting and new entries. I’m looking forward to reading it and finding out how it turns out.