Almost two years ago I wrote a blog, a blog that would mark the beginning of perhaps the grandest adventure of my life. In the months that would follow I would pour out my raw feelings on a computer screen and hit publish. I wrote through my ups and downs, every struggle I faced, every moment to be celebrated. It was unedited and real and often, I’m sure, grammatically incorrect.
Through words I would find catharsis, purging the sometimes overwhelming emotions of homesickness, motherhood, and adjusting to a new place. Today I find myself in a familiar situation: typing with held breath and tears welling up and spilling over. And while I am excited for what the future holds for our family, today I am sad.
The hardest thing about putting yourself out there, letting everyone in on your experience, is that you don’t know at the time what the ending will be. You never know how you will evolve and what turns your life will take. So when you get to the end and it isn’t at all what you expect it’s a lot to process.
I never expected Oregon to touch my heart as much as it did. I came here dragging my feet but what I endured and discovered has changed me forever. It takes heart to live here, through the months and months of soggy gray and roaring winds. I was only here for two winters but I’m proud of surviving through each one. Your reward is living in a place whose beauty cannot be measured. How strange it seemed to wear your fleece on the beach, to run in the rain, and to wear fall clothes all year, but now it feels right.
But the hardest part of leaving is the saying goodbye to our friends. When I first arrived I felt like the biggest outsider. I was awkwardly aware of my uptightness in a community that welcomed us with open arms. It wasn’t long before I found a kindred spirit that would eventually become not just an important part of my life, but also my daughter’s, hereby proclaiming “No Pants Wednesdays” as a necessary part of the week. Soon after I was scooped up by a story time friend who never questioned why I was there with my 6 month old – she became my rock, the person who had walked the path closest to my own. Another friend filled rainy days with aquarium visits and baking and Chai. A book club who had known each other for years treated me like one of the gang, no questions asked. A beautiful mother but also a fellow girl’s girl was always up for going on an adventure, sharing a glass of wine, or gossiping about Bravo housewives. A fun loving couple who didn’t mind a toddler running around their deck and chasing their cat during barbeques on the bayfront — all of these people saying in their own way, “come, relax, enjoy, be.” Oregon snuck into my soul and I didn’t even notice.
Finally, there’s the ocean. It deserves its own mention. How very lucky we all were to experience daily something that so beautifully reminds you of the world’s vastness. Forever now it will be the place that centers me. It’s the first home Abigail has really known and she is alive here. I think she loves it most of all. It’s hard to take her away when I see how her soul dances on the sand, but I know she is about to add some new and great chapters to her story. We will be back to visit. I want my all of my children to know and love the Oregon coast, like we do now. But mostly, I want Abigail to one day know the reason that the sea whispers her name. Because for a short time, this was home.
So thank you, Oregon. This is the place where I discovered my passion for writing. This is the place we became a family. This is the place I unearthed the strength I never knew I had. And I am forever grateful.